PENNSYLVANIA - Located in the heart of Pennsylvania's Amish country, the Strasburg Rail Road is one of the best-known tourist railroads in the lower 48 states. It's the oldest standard carrier shortline railroad in the United States and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
The railroad is home to one of the world's largest fleets of historic wooden passenger cars. Guests can ride on a historic train or visit the Strasburg Railroad Museum, a museum dedicated to the history of the railroad.
The railroad was chartered in 1832 and started operation in 1837. Its first revenue freight was hauled to the mill in Strasburg. In 1851, the railroad began using a 4-2-0 locomotive. In 1926, it switched to diesel locomotives. The railroad was destined for abandonment in 1957, but local railfans stepped up and saved it. The railroad was later absorbed into the Pennsylvania Railroad.
When the railroad was on the verge of being abandoned, two local rail fans, Henry K. Long and Donald E. L. Hallock organized a non-profit group that purchased the railroad. They upgraded trackage to 112-pound rail and renamed the line East Strasburg. It passed all mechanical and boiler inspections.
Today, the Strasburg Rail Road offers three different stores and restaurants. There's a toy store, a gift shop, a restaurant, the Hershey Farm Restaurant, and Inn. Its locomotive shops are an essential source of revenue. They have restored many steam locomotives, including Norfolk & Western's J-class.
The "Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine" train ride is a popular event at the Strasburg Rail Road. This Easter-themed train ride runs on the weekends, and visitors can enjoy a special surprise. The train ride includes a tasting of wine and cheese. Visitors can also ride on the Cagney steam train, operated by an authentic scale locomotive.
Another popular event is the Easter Bunny Cruise, which runs on Easter Sunday. Children are offered a special Easter treat on this train ride. Guests can also enjoy a day at the Strasburg Railroad Museum, which features life in a typical "railroad town" in Pennsylvania during the early 1900s. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission operate this museum.
The Strasburg Rail Road also offers several special events and festivals. In the summer, visitors can enjoy "Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine" and the "Cagney Steam Train." They can also attend the annual "Summer Fun in the Sun" festival and "Summer Train Fest."
The Strasburg Railroad is a great place to enjoy a day of entertainment, relaxation, and history. Visitors can enjoy the Strasburg Railroad Museum, which features a Train Yard, a 1915-era town, and a variety of interactive activities. The Strasburg Railroad Museum is near the National Toy Train Museum and the Red Caboose Motel. It's only an hour and a half from Philadelphia and Baltimore. If you're traveling from New York, you can reach the railroad by taking Amtrak's Keystone Line, located near Lancaster.