Currier & Ives. Like a scene straight off a Currier & Ives colored lithograph, the Northern Central Railroad's Locomotive 17 "York" takes a short passenger consist south through Seitzville, PA, en route to Baltimore, amid fading fall foliage.
When I started photographing preserved steam a few years back, about the last thing I ever expected to witness was a scratch-built, 1860s-era steam locomotive replica in regular tourist service. At a time when most tourist railroads with historic steam engines struggle to find the funds to keep up with the Federal inspection and maintenance requirements, I never thought anyone would ever manage to raise the 7-figure sums required to build a NEW steam engine, and I certainly never thought anyone would build one like this. But the folks at the new "Steam Into History" operation in New Freedom, PA have managed to raise the money, not only to commission the building of a replica 4-4-0 American Standard, but also to rehabilitate 10 miles of old Northern Central Railway ROW, and for two seasons now, they've been running excursions with historic, Civil War-era themes. The new line is well-positioned to take advantage of summer tourist traffic between Lancaster and nearby Gettysburg.
With the number of historic 4-4-0 wood-burners that can still move under their own power down to just 3 engines, I hope that there will be other new-builds like "York" in the not-too-distant future. The 4-4-0 American Standard literally facilitated the building of our modern society, and it surely would be a shame if future generations didn't have the opportunity to see a "live" example of one of the cornerstones of the industrial age.