8 Amazing Train Museums Across The U.S. Everyone Must Visit
Railroads have been an integral part of our country’s history, connecting east to west, shipping supply to demand, and connecting farm to hungry city table. It’s a rich history tied to – and driving – major events, and it’s a history worth seeing, smelling and feeling up close. The following museums let visitors hear the steam-whistle blow, smell the grease on the axels and step back in time.
1. Nevada Northern Railway Museum, Ely, Nev.
Courtesy photo, Nevada Northern Railway Museum
The Nevada Northern Railway is one of America’s great preserved historic railroads. With unique opportunities from stargazing train rides to train robbery reenactments to weeklong adult summer camps, this remote western location is well worth the trip. More info
2. California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, Calif.
Twenty-one meticulously restored locomotives and cars, along with numerous exhibits explore how railroads shaped the west, people’s lives and the economy. Highlights include a Pullman-style sleeping car, a dining car filled with railroad china and a railway post office. More info
3. Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, Colo.
Another rough-and-tumble, how the west was won style Railroad museum, the Colorado Railroad Museum has 15 acres to explore with over 100 narrow and standard gauge steam engines, cars and cabooses. Other highlights include a roundhouse with working turntable. More info
4. B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, Md.
Known as the "Birthplace of American Railroading," the B&O has the oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world. The museum sits on the site of the B&O Railroad, built in 1829, which laid the first commercial long-distance track and the first passenger station. More info
5. Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum, Elbe, Wash.
A look back at the importance of railroads in logging and timber, the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum offers two-hour train rides and the most comprehensive collection of steam logging locomotives in the world. More info
6. Illinois Railway Museum, Union, Ill.
The country’s biggest railroad museum, the Illinois Railway Museum was originally formed to preserve one important piece of rolling stock. Unique rolling stock includes the Electroliner, the Nebraska Zephyr, the only remaining Chicago streamlined PCC streetcars and the first GP7 diesel engine. More info
7. Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, Bryson City, N.C.
Set on an historic depot that offers dining on first class dining cars, an open-air gondola and a dinosaur train, which is based on the popular PBS Dinosaur Train kid’s show by Jim Henson, perfect for young visitors. More info
8. Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, Lenox, Mass.
The historic Lenox Station was built in 1903, the rail yard features an early 20th century passenger car and a vintage diesel electric locomotive. Fall foliage train rides are a must-do. More info
Have you ever visited any of these train museums? Which one was your favorite?
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.