Visitors to Pennsylvania have the rare opportunity to board trains with their friends and families that were icons from over 100 years ago that had a great effect on how Americans saw their world around them from coast to coast. Some of the companies mentioned below have helped with the discovery of natural resources and the transportation of them. Other times, the rail companies were very involved with the Civil War in transporting troops and arms and also in the underground railroad movement which helped others gain freedom in the Northern States and Canada. Listed below are some of the scenic train rides in Pennsylvania, USA to experience amazing vistas anytime during the year to see nature at its most beautiful with a backdrop of history’s landmarks and its most pivotal figures.
1. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
Get your caboose seats before they’re filled on a vintage coach. The trains leave mid-morning to late afternoon daily throughout the year and runs on a 70-minute route every month except October when demand is high for the autumn month, and then it lasts for 45 minutes. Enjoy riding in an open car and feel the wind blow through your hair as you glide over bridges rising above the Lehigh River, travel through Glen Onoko falls, and into Lehigh Gorge State Park. During the journey, passengers can enjoy taking in the high-rising cliffs, Poconos Mountains, and wildlife including blue herons, beavers, and other creatures along the route towards Old Penn Haven.
Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
Website: Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
2. The Stourbridge Line Train Excursions
Hop on board the Pocono Express train at Honesdale station for an incredible journey traversing the Lackawaxen River. Choose from table cars, the retro decor of the 1950s car, or open-air cars which allow passengers to enjoy the amazing views of the breathtaking Pocono Mountain range up close. During the summer months from mid-June to early September, the trains leave the station at 1:00 pm and return at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. Take an unforgettable journey in the autumn to enjoy the changing of the leaves from greens to vibrant reds, golds, and coppers while perhaps catching a glimpse of an American bald eagle soar overhead as the train chugs along the Lackawaxen River.
The Stourbridge Line Train Excursions
3. Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
Board the train at Middletown station for an 11-mile (17.7 km) journey meandering through Union Canal and Swatara Creek en route to Hummelstown. Train schedules for spring to fall include departures at 12:00 pm or 1:30 pm on Thursday, Saturday, and Sundays and change to the same times, but without a Thursday departure beginning in September. Listen to the narration of the history of the surrounding area and other facts concerning the rail line and south-central Pennsylvania during the 75-minute ride. On the way back to Middletown, passengers can enjoy musicians playing live music through the same scenery they just passed. For a truly unique experience, book a ride on the Moonlight Specials, Civil War, Train Robberies, or New Year’s Eve Celebration Train while in Middletown.
Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
Website: Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad
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4. Everett Railroad Company
All aboard for a truly unique journey via the Everett Railroad’s historic steam train for a 90-minute excursion from Roaring Spring depot through the Allegheny Mountains of Blair County on the way to Kladder Depot. The annual Autumn Glory train departs on Saturdays at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 3;00 pm. Enjoy the slower pace as the train snakes through the Allegheny National Park over bridges while you take in the scenic beauty of the mountains clothed in their autumn attire and the expansive reservoir below. Prior to returning to Roaring Spring depot, passengers will detrain at Kladder Depot where they will be able to meet ‘Abraham Lincoln’ who will provide a historical presentation of the Battle of Gettysburg and give the Gettysburg Address.
Everett Railroad Company
Website: Everett Railroad Company
5. Colebrookdale Railroad
After the conductor helps you board one of the restored cars, get ready for a two-hour expedition from Boyertown to Pottstown crossing over rushing creeks and climbing tall bridges towards the forests of the Secret Valley. The Colebrookdale Railroad offers themed train rides along the same route offering dinner, brunch with mimosas, or evenings with jazz performances. The dinner menu changes during the year several times, so make certain to check ahead of time before booking. Gluten-free dining and vegan dining menus are available for passengers with dietary restrictions.
Website: Colebrookdale Railroad
6. Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
Make it aboard before the whistle blows or you will be missing an epic journey through Pennsylvania Oil Country. Departing from Titusville Wednesday through Sunday mornings and an extra departure at 3:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, the fall foliage train passes through beautiful Oil Creek State Park which 100 years ago was unimaginably polluted due to the drilling of oil. During this three-hour journey, passengers will see how left alone nature has recovered its beauty. Passengers will be able to take pictures of some of the park’s wildlife including groundhogs, bald eagles, ducks, deer, blue herons, and a rare black bear as the train makes it way through the forest.
Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
Website: Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad
7. Strasburg Rail Road
Jump on board one of the company’s locomotives, for a unique tour departing Lancaster County through the peaceful Amish countryside en route to Paradise with stops at Groff’s Grove or Leaman Place Grove. Passengers can disembark at either stop and enjoy a picnic lunch, however, at Groff’s Grove parents and little ones can enjoy wandering through the corn maze, riding the merry-go-round, or swinging before getting back on the train to return to Lancaster County. Passengers will be able to enjoy seeing crops such as corn, alfalfa, soybeans, and tobacco along with livestock during the 45-minute ride through Lancaster County farmland throughout the year.
Strasburg Rail Road
Website: Strasburg Rail Road
8. Steam Into History Inc.
Prepare yourself for a day with President Abraham Lincoln and his generals on your 2.5-hour journey riding along the same route he traveled from Washington, DC to Gettysburg where he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Departing at Glen Rock, passengers will enjoy the beautiful countryside of York County with its sprawling farmland, lush pastures, crops, and livestock. Anytime during the year, passengers can enjoy stunning scenery, onboard commentary, and live performances by cowboys, influential generals, and a chance meeting with the 16th President of the United States of America, Mr. Abraham Lincoln.
Steam Into History Inc.
Website: Steam Into History Inc.
9. WK&S Railroad
Get your best flapper dresses and pearls on ladies and gents your best suits for a special event Ragtime on the Rails journey through lush farmland and green forests along the Ontelaunee Creek. Kick off your heels to pianists performing live American ragtime classics such as Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” during the 40-minute excursion. Other excursions along the same route include the barbeque, beer, and cigar with picnic meal, and the Bow Wow Express for furry friends.
Website: WK&S Railroad
10. West Chester Railroad Co
Take a ride back 150 years on the 90-minute journey from West Chester and Glen Mills on any one of their scenic tours. During the warmer weather, hop aboard to enjoy the Summer Picnic Special where you will cruise past the rolling hills, lush pastures of Chester County, thick green forests, and cross the Delaware River all the while passing by historic villages. During the fall months, enjoy the brilliant colors of the trees changing for the season along the same route. Notable historical landmarks along the route for passengers to catch a glimpse of include the 19th-century village and station at Cheney, Locksley Station which is located near an old iron slitting mill, and Frazier Farmstead synonymous with Revolutionary War fame prior to reaching Glen Mills’ Victorian station.
West Chester Railroad Co
Website: West Chester Railroad Co
Advance token to the nearest railroad station
Immersing yourself in the immense beauty of the state of Pennsylvania during any season will add to your visit. However, add a train ride to that visit and you’ll find yourself feeling nostalgic for a time when people enjoyed the slower pace of life and even a short ride from one station to the next was a great journey for them. Add to that experience, the impact these steel horses had as they galloped across landscapes richly endowed in American history and everyone will have an educational time. Passengers will enjoy the stunning beauty of national parks while twisting and turning through history with important figures including Abraham Lincoln before they depart and return to the present day.
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