Ma & Pa group seeks help with flood repairs

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The 30-foot bridge over this small stream was lifted off its abutments and dumped in the creek, carrying with it the track on both sides of the bridge. A local rainstorm dropped over 10 inches of rain on the area on Aug. 31, causing this and other major damage to track owned by the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society in York County, Pa.
Wayne Laepple
MUDDY CREEK FORKS, Pa. — On Aug. 31, a thunderstorm stalled over an area just north of Muddy Creek Forks, and in less than two hours, dumped more than 10 inches of rain. The runoff from this unprecedented deluge roared down through several ravines into the Muddy Creek Valley, inflicting major damage on the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society's 3.6-mile line.

Craig Sansonetti, the society's president, told Trains that because the flood damage was in a confined area, no federal disaster was declared, and no outside funding can be expected to help repair the extensive damage. He took this reporter to a location known as Guinston, where the force of the floodwaters actually lifted a 30-foot girder bridge off its abutments and deposited it in the stream, and a concrete wing wall was carried out into the North Branch of Muddy Creek and deposited on the opposite bank about 75 feet from the bridge.

At another location, Sansonetti said, slabs of shale were carried downstream, plugging a culvert under the track and burying the track under several feet of rock. The stream then carved a new path through the embankment to merge with Muddy Creek. In addition, at three other locations a total of more than 700 feet of track was heavily damaged.

The society was able to obtain an emergency permit from the state Department of Environmental Resources to enter the stream bed and make necessary repairs. An engineering firm has developed a work plan, and a contractor is at work on the Guinston bridge site. However, the permit is only good for 60 days, and with the onset of winter, the work may not be completed within that time.

The society is now appealing to members and friends for financial support, as the estimates for repairs to the five sites are in the range of $170,000. A crowd-funding site has been set up at to raise $50,000 toward the recovery costs.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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