The recently named president of Strasburg Rail Road died Sunday from cancer at age 52, the company announced Monday.
The Strasburg Rail Road, founded in 1832, is America’s oldest short-line railroad and one of the state’s leading tourist attractions, drawing about 300,000 visitors a year.
Lefever, of Millersville, had started working there part time as a teenager, recruited by his late father, a Strasburg Rail Road carpenter, to help with cleaning, sanding and repainting equipment.
Lefever had worked full time at the Strasburg Rail Road since 1987. He became its eighth president after serving as vice president, general manager, compliance officer and car shop supervisor.
“Craig had been battling cancer for a number of years and up until very recently he had been doing very well,” said a company spokeswoman.
She declined to specify the type of cancer, out of respect for Lefever’s family.
The company’s board of directors has begun a search for Lefever’s replacement while an interim leadership team oversees the railroad’s daily operations — passenger service, freight service and contract shop work.
The team is comprised of: Kelly Anderson, vice president of motive power, equipment and shops; Steve Barrall, station master; Anne Musser, corporate secretary; and Steve Weaver, vice president of roadway.
“Craig’s death will not have an impact on daily operations. The interim leadership team has all aspects of the business covered,” the spokeswoman said.
Strasburg Rail Road is known for its museum quality, working, turn-of-the century steam locomotives, freight cars, dining cars and private cars. Its fleet of historic wooden passenger cars is among the world’s largest.