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Strasburg Railroad History
The Strasburg Railroad dates back to 1832 when it was chartered as a line for hauling freight and passengers from Lancaster County to Philadelphia’s main line. For over 100 years it served that purpose, and is now considered to be America’s oldest short line railroad. Then in the 1950s, the Strasburg line was turned into a tourist attraction – inviting the public to come ride the rails in its refurbished passenger cars.
Editor note: This post originally appeared on the blog in the early 2010’s after a trip to Strasburg Railroad with our young daughter. I’m back many years later, cleaning up the post a bit with current links and info. This attraction is a great pick for a fun thing to do around Lancaster with kids!
Visiting Strasburg Railroad with Kids
As part of our trip to Lancaster County last week, we had the chance to check out some of Strasburg’s biggest bragging points. Strasburg is a small town tucked right inside the heart of Amish Country. As we drove to the railroad we passed farm after farm, and yes- saw quite a few horses and buggies trotting along the road.
We arrived at the Strasburg Railroad Station and took in the sights and sounds. Train whistles, coal burning, shops, train themed kiddie rides, a cafe… lots to explore while awaiting our train’s departure.
We boarded our train and enjoyed a 45 minute ride through Amish farmland. Corn fields and other crops as far as the eye could see. Barns, silos, tiny farmhouses all dotted the rich, green landscape.
You probably know by now that I am a total sucker for history. I found it fascinating to imagine what it must have been like to ride on the Strasburg Railroad “back in the day.” Back when the only other form of transportation in that area was by stagecoach or on horseback. Train rides were considered a “luxury” in most cases and your average every day Joe would not have had the opportunity to take such a journey.
Lily Bean LOVED looking out the windows- this was actually her very first train ride!
We enjoyed our ride and before we knew it, were pulling back into the station. We ate some tasty lunches from the cafe and then had some time to wander around. After exploring the shops, Lily Bean and Biker Bob took a ride on this tiny Cagney steam train- how cute is that?
The Strasburg Railroad offers several options for riders: first-class, coach/open air or the dining car.
In addition to the traditional railroad trip, Strasburg Railroad has various themed events that run throughout the year (ticket prices vary by event- you can find more info here).
Themed Train Rides Offered at Strasburg Railroad
These rides are offered most years at Strasburg. Check their website for the latest dates, prices and ticket information.
- Day Out with Thomas the Tank
- Santa’s Paradise Express Holiday Train Ride
- Dinner on the Rails
- Wine & Cheese Train Rides
- Murder Mystery Train Experience
Family Friendly Trip
Our coach/open air standard train ride was definitely appropriate for any age bracket- young and old. Let’s face it- there’s just something fun and exciting about trains!
Want to check out the Strasburg Railroad with your fam? Tickets start at $16 for kids, $24 for adults.
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