The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 26, 2014

Ties that bind

National railway meeting in Valley right on track

By Robert Inglis
The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG — One of my fondest memories growing up were around Christmas, setting up my grandfather’s Lionel train around the tree. I have a family pocket watch, from the New York Central train line, that worked for years.

Railroading, you could say, is in my blood, and when the chance arose Friday to ride in a train engine, I jumped aboard quickly.

Friday morning, nearly 90 National Railway Historical Society members and their guests excitedly hopped off buses to take photos of, then quickly board, three passenger cars for an excursion from Lewisburg to Winfield, and then to Allenwood.

Members came from as far as California, and from 29 other states.

It was a rare chance for anyone in the Valley to see the passenger cars in action.

“This is only the second time in about 15 years passenger cars have ridden on these lines,” North Shore Railroad director of operations Tom Avery said.

Just as rare was the visit to the Valley by the National Railway Historical Society.

“This is the first time the Central Pennsylvania chapter of the (society) has hosted the annual board of directors meeting,” chapter treasurer Larry Maynard said at a quick stop in Lewisburg at the borough building.

Onlookers chased after the train just to take photos and videos as it made its way down the tracks from Lewisburg to Winfield.

Engineer Brady Aunkst, of Milton, said: “I have the best job in the world” while running the train with the windows open and a nice breeze blowing in.

He and fellow engineer Mike Seese, of Northumberland, expertly guided the train at 10 mph.

“This is normally an industrial line for business,” Aunkst said while keeping an eye out for traffic at railroad crossings.

The ride provided guests scenic views of the Susquehanna River and different vantage points that one would not normally see of of local municipalities.