Pennsylvania tourist railroads you must visit include train rides to a historic tunnel and everything in between in the Keystone State. Here’s our list of must-see tourist railroads, museums, and displays — for almost every region in Pennsylvania.
Allegheny Portage Railroad
This national historic site preserves the remains of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. You can explore the 900-foot Staple Bend Tunnel, the first railroad tunnel built in the United States, visit the enginehouse, or take a hike. The Staple Bend Tunnel is about 25 miles southwest of the site’s main location. From that parking lot, it is a 2-mile hike or bike ride to the tunnel. The site conducts a large number of special events.
Location: 110 Federal Park Road, Gallitzin
E-mail: Form on website
Allentown & Auburn Railroad
Diesel-powered round trips to Topton over the 4-mile former Reading Company Kutztown Branch leave from the historic 1870 depot. Occasionally an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad “doodlebug” operates. Trains run about 40 times per season, with most departures scheduled around seasonal or holiday events. The ride lasts roughly an hour.
Location: 232 Railroad Street, Kutztown
Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society
The society operates train rides in fall and winter, departing from the historic 1889 Bellefonte station. Please visit their website for current schedules and special events.
Location: 320 West High Street, Bellefonte
Phone: 814-355 1053
The museum features the Train Factory, an interactive exhibit showcasing Baldwin’s experimental locomotive No. 60000, which has been at the museum since 1933, and two other locomotives. You’ll explore railroad technology as you journey through the exhibit. The museum is open year-round.
Location: 271 North 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA
Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad
This group works to preserve and promote the Stewartstown Railroad, a 7.4-mile bucolic rural country short line founded in 1885. Open houses, featuring track speeder rides, are held at the railroad’s 1914 brick Stewartstown station.
Location: 18 North Main Street #456, Stewartstown
Gallitzin Tunnels Park & Museum
From the nearby Jackson Street Bridge, you get a great view of the twin tunnels, which are 3,605 feet long. The site also features a museum and a restored 1942 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose. The museum includes railroad artifacts and photos. It is open Monday through Friday, May through October.
Location: 411 Convent Street, Gallitzin
Greenville Railroad Park and Museum
This railroad museum displays Union Railroad 0-10-2 No. 604. Built in 1936, it is the largest steam switcher ever built. Several railcars are also on display. Museum exhibits highlight a CTC panel from Bessemer Railroad and the invention of the parachute. It is open on weekends during May, September, and October. During the summer months, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Hours: 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Location: 314 Main Street, Greenville
Harris Tower Museum
Turn the clock back to the 1940s when the Pennsylvania Railroad controlled this interlocking tower. Today, visitors can operate the 113 interlocking levers, switches and signals (via a computer simulator) that once controlled where Pennsy trains met the electric power at the Harrisburg train station. Docents help tell the stories of railroading that turned Harrisburg into the world-class transportation hub that it is. The tower is adjacent to Norfolk Southern’s Harrisburg Terminal and Amtrak’s Keystone Line which sees daily commuter trains. Open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., mid-May to the last Saturday in October. Free parking at the adjacent Commonwealth of Pennsylvania parking area. Due to the historic nature of the tower, the museum is not handicapped accessible.
Location: 637 Walnut Street, Harrisburg
Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum
The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum is housed in the restored Darlington station, and its exhibits show the history of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road. It is open Saturdays. It displays a 1905 caboose and has 3,000 items in its collection.
Location: 3032 Idlewild Hill Lane, Ligonier
Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village
The village has been preserved as a rural commerce crossroads circa 1915, with a general store, post office, and mill. Several pieces of rolling stock are on site, and motor car rides are offered. The village is open on summer Sundays and for several additional special events. Fall foliage excursions take place in October, and the Christmas City Express runs in December.
Location: 1258 Muddy Creek Forks Road, Airville
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train
Take a scenic ride along Mahanoy Mountain as you hear stories about mining, bootlegging, and the Centralia Mine fire. A 1927 narrow gauge 0-4-0 steam locomotive takes you around the mountain. You can also tour a real anthracite coal mine in open mine cars. Open April through October. Please note: During both tours, your guide will have you exit the cars and walk a short distance on uneven ground for the presentation. Proper footwear is highly recommended.
Location: 20th & Oak Streets, Ashland
Portage Station Museum
The museum is located in a restored Pennsylvania Railroad train station, originally built in 1926. The first floor contains a stationmaster’s office and items from the Pennsylvania Railroad, and on the second floor, there is a display of mining artifacts and a large model train display that depicts railroading of the area. It is open Wednesday through Saturday.
Location: 400 Lee Street, Portage
Williams Grove Railroad
Operating as part of the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, the railroad operates steam or diesel train rides on select weekends from May into October and during the annual fall steam show at the end of August. Steam power is provided by PRR No. 643. At times during the season, the Run-a-Locomotive program allows you to run one of the association’s engines.
Location: 1 Steam Engine Hill, Mechanicsburg
E-mail: Form on website