Did you know that Strasburg is home to one of the world’s largest and heaviest collections of historical artifacts? The Strasburg Rail Road and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania work daily to preserve these monuments of human innovation for your enjoyment.
The Strasburg Rail Road’s beautifully restored steam locomotives and Victorian railcars certainly offer a unique way to roll through the southeastern countryside. While it’s one of the county’s most popular tourist attractions, the Strasburg Rail Road is also beloved by locals and is a great destination whether you’re a history buff, a family on an outing or a hopeless romantic in search of a unique way to spend Valentine’s Day.
Claiming the title of America’s oldest short line railroad still in operation, the Strasburg Rail Road was founded in 1832. However, the date when the wheels actually began rolling is still undetermined. The line was primarily used to haul both passengers and freight to Lehman Place, which claims a place in history: On February 22, 1861, President and Mrs. Lincoln made a stop at Lehman Place while en route to Lancaster during his inaugural train ride.
Over time, improvements to the interstate highway system weakened the demand for the railroad. While the line is occasionally used to haul freight, today the primary focus is on preserving history for future generations, as well as providing a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Lancaster County’s farmland.
directly across the road from the Strasburg Rail Road, you’ll find the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Railroading, which is often associated with America’s westward expansion, has a long and deep history in Pennsylvania. Therefore, it’s only fitting that one of the world’s most significant collections of railroading artifacts can be found right in our own backyard.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1975, continues to grow and make improvements. Museum officials recognize the history of railroading is still being written; therefore, they are moving forward with that in mind. Currently, the museum is home to more than 100 locomotives and railcars from the 19th and 20th centuries, many of which have been restored to their near-original appearance. There is so much to see and experience as you get an up-close look at these engineering marvels of their time.
The Strasburg Rail Road will be in limited operation over Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend (February 13-15). For those of you who like to plan ahead, the Easter Bunny Train will roll March 25-27, while the wildly popular Day Out With Thomas returns June 18-26.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania maintains daily hours of operation throughout the winter. The museum will be unveiling a new event – Rails & Ales – on April 16. The benefit will feature breweries, food trucks and live music. Check the respective websites for details. If you’d like to spend the whole day railroading, combo packages for both locations are available.
Information: Strasburg Rail Road. 301 Gap Rd., Ronks. 687-7522 or strasburgrailroad.com. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 Gap Rd., Ronks. 687-8628 or rrmuseumpa.org.