Posted: 06/28/2021 | 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 8, 2021).

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 Thomas, wine & cheese trains, trivia night trains, Santa’s Paradise, Christmas Tree Train, Night Before Christmas Trains, and other events are held. Be sure to check the railroad’s website for more information on events and tickets to these popular, themed rides.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
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 several 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
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:

Escape Room, Trivia Night, Games and Bingo on the Train
Strasburg Rail Road | Select dates
Join the Strasburg Rail Road for fun events such as escape rooms, trivia nights, and more aboard the train! Running on select dates, we recommend getting tickets ahead of time for these fun activities.

Saturday Train Rides
Stone Gables Estate | Saturdays May through October

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.

Wine & Cheese Train
Strasburg Rail Road | Select dates
All aboard at the Strasburg Rail Road for regional wines and cheese from Town Clock Cheese Shoppe in Gap, PA. On the return trip you can select your favorite wine from the samplings, take in the scenery, and enjoy more fruit and cheese. Beer is also available for an additional cost.

Ride with Thomas and His Friends
Strasburg Rail Road | Select Dates in June & September
Strasburg Rail Road is featuring special Thomas and Friends Train Rides. The event offers a full, 45-minute train ride with Thomas, Mavis, or aboard the signature steam train. Thomas and Mavis operate on select days during the event. Plus, guests can capture the day with professional photos with Thomas and Mavis.

Veteran's Day
Northern Central Railway | November 11
Join us as we celebrate the service of veterans, active–duty military, and first responders! Our journey follows the beautiful York County Heritage Rail Trail to Glen Rock, PA. We’ll learn about the towns and villages along the way while enjoying the colors of fall. Free tickets for military and first responders provided through a generous grant from CSX Transportation. Veterans, active–duty military, and first responders: call us at 717-942-2370 at least 3 days in advance to reserve your ticket. Please have a valid ID.

Santa's Paradise Express
Strasburg Rail Road | Select November 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.

Christmas Tree Train
Strasburg Rail Road | Select Dates November through December
For that special Currier and Ives Christmas experience, take a ride aboard Strasburg Rail Road’s Christmas Tree Train! Travel by authentic steam train to Leaman Place Grove where you can choose a pre-cut Fraser Fir tree and have it delivered back to the station.

611 at the Strasburg Rail Road
Strasburg Rail Road | Select dates June through October
Join the Strasburg Rail Road in welcoming the 611, the sole survivor of 14 Class J Steam Locomotives from the 1950's. Enjoy 45-minute rides, among other experiences.

Eateries & Accommodations:

After your ride aboard the historic Strasburg Rail Road you can eat at the Cafe 1832, located right on the platform. This historic atmosphere is the perfect setting for lunch, dinner, or just a quick bite. Under the direction of former Disney Chef and graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Phillip Ponticelli, Café 1832 is family friendly, featuring a scratch-made menu using fresh ingredients for seasonal dishes including soups, salads, sandwiches, and dinner options. Gluten free and vegetarian options 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.