Strasburg Rail Road Yesterday
Founded in 1832, the Strasburg Rail Road celebrated the 175th Anniversary of its railroad charter in 2007. Precisely when the railroad first turned a wheel is still a matter of patient research, but the earliest timetable found to date indicates Strasburg trains were scheduled as of December 1851.
On February 22, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln made a stop at Leaman Place on his inaugural train ride, en route to Lancaster. His four-minute visit brought nearly 5,000 people out to cheer for the President and Mrs. Lincoln.
To prepare for the President's visit, Strasburg Rail Road had purchased their first passenger car, which ran on a special train to transport people to and from Leaman Place.
First used for passenger and freight transportation, the railroad's main purpose became a freight interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following World War II, improved highway transportation decreased the need for the railroad. By the mid 1950s, the Strasburg Rail Road was nearing the end of its usefulness. In 1957, destruction of the tracks caused by a series of storms placed an immediate embargo on the carload freight. The owners were unwilling to invest in the necessary repairs.
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