Group studies rail trail through Cumberland and York counties

DILLSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A group is trying to figure out if it’s possible to build a 7-mile trail through Cumberland and York counties and if there is support.

The trail would follow along the Dillsburg branch of the old Cumberland Valley Railroad that existed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although the railroad is long gone, the picturesque views, vast farm fields and sights of South Mountain still exist along its path.

“Be able to see things the way they were in the 1800s,” Tonya Brown, the parks and recreation director in Mechanicsburg, says. “It’s kind of the same scenery, taking you through our great farmland here.”

Brown is supportive of making that old railway into a trailway, which a group called the South Mountain Partnership is exploring. The partnership includes the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Municipalities along the trail have also weighed in at town meetings.

“It can be great for old and young to learn about our community as it was built,” says Brown.

The train from Mechanicsburg to the ore fields in Dillsburg were overridden by the car industry by the 1970s. Its tracks were removed in the 80s.

The South Mountain Partnership wants to revive it, working on getting funds for a feasibility study to figure out if it’s possible to construct and how much support is in the community.

Silver Spring Township and Carroll Township each donated $1,000 toward an effort to get state grants.

But as we heard at town meetings, not everyone is ready to commit to what could be a $1 million project.

“From what I understand,” says Brown, “It actually goes through somebody’s driveway. So that has to be figured out.”

The project is still in its very early stages.

Click here if you’re interested in donating toward a feasibility study.

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