Step back in time at Muddy Creek Forks


In an era when change is lightning fast, it's difficult to imagine anything staying the same — let alone being preserved — for more than 100 years.

Muddy Creek Forks, a railroad town formed in the late 1800s, is the sole surviving town along the 77-mile Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad.

Starting Sunday, June 7, visitors to the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village can have an experience that's "really like stepping back into time," said Craig Sansonetti, president of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society.

The site features 10 buildings, including a general store, grain elevator, roller mill and bank barn, as well as lowlands of Muddy Creek and the railroad.

"Muddy Creek Forks is really a terrific place for multi-generational groups," said Sansonetti, adding that "there are things to appeal to everyone."

Grandparents can reminisce over flashbacks from their youth while grandchildren are intrigued by something very strange to them, he said.

After exploring the town, visitors can take a 5-mile train ride with volunteers who tell stories of the railroad's history, answer questions and often lend their conductor's hat to kids for fun photos. Train rides cost $7 for adults and $5 for children, while admission to the village is free.

New to Muddy Creek Forks this year is a cannery exhibit. About 170 cans have been reproduced from vintage labels, and they'll be part of the display merchandise in the general store.

Railroad's role: "We are focused on the important role of the railroad in the early 20th century," said Sansonetti, explaining that the railroad acted as an integral part of society in the early 1900s.

The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society "preserves and interprets the history of the railroad and its key role in surrounding towns as the main mode of transportation," he said. "Virtually all the towns have changed beyond recognition, with the exception of Muddy Creek Forks."

The village is open from 1 to 5 p.m. every Sunday from June 7 to Sept. 6.

For more information or advance tickets, visit