Railroads & Locomotives Tourist Railroad Profiles Pennsylvania tourist railroads you must visit

Pennsylvania tourist railroads you must visit

By Lucas Iverson | June 29, 2023

Here are our must-see tourist railroads, museums and displays across the Keystone State.

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from Trains.com brands. Sign-up for email today!

Steam locomotive with red passenger cars
As one of the Pennsylvania tourist railroads you must visit, Strasburg Rail Road 4-8-0 engine No. 475 brings its passenger train westward past the railroad’s shops and yard at Strasburg, Pa., on Nov. 8, 2022. Dan Cupper

Pennsylvania is rich in railroading heritage. There are dozens of museums, tourist railroads and railroad sites in the Keystone State, many in close proximity to one another. From the famous to the hidden gems, here are Pennsylvania tourist railroads you must visit from the Trains Magazine Tourist Trains Guidebook!

Pennsylvania Tourist Railroads and Museums

Southcentral Pennsylvania

East Broad Top Railroad — 421 Meadow Street, Rockhill Furnace
The East Broad Top is a time capsule with its yard, buildings and equipment, mostly intact since its original closure in 1956. Walking tours of the shop facilities are offered on days when trains are operating. Of course, no visit to the East Broad Top is complete without a ride on a portion of the original railroad. The restored 2-8-2 steam locomotive No. 16 heading the train is always the icing on the cake!

Everett Railroad — 244 Pullman Drive, Hollidaysburg
Scenic train rides through Pennsylvania farmlands and along the banks of the Juniata River are offered out of Hollidaysburg. A variety of excursions include ice cream trains, holiday rides and adult-themed trips, all of which can take an hour or longer. Steam and diesels pull a growing fleet of vintage open-window passenger cars. However, it’s the railroad’s 1920 Alco-Cooke 2-6-0 No. 11 that provides an authentic experience straight out of the 1940s.

Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark — 2400 Veterans Memorial Highway, Altoona
An iconic landmark in railroad engineering, what else can we say about Horseshoe Curve? While the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line still sees service today from Norfolk Southern, traffic may be sparse throughout the week; more trains seem to traverse the area on Fridays and Saturdays. After doing some sightseeing at the curve, don’t forget to take in more Altoona railroading lore with the nearby Railroading Memorial Museum downtown.

Northern Central Railway — 117 North Front Street, New Freedom
This railroad operates over 10 miles of the previous incarnation that Abraham Lincoln traveled on while en route to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address. His funeral train traversed the line two years later. The 1860s time period is recreated with replica coaches and 4-4-0 steam locomotive No. 17, which was constructed in 2013. Different excursions include destinations to Seitzland, Glen Rock, Hanover Junction, and Seven Valleys. The original Hanover Junction station, completed in 1852 and where Lincoln disembarked for Gettysburg, is a must visit!

Southeast Pennsylvania

New Hope Railroad — 32 West Bridge Street, New Hope
Steam- and diesel-powered excursions are offered along the former branch line of the Reading Company. The star is Baldwin 2-8-0 No. 40, which is scheduled to operate on select dates during the summer, fall and holiday seasons. From 45-minute train rides to longer excursions, with multiple classes to choose from, there’s something for everyone when visiting the New Hope Railroad.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania — 300 Gap Road, Strasburg
As its name implies, this museum is home to about 100 locomotives and rolling stock from the Pennsylvania Railroad and other railroads that served the state. The George M. Hart Rolling Stock Hall is the centerpiece of the campus with its early 20th-century, glass-roofed train shed housing 50 pieces of railroad equipment. Of course, the popular Strasburg Rail Road is just across the road. More on that in a bit!

Reading and Northern Passenger Department — 3501 Pottsville Pike, Reading
Mainline passenger excursions serve the dual purpose of goodwill and promoting freight on the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Steam and diesel locomotives crisscross the regional system carrying thousands of people throughout the year, including the Reading-Jim Thorpe Iron Horse Ramble all-day excursion, which is pulled by T-1 4-8-4 No. 2102. The most popular excursion is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway out of Jim Thorpe which travels into the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Strasburg Rail Road — 301 Gap Road, Ronks
As America’s oldest continuously operating line with an authentic steam-era setting, it’s no wonder Strasburg is proclaimed as the cream of the crop in tourist railroad circles. Historic locomotives haul an impressive fleet of wooden passenger cars along the 9-mile, 45-minute round trip through Amish farmland. Special events take place year-round with extra offerings, including hostling and shop tours, riding the Cranky Cars, and miniature steam train rides pulled by a restored Cagney locomotive.

Southwest Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum — 1 Museum Road, Washington
As the oldest trolley museum in the state, the facility is home to a collection of nearly 50 restored and operational electric equipment. Several are still used today along the 4-mile round trip over the tracks of the original interurban route to Pittsburgh. At the museum’s Richfol Shelter, climb aboard for unlimited trolley rides as part of the admission!

Northeast Pennsylvania

Steamtown National Historic Site — 350 Cliff Street, Scranton
Located at the shop complex of the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, Steamtown is a massive museum full of railroading history and technology. The 90-foot turntable is the centerpiece of a roundhouse housing exhibits and historic locomotives on display. Of course, there’s more to this 66-acre park with outdoor exhibits, shop tours, and train rides behind steam and diesel locomotives.

Other Pennsylvania railroad sites to consider

During your visit to Pennsylvania, consider also visiting these railroad sites:

Learn more about tourist railroads in North America.

You must login to submit a comment