The Story of the Boxcar

Affectionately called “the Boxcar Museum,” the Cumberland Valley Railroad Museum portrays the histories of the Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, Penn Central, and Conrail Railroads along with their social, cultural and environmental impacts on the Cumberland Valley region. The museum features artifacts representing rail history and exhibits that depict the ways in which the railroads affected the region.

Why turn an old boxcar into a museum? While the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail has long been a popular attraction for outdoor enthusiasts, it featured almost no mention of, or artifacts representing, its rail history. An abandoned boxcar provided the CVRTC with an opportunity to celebrate and share the trail’s heritage. In addition, the museum will serve as the focal point in a public space to be used for community events and will connect the Rail Trail with the local and regional area.

How did the boxcar get to the head of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail? For years, railroad enthusiasts had known that a Penn Central boxcar lay abandoned at the end of Queen Street near the old Domestic Castings building. They wanted to see it restored. In October 2017, the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council (CVRTC) took possession of the boxcar and moved it to its current home off Earl Street at the head of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail. While the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail has long been a popular attraction for outdoor enthusiasts, it featured almost no mention of, or artifacts representing, its rail history. An abandoned boxcar provided the CVRTC with an opportunity to celebrate and share the trail’s heritage. In addition, the museum will serve as the focal point in a public space to be used for community events and will connect the Rail Trail with the local and regional area.