Gettysburg Harrisburg RR Part 1 Presented by Licensed Battlefield Guide Don Walters
March 14, 2009
The Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railroad was dedicated on March 4, 1884, and opened to the public on April 21, 1884. This is the depot located on the west side of North Washington Street. This view was taken facing northwest circa 1885.
The Gettysburg-Harrisburg Railroad, which opened in 1884, was Gettysburg’s second railroad. It was the most direct route to Harrisburg. But it was also a response to Gettysburg’s growing tourism industry in an age before the automobile. Approximately a mile of the railroad still crosses the first day’s field. Over two miles of the railroad used to cross the fields of Pickett’s Charge to the foot of Little Round Top. Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Don Walters showed us the route of the railroad, including the parts that are still visible.
This map shows the locations of the videos that were created for this post. Video #1 was taken at the Oak Ridge observation tower. Video #2 was taken at the Gettysburg Harrisburg Railroad station on North Washington Street. Video #3 was taken inside the Western Maryland Railroad station on Carlisle Street. This map was created facing north at approximately 6:30 PM on Thursday, March 12, 2009.
Don Walters has been a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide since 1995. His family has a history of working in the railroad industry. Don is the Major-General Richard “Dick” Anderson expert on the guide force. This view was taken facing west at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, February 28, 2009.
In Video #1, Don Walters gives us an introduction to the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad. This view was taken facing west to southeast at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, February 28, 2009.
The most well-known section of the Gettysburg-Harrisburg Railroad is east of OakRidge/Seminary Ridge near the McClean Barn. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
In video #1, Don was pointing out the right flank marker to the 13th Massachusetts Infantry regiment, which was moved during the railroad cut controversy of the early 1990s. The marker is now located between Robinson Avenue and the railroad tracks. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
This map shows the route of the Gettysburg-Harrisburg Railroad with a green line. The Gettysburg Electric Trolley is shown with a red line. This map was created facing north in 2007.
The Gettysburg-Harrisburg Railroad Depot, located west of North Washington Street is in the left background. The Western Maryland Railroad Station, located on Carlisle Street, is the mustard-colored building in the right background. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
In Video #2, Don Walters explains the location of the two railroad lines, and the volume of traffic on the lines during the “heyday” of the railroads in the late 19th century. This view was taken facing northwest to east to west at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
When it opened to the public, the Gettysburg-Harrisburg Railroad Depot was described as “roomy, convenient and attractive.” In 1888, which was the year of the 25th anniversary of the battle, 137,358 passengers were brought to this station. It was built by local contractor Joseph J. Smith. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.
Don is standing near a section of “U rail” on display in the front lobby of the Western Maryland Railroad Station. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
In Video #3, Don explains the difference between “U rail” or “ribbon rail” compared to “web rail” or “T rail.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.
See our previous posts on Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides:
Gettysburg Guide Room: The Final Days on March 8, 2008.
Lights Out at the Electric Map on April 13, 2008.
New Guide Room at the New Visitor Center on April 19, 2008.
New Association of Licensed Battlefield Guide Office and Library Opens on August 25, 2008.
Evergreen Cemetery Headstone Damage with LBG Deb Novotny on October 20, 2008.
Camp Letterman with LBG Phil Lechak here.
Gettysburg Artillery with LBG George Newton here.
“Mammy’s Little Baby Loves Guided Tours” with LBG Charlie Fennell on November 23, 2008.
Bucktails on McPherson’s Ridge Part 1 with LBG Rich Kohr on November 26, 2008.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Exam 2008 on December 6, 2008.
Gettysburg Hawk Hunting with Licensed Battlefield Guide Dave Weaver on December 14, 2008.
Colonel Edward Ephraim Cross with LBG Rich Bellamy here.
Licensed Battlefield Guide Rich Kohr: William Wible’s Gettysburg Quarry on January 21, 2009.
The Gettysburg Electric Trolley with LBG Rich Kohr here
ACHS Battle of Gettysburg Civil War Research Room with LBG Tim Smith on February 10, 2009.
Lutheran Theological Seminary Cupola with LBG Tim Smith here
John F. Kennedy’s Gettysburg Visit with LBG Richard Goedkoop here.
Gettysburg Harrisburg Railroad with LBG Don Walters here.