12 Best Pennsylvania Train Trips
Pennsylvania’s train lines played an enormous role in the state’s history, dating back to the early 1800s, well before the Civil War and the industrial revolution, and were part of the country’s drive towards a new frontier. The railroads of the Northeast have a rich history, interesting tales, phenomenal scenery, and a whole lot of fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. At these vintage train stations, visitors can find museums, railroading history and artifacts, unique food concessions, and other activities and amenities. The trains are vintage, and while some are replicas many others are all original. These locations take the visitors back to the “good old days,” when the train was the driving force behind industrialization and transportation. Every station in Pennsylvania is unique, and a different experience is to be had with every visit, while wonderful memories can be made by simply hopping on a train. Photo: Anton Papulov/Fotolia
»Colebrookdale Railroad Company
This tourist railroad is located in the “Secret Valley,” which connects various locations throughout Pennsylvania. The entire operation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that provides adventure through the Secret Valley and takes its guests back to the time of early America, exploration, adventure, prosperity, and the steam engine that helped to build the West. This heritage tourism foundation has a number of trains that provide many amenities, events, services, and education about the history of the area, Native American lore, and the times in early America, but the railroad also creates a network of interesting places for people to visit, connecting to museums, zoos, aquariums, historic sites, state and national parks, science centers, retail malls, and more.
Contact: Boyertown Rail Yard Third Street, Boyertown, PA 19512, Phone: 610-367-0200 Toll Free: 866-289-4021
Photo: Colebrookdale Railroad Company
»Everett Railroad Company
Steam-powered trains may be an outdated mode of transportation, but at the Everett Railroad Company, they are very much alive. The Everett Railyard provides all kinds of great events in addition to the trains, including much else from the times of the steam engine and many excursions for people to see the different places in the area. The railroad began in 1860 as a freight business, but has since offered many tourist opportunities. Trains run from Hollidaysburg, Brookes Mills, and Roaring Springs in Pennsylvania, and tickets are easy to reserve. Riding the trains can be done any time of the year, and visitors are likely to encounter a great event during their visit.
Contact: 244 Loop Road Hollidaysburg, PA 16648, 814-696-3877
Photo: Everett Railroad Company
»Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
This old railway located in Jim Thorpe, PA, provides excursions for anyone wanting a ride on a vintage steam coach built all the way back in the early 1900s. The train takes visitors over the Lehigh River over old, marvelous bridges, then into the Glen Onoko Nature Preserve, where people can see the many waterfalls and gorgeous scenery along the way, before routing around into Lehigh Gorge State Park, which features incredible wildlife, mountains, beautiful scenery, and high cliffs. During the entire trip, a local historian will be narrating the ride, educating the riders on the history of the area, the railway, and the Lehigh Gorge.
Contact: 1 Susquehanna St. Jim Thorpe, PA 18229, Phone: 570-325-8485
Photo: Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
»Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
Aside from the many events this very old railroad holds every year, visitors can embark on its main excursion, which travels along 11 miles of track that pass by Swatara Creek and many miles of beautiful country. The railyard is located in Middletown, PA, where passengers can board the Delaware, which is a vintage train from the 1920s, the Lackawanna, or the Western at the station built in 1891. The entire trip is narrated by a historian who showcases the history of the railway and its trains as well as the history of the area. Visitors are welcome to visit the railway when a special event occurs. The railroad also offers group and charter events.
Contact: 136 Brown Street, Middletown, PA 17057, Phone: 717-944-4435
Photo: Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
»The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
This fun and exciting railway is located just outside of Philadelphia in New Hope, PA. The railyard and the town it is located in lie right on the famous Delaware River, which visitors can explore and learn about during the train rides. The vintage trains travel on historical tracks that were built by the North-East Pennsylvania Railroad in 1891. Visitors will enjoy the narration from an area expert on the history of the railway, the beautiful scenery, and the life of early Americans during the time of the steam engine. The trains travel through scenic countryside and past historic sites, a network of streams, new and old bridges, and the valleys surrounding the town of New Hope, PA.
Contact: New Hope and Ivyland Railroad, 32 West Bridge Street, New Hope, PA 18938, Phone: 215-862-2332
Photo: David LoGiudice/Fotolia
»Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
Nicknamed the “OC&T,” this vintage railway provides passengers and visitors with the opportunity to ride some very old trains, learn about the famous history of the events and people of the Oil Creek Valley, and adventure out into the countryside to discover beautiful lands and historic landmarks in and around the main train station and the town of Titusville, PA. The train ride lasts about 3 hours. Back at the station, visitors can enjoy the museum, concession stands, and gift shop. Visitors may also take advantage of the many events the railroad holds each year. The OC&T is a nonprofit organization.
Contact: 409 S Perry St, Titusville, PA 16354, Phone: 814-676-1733
Photo: Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
»Steam into History - The Northern Central Railway
Visitors are plunged into history when they board the William H. Simpson No. 17 steam locomotive, which is a full replica of the same train that carried Abraham Lincoln to Gettysburg to deliver his famous address. This train takes passengers on round-trip excursions named the Glen Rock Express, which is an hour-long ride, the Seitzland Specials, which are 45-minute long rides, or the Hanover Junction, which is 2 ½ hours long. Each ride is boarded in the vintage railyard in New Freedom, PA. Steam into History is a charitable, nonprofit organization.
Contact: 2 West Main Street, New Freedom, PA 17349, Phone: 717-942-2370
Photo: Steam into History - The Northern Central Railway
»Steamtown National Historic Site
This park is stewarded by the National Park Service in Scranton, PA, where visitors have the pleasure of exploring some of the oldest steam-powered locomotives, learning about the history of the railroads, the companies, the people who worked so hard to build the miles of tracks and trains, and the history of the local area and how America’s industry changed forever during the new age of trains. Visitors can visit the museum, the archeological exhibit, and the shop that repairs the locomotives and they can even take part in educational classes and children’s field trips. The gift shop has plenty of replica artifacts, train toys, and other goodies for the whole family.
Contact: 150 South Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503-2018, Phone: 570-340-5200
This old railroad has been offering various services since 1884, but recently it has begun to offer passenger tours through the historic areas of Stewartstown and the countryside, either ending in New Freedom, PA, or doubling back to the main station in Stewartstown. Visitors are likely to encounter their flagship locomotive “Mighty-Mo,” which is a Plymouth train built in 1943. Riding this vintage train creates a wonderful memory of learning the history of the area and the railway, enjoying the incredible scenery of the American Northeast, and possibly even participating in special events that take place on the train if passengers time their visit appropriately.
Contact: 21 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Stewartstown, PA 17363, Phone: 717-746-8123
Photo: Stewartstown Railroad
This railroad is the oldest continuously operating railroad in the western hemisphere, dating all the way back to 1832. The experience visitors get from this railyard is truly unique, because the trains are not replicas and the staff are not actors. Everything is purely authentic, and it is as close as anyone can get to stepping back into the early 1800s. Strasburg Railroad has five steam engines and 19 passenger cars, including the dining car, the first-class car, and the President’s Car. The train travels through the Amish countryside near Paradise, PA, returning on the same track. At both stations, visitors can enjoy the many shops, concession stands, and other fun activities.
Contact: 301 Gap Rd, Ronks, PA 17572, Phone: 866-725-9666
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»The Hawk Mountain Line
This railroad is much more than just a train and some tracks. Nicknamed the WK&S, which is short for Wanamaker, Kempton, and Southern, the station is a completely volunteer-operated space for visitors to come and enjoy the gift shop, the old passenger trains, the concession stands, and a small museum full of old railroad equipment and artifacts dating back to the early 1800s. The station takes people along some scenic country, because of its rural location, and visitors can enjoy the rolling hills and farmland of the Northeast. Visitors regularly attend the many family-friendly events the station holds every year in Kempton, PA. Visitors can even charter a train all for themselves if they wish.
Contact: 42 Community Center Dr. Kempton, PA 19529, Phone: 610-756-6469
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»The Stourbridge Line
The line is owned by DL&S (Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad Company) and offers seasonal excursions from Honesdale, PA. Visitors learn the history of the old trains as they ride through the scenic countryside of the Lackawaxen River Gorge and Valley, travelling on over 25 miles of track toward Lackawaxen and back. Experts and volunteers from the area are always happy to share the history of the railroad, of the town of Honesdale, and of the time when the trains were used to build the town. The Stourbridge Line holds many family-friendly events throughout the year.
Contact: 812 Main Street, Honesdale, PA 18431, Phone: 570-470-2697
Photo: The Stourbridge Line
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»West Chester Railroad
This historical railroad is located in West Chester, PA. The West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, which is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and collecting the history and artifacts of railroading in the area, operates the 150-year-old railroad for visitors to enjoy. The line runs along the gorgeous Chester Creek and continues into Glen Mills, where the route is then doubled back for a full 90-minute train ride. The main hub for loading onto the vintage train is Market Street Station in West Chester, PA. Visitors can even rent the locomotive for birthday parties and other events.
Contact: 230 E. Market St. West Chester, PA 19382, Phone: 610-430-2233
Photo: West Chester Railroad
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12 Best Pennsylvania Train Trips
- Colebrookdale Railroad Company, Photo: Colebrookdale Railroad Company
- Everett Railroad Company, Photo: Everett Railroad Company
- Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, Photo: Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
- Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad, Photo: Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
- The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, Photo: Courtesy of David LoGiudice - Fotolia.com
- Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad, Photo: Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
- Steam into History - The Northern Central Railway, Photo: Steam into History - The Northern Central Railway
- Steamtown National Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of jiawangkun - Fotolia.com
- Stewartstown Railroad, Photo: Stewartstown Railroad
- Strasburg Railroad, Photo: Courtesy of valerianic - Fotolia.com
- The Hawk Mountain Line, Photo: Courtesy of wernerimages - Fotolia.com
- The Stourbridge Line, Photo: The Stourbridge Line
- West Chester Railroad, Photo: West Chester Railroad
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Anton Papulov - Fotolia.com
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