The early 20th century brought to Pennsylvania the Hanover Fast Line, a trolley service for people traveling between York and Hanover and other nearby communities. On weekdays, residents commuted to work on the trolley, and on weekends they traveled to neighboring towns for church, shopping, or picnics.
The trolley line was shuttered in the late 1930s after automobile use soared, and eventually the line was converted into an electric utility corridor.
Today, the line offers another way for people to get around: trails for biking and walking.
Planning for the Hanover Trolley Trail began in earnest in 2009 when Keystone Fund grants helped bring together the York County Rail Trail Authority and local officials to examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the development of the trail on the former trolley line.
An additional Keystone Fund grant in 2012 supported the development of two key sections of the trail.
The Spring Grove-Jackson section of trail has become popular with older adults who formed the Hanover Trolley Trotters, a group of active seniors that walk the trail weekly.
Additionally, local community and school groups have adopted the trail and regularly help with maintenance and improvements. Members of a local Boys Scout troop have completed improvement projects that earned them their Eagle badge.
The Hanover Borough section of the trail offers covered tables that provide adults and children a place to rest and enjoy a picnic after a bike ride, while bird enthusiasts find a range of species in the surrounding woods and wetlands, including cardinals, blue jays, and robins.
Once fully developed, the Hanover Trolley Trail will run 16.5 miles from York to Hanover.