Civil War-era train sets sights on New Freedom

Associated Press Published: November 23, 2012

Gotwols said the nonprofit has estimated the total cost at $7 million, with funding coming from private donations.

The organization's costs include building switches and replacing thousands of railroad ties over the 10-mile stretch.

Employees, volunteers: The group will have 10 paid employees — three managers plus a crew and maintenance. More than 80 people recently showed up for a volunteer orientation, and their roles will range from taking tickets to historic interpretation.

Beshore said the workers are hoping to start refurbishing the track this year, with all work finished in time for the attraction to open June 1.

Steam Into History is expected to have 40,000 visitors in its first year, running the train three times per day six days per week between June 1 and Labor Day. Runs will be abbreviated the rest of the year, but closed for the months of January and February.

Beshore estimated the organization will generate about $9 million per year in economic impact, both in sales at the attraction, but mostly at nearby businesses such as restaurants and hotels.

"Part of the reason for doing this is to make York a destination, and we're hoping this will make people want to visit the area," she said.

She said she's working with tourism officials in York, Lancaster and Gettysburg to promote the attraction.

In 2010, York County officials granted a 15-year lease for the nonprofit to use the rail lines, which are a county asset.

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