The Roundhouse Podcast

016: Steam Into History


As you know, preserving railroad history of the 19th Century is difficult due to the limited amount of equipment which has survived for so long.  Steam Into History Inc. provides a unique opportunity for you to connect with the Civil War era using replica equipment and historical reenactors.  COO Robert Gotwols joins us to talk about the formation of this railroad, how they engage with their hometown community, and how they plan to expand in the future!

Happy National Train Day!  I hope you have had fun celebrating this hobby today.  While we may railfan any day of the year, it is great to have a shared day where we all participate together.

Norfolk Southern introduces yet another commemorative paint scheme, this time for First Responders.  NS 911 is an SD60E locomotive with a very striking paint scheme.

In a recent Question of the Day, I asked you what you enjoyed about voluteering with a railroad-related organization.  I answer my own question in this blog post about building a Garden Railroad at Phipps Conservatory.  There’s plenty of photos in this one, including trains and dinosaurs.


Steam Into History train in New Freedom, PA.

Steam Into History – Robert Gotwols (3:12)

The idea for Steam Into History began as an idea by two businessmen standing outside of the Yorktowne Hotel.  Already having a background in the railroad industry, Robert was brought on to help turn the idea to reality.  He describes the process of ordering York #17 and the coaches it pulls.

Connecting with the local community is a major priority for the organization.  During their first year, they held a food drive where people who brought a canned food item for a local pantry could take a short ride on the train for free.  The railroad also uses local musicians, storytellers, and reenactors to provide entertainment for its passengers.

Robert also provides details on the railroad’s future service extension to York.

Steve Meola in Northern Central #17's cab.

Steve Meola in Northern Central #17’s cab.

The Crew (28:58)

Hillary Hess started out as a photographer for the railroad before becoming its Office Manager.  She shares with us what she loves about the railroad and the people she works with.

I describe my first impressions of York #17.  David Kloke described the process for building this locomotive, and now I get to take it all in!

Stephen Burkholder is a new fireman for Steam Into History.  He explains what it is like to keep the fire going and how to handle the challenging grade into New Freedom.

Steve Meola is the Head Engineer who has operated steam locomotives since 1990.  He shares with us details about how the locomotive compares to others he has operated and what he enjoys about it.

Hanover Jct.

Hanover Jct.

My Review (41:26)

Steam Into History succeeded at taking me back in time.  Using replica equipment makes a difference, and having nice scenery without too many ‘modern distractions’ allows me to be immersed.  The museum at Hanover Jct. is very comprehensive, and the interpreters provided plenty of interesting pieces of history and information about the region.  My favorite part was listening to #17 work up the grade to New Freedom.  I highly recommend this trip for anyone wanting a unique Civil War-era experience.

Question of the Day (49:38)

What did you do to celebrate National Train Day?   Let me know and I will respond to your comments in our next episode.

Subscribe on iTunesJoin our Newsletter, share this episode with at least one person today, and remember that The Roundhouse is Our House!



One thought on “016: Steam Into History

  1. richard jalette

    Cool beans. My wife is first cousin to Steven Meola. Her name is Susan Jalette. Tell Steven we said hi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *