RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

Todd's Railfan Guide to
MANHEIM PA
and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

In General
Getting Here
Maps
Sights
 

RAILFAN GUIDES HOME
RAILROAD SIGNALS HOME


In General

Location / Name:
Manheim PA

What's Here:
The Manheim Transportation and Industrial Museum

Data:
GPS Coordinates: 40.158182,  -76.392222
210 S. Charlotte St, 17545
717-665-7989

Access by train/transit:
None
Closest service by rail is Amtrak in Lancaster PA, approx 8 miles away.

The Scoop:

Manheim is about 10 miles or so north of Lancaster on Rt 72, and is (kinda) famous for the car auctions held here.

But there is a little known museum in town: The Manheim Transportation and Industrial Museum.  It is housed in an old Pennsylvania Railroad depot.

This depot was built in 1881.  It is of Victorian architecture and is 32 x 85 feet.  It is believed to have been designed by the renowned RR architect Frank Furness, who designed many of the Readings depots of the period, as well as the Aberdeen B&O and Riderwood Northern Central depots, featured elsewhere on this website.  The building is unique in that the roof supports are cantilevered, in other words,  the end of the roof supports do not rest upon the weight bearing outer walls directly.  The inside of the depot has had little done to it except for a new floor.  On the "lower" floor, there is a separate men's and women's waiting room.

The last passenger train to come thru was on November 5th, 1950..... there is still one freight a day, but only goes as far east as Lititz.

The exhibits are very well done, and a few are shown below.

For the signal fan, they have a single head PRR style PL signal at the west end of the property, and a train order signal that is NOT located on or above the building.  Inside, there are two actuating levers not unlike those used for interlocking.  Outside, wood still covers where the throw rods traveled, altho it appears they have been removed.  Judging from the casting number on the spectacle, it looks like it's a US&S model with a wooden blade, with red, (faded) yellow, and green lenses.  There are no lamps, and in the configuration it is in, would have required two lamps for lighting at night.  They also have a unique "train on branch" sign, which operates like a semaphore, but is locked in the "displayed" position..... pretty cool!

Last but not least, they have a surviving Lancaster streetcar, powered and operating no less!

Also, just to the north of Manheim is the PA Renaissance Faire, more info on it is below, check it out if you have never been before, great stuff!!!

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie-iCI5CjiQ G Scale layout in Manheim
http://www.manheimpa.com/  Manheim Historical Society
http://www.discoverlancaster.com/towns-and-heritage/towns-and-villages/manheim-pa.asp
http://lancasterpa.com/manheim/
http://manheimboro.org/

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 


Maps

The first map is of the central southern area of Pennsylvania, and where towns are in relation to each other.  The yellow/green dot is where the PA Renaissance Faire is (right off of the PA Turnpike at exit 266 / Mt Hope), and below it is Manheim on PA 72.

The map below is a detail of Manheim, and below that, a wide shot of the branch coming "up" from Lancaster, including a small bridge and one of the business' the line services.


The above map from Bing shows the line from Lancaster to Lititz via Manheim.


Sights


The Manheim Transportation and Industrial Museum







  

  

  


  
Being a Pennsy PL signal, it is not native to this line since this was a Reading line.  It was installed at the museum long after the station was used for such purposes.


   



 
A typical rod operated lower quadrant train order semaphore.


  

The "Train on Branch" signal was probably the one previously used at Lancaster Junction.  After the tracks were placed out of service and pulled, Lancaster Junction was no longer a junction point and trains went straight through to Lancaster's Reading Station by way of Dillerville yard.

The text highlighted in blue comes from Curt M. of Manheim, who also provided me with the pictures below of the wye.  Thanks Curt!


The Wye

Just east of Manheim station was a water tower (red sandstone bottom half still standing) at what was "Joint Line Junction" which connected to the Cornwall Railroad. Their right of way (before it became part of the Reading) passed to the rear of the mansion house which is now the center of "Renaissance Faire." Those tracks continued through Cornwall Boro skirting the great open pit mine and crossing underneath the PRR branch line which it (Cornwall RR) paralleled to the city of Lebanon.

The Wye in Manheim is the only one in this area.  Just behind me on the East end of the East leg of the wye, there used to be a single head searchlight signal but no trace of it remains.  Same picture but ahead and to the left used to be a shed housing a hand crank phone which, I assume, was to contact the station operator in Manheim in the event of a stop signal.





Above is a view looking east across the bridge that is in the lower left hand corner of the aerial picture above.


What's left of the water tower.


Looking west towards the station from the water tower.


Looking west towards downtown Manheim at Oak St.


Switch stand adjacent to Oak St.


Looking east towards Lititz from the wye.



The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

The PA Faire is held August thru October, usually the last weekend.  Among Renfaires, they are one of the best (IMHO).  Queen Elizabeth is the centerpiece of the Faire's attractions, and they always seem to find an excellent girl to play the part.  On the last day of the Faire, they have a most excellent presentation on the stage by the pirate ship, which lasts about 2 - 2 1/2 hours compared to the normal one hour, for they bring back acts that have performed over the whole run. 

They also have things, stuff, and events going on all year long, with a special Dicken's show before Christmas, which is always sold out!

If you are into wine (I'm not), people tell me the wines produced at the Mt. Hope Winery are very good, and they usually offer a deal on a case, with additional discounts on the last day of the Faire.

The Faire is located at the green/yellow circle on the map at the top of the page.

For pictures, check out my Renfaire index page (which includes a schedule of RenFaire's) at: http://www.railroadsignals.us/renfaires/renfaires.htm







Historical USGS Maps


Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.





Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

RAILFAN GUIDES HOME
RAILROAD SIGNALS HOME


New 6/17/2011
Last Modified: 07-Aug-2016