At the Stewartstown Railroad Co., people get to see how things used to be, said Ken Bitten.

"It's like a time machine, right back into the '30s and '40s," said Bitten, a company board member. "We have the photos of founders, original features. It's a microcosm of the early short line and farmers' railroads that were typical of our country back then."

Bitten said he's just glad Stewartstown Railroad is still available to the public.

Issue resolved: The railroad recently resolved a five-year battle with the estate of George Hart, a railroad enthusiast who died April 2008.

There was a dispute over whether Hart had given more than $350,000 to the railroad company as a gift or a loan. Hart's estate was eventually authorized to push the railroad into foreclosure to recover the money and close the estate.

The railroad raised the money, through private loans, donations and stock sales.

The estate agreed to accept the payment, cancel a lien against the property and stop pursuing foreclosure, Bitten said.

The agreement was finalized in October, Bitten said.

The estate withdrew its abandonment petition -- which would have forced the railroad to close and sell its assets for repayment -- about three weeks ago, Bitten said.

"With all that done, we're really moving forward with rehabilitating and operating the railroad," he said.

The Stewartstown Railroad Co. is trying to raise at least $100,000 for its repair and restoration projects, which include repairing tracks and train features, Bitten said.

Sharing the railroad: Stewartstown Railroad Co. will hold open house events from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays on Dec. 15, 22 and 29, at its station museum at 21 W. Pennsylvania Ave. (Route 851).

The open house events are free, Bitten said.

He said the railroad is still deciding whether to offer motorcar rides during the open houses. Motorcar tickets are $6 or $8, depending on the type of ride.

The railroad company held an open house Saturday, but canceled its Sunday event because of the snow, Bitten said.

The railroad company hopes the open house events will encourage some visitors to become volunteers, he added.

"We need help with hosting open houses," he said. "We want to train volunteers to be engineers and conductors. We need help with fixing up the station, painting, replacing windows."

Working on the Stewartstown Railroad is well worth the effort, Bitten said.

"It's much more of an experience," he said. "It shows you how people got their goods and shipped their goods, how it was prior to the interstate and the trucks and motor carriers."

The railroad company was created in 1885, but it hasn't been operational since 2004.

It provided both freight and passenger service along its 7.4-mile stretch of track.