Posted: 04/30/2019 | by Katie

All Things Train in Lancaster, PA

Train-themed attractions straight ahead!

All Things Train in Lancaster, PA

All aboard! Calling all train enthusiasts, Lancaster is full of train-themed attractions. From museums and history, to rides and restaurants we have plenty of things for your railroad itinerary. We even have our very own “train town,” Strasburg, PA. Plus, there are a number of train events for you to add to your calendar. Read below to see what all there is to do, then start your planning full-steam ahead, just in time for National Train Day (May 10, 2020).

Strasburg Rail Road
Did you know that Lancaster County is home to America’s oldest operating railroad? Strasburg Rail Road was founded in 1832 and is still running today. Visitors can enjoy a 45-minute train ride through the picturesque farmland in Presidential, first-class, coach, and open-air cars. Once you are back at the station children can explore and play on pint-sized Pufferbelly and Cranky Cars. Throughout the year special events like the Easter Bunny Train, Santa’s Paradise, Christmas Tree Train, and Night Before Christmas Trains are held. Be sure to check the railroad’s website for more information and tickets to these popular, themed rides.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
The museum remains closed due to public health concerns.
At this hands-on museum train-enthusiasts can sit in an engineer’s seat, explore a caboose, experience a turn-of-the-century passenger station, and inspect a 62-ton locomotive from underneath. With more than 100 historic locomotives and vintage railroad cars, the Museum is Pennsylvania’s premier museum of railroading and offers a world-class collection in addition to an education center and working restoration shop. True history lovers can even review their library and archives by appointment. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has serveral themed days throughout the year like Reading Railroad Days, 1940s Swing Dance, Trains & Troops, and more! Dates and more information on these special events can be found on their website.

Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad
The Railroad has suspended all rides for 2020 due to public health concerns.
Enjoy an 11-mile train ride along the Swatara Creek and learn the history of the surrounding area. This 75-minute ride through the Swatara Creek Valley offers live narration and signalongs as well as special events like the Easter Bunny Express, Chicken BBQ Specials, Mother’s Day Special Dinner, Civil War Train Rides, and more! The original railroad company was founded in 1888 and was used by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad until 1976.

Choo Choo Barn- Traintown, U.S.A.®
Experience one of America’s largest, most engaging custom model train displays. With more than 1,700 square-feet of special model train display, 22 operating trains, and over 150 hand build animated figures and vehicles this display is sure to impress you. The layout represents many scenes traditionally found around Lancaster County. Such as Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park, the Strasburg Rail Road, and even an authentic Amish barn raising. If you are visiting during the holiday season, stop by to see if you can find all the hidden Santas in the display.

National Toy Train Museum
Showcasing an extensive collection of toy trains from the mid 1800s to the present, train collectors will love the National Toy Train Museum. The museum even has seven interactive, operating layouts and represents over 100 different manufacturers. There is also a research library with information on toy trains and their manufacturers. The train displays are revised and updated yearly.

Northern Central Railway
Norther Central Railway offers riders an authentic experience via a replica Civil War-era steam locomotive as well as a mid-20th century diesel locomotive. The trains follow along the historic Northern Central Railway, which was a critical railroad that helped enable the Union victory in the Civil War and played a major role in the Industrial Revolution, allowing for transportation of products to wide geographic markets. President Abraham Lincoln rode the Northern Central Railway to and from Gettysburg when delivering the Gettysburg Address, and his funeral train passed from Baltimore to York via the NCRR.

Activities & Events:

Garden Railways Tour
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania | October 4
Enjoy a self-guided tour of various private homes, featuring unique garden railways with operating model train layouts. Garden Railways Tour tickets are $10 per person for ages 6 and over. Tickets go on sale at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania beginning August 1 and at all Stauffers of Kissel Hill locations in central Pennsylvania on September 1.

Trains & Treats
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania | October 17
Kids will have a treat bag to collect a variety of candy, nut-free, and small, non-food items at each stop along the way, as they tour a number of historic locomotives, railroad cars and exhibits inside Rolling Stock Hall. Recommended for children ages 3 to 12. Costumes are welcome, but are not required.

Trains & Troops
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
| November 7 - 8
Honor our veterans, and the men and women currently in uniform, while you experience many splendid railroad and military archival displays, enjoy patriotic music and learn the significant role railroads played time and again in the defense of our nation. Regular Museum hours.

Saturday Train Rides
Stone Gables Estate | Saturdays September 16 - October 31
The Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad at Stone Gables Estate will be operating SATURDAY train rides! Enjoy a one-of-a-kind 1.2-mile, round-trip train excursion through the center of Stone Gables Estate on the Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad, traversing the original 1838 railroad bed on which President Lincoln’s funeral train traveled on April 22, 1865. Featured is a replica of an 1868 steam locomotive, pulling replicas of an 1848 Pioneer Coach and the only replica of the 1865 presidential private car, “United States,” which was used as Lincoln’s Funeral Car. Journey past an original hand-cut and stacked original stone wall, through woodlands with 250 to 350-year-old “witness” trees, past the restored 1844 Herr’s Mill Covered Bridge, and along the cascading, boulder-lined Conoy Creek. The conductor will provide historical and current facts about sights along the way, the railroad, train, and Stone Gables Estate. At the end of each trip, guests will have an opportunity to take a narrated walk-through of the Lincoln Funeral Car.

The Great Train Robbery
Strasburg Rail Road | October 17
These interactive rides will rob you poor while offering excitement and adventure as you travel on a 45-minute steam train ride through scenic Amish country.

Santa's Paradise Express
Strasburg Rail Road | Select Dates Novemeber through December
Santa Claus welcomes you and passengers of all ages aboard America’s oldest operating railroad for a truly magical steam train and Christmas experience! A Christmas tradition for over 60 years continues as the historic Strasburg Rail Road welcomes a very special visitor every holiday season. Santa Claus will climb aboard our vintage steam train to greet families as they travel down the tracks to Paradise, Pennsylvania and back. Children ages 11 and under will receive a small gift from Santa and his helper during this nostalgic 45-minute train ride.

The Night Before Christmas Train
Strasburg Rail Road | Select Dates in December
All aboard for Strasburg Rail Road’s Night Before Christmas Train! Passengers aboard this train enjoy the childlike anticipation of Christmas Eve, recall the old-fashioned nostalgia of Christmas past, and delight in the magic of an authentic steam train during the holidays.

Eateries & Accommodations:

Aboard the historic Strasburg Rail Road you can eat in the Strasburg Rail Road Dining Car. In this air-conditioned “Lee E. Brenner” dining car riders can take in the picturesque view of Amish Country while enjoying a special dining event. Try the Wine and Cheese train for a selection of wine, cheese, and crackers. Test your sleuthing skills on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train, or ride along for wing night! Lunch is served daily on the dining card as well. Be sure to check their schedule for when meal are available.

If you find there is too much to do in one day, why not stay the night in your own train car? At the Red Caboose Motel you can choose from 38 cabooses, a baggage car, and a mail car to sleep in. All cars are decorated in schemes of America’s most favorite railroads.

Also located at the Red Caboose visitors can dine at Casey Jones Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in an actually Pullman dining car. The menu features many Pennsylvania Dutch favorites for you to enjoy as you watch trains and buggies go by.

If your family likes camping try the Loose Caboose Campground. Children will love their playground and looking around the real train car on the property. They are also pet friendly.

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Katie