Exploring Pennsylvania’s Railroad History at the Railroad Museum of PA

Welcome to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania! If you are interested in trains, railroads, or the history of transportation in America, you have come to the right place. The museum is located in Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and offers visitors a chance to explore over 100,000 historical artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Pennsylvania’s rich railroad history. Whether you’re a railroad buff or a curious visitor, the Railroad Museum of PA is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to learn about the fascinating and often overlooked history of railroads in America.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

History of the Museum

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is located in Strasburg, Lancaster County, and was established in 1975. The primary objective of the museum is to preserve and educate the public on the history and importance of railroading in Pennsylvania and the United States.

The idea for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania was proposed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. With the help of the state and federal funds, the museum was built at a cost of $8 million. The museum was created to showcase the history, impact, and technology of the railroad industry in Pennsylvania and beyond.

The museum has more than 100 full-size locomotives and railcars on display, along with a vast collection of model trains and artifacts. The museum spans over 18 acres and has several indoor and outdoor exhibit areas.


The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania boasts a vast collection of historic locomotives, railcars, and artifacts that span over 200 years of railroading history in Pennsylvania and the United States. The museum exhibits include:

– The Baldwin Locomotive Works Collection, which showcases 7 historic locomotives manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. The collection includes the PRR GG1 electric locomotive, which was used for both freight and passenger trains.
– The Rolling Stock Collection, which includes 55 passenger cars and 20 freight cars. One of the most notable cars on display is the observation car of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was used by the railroad’s executives to inspect the operations and customer service.
– The Model Train Collection, which includes more than 5,000 model trains that represent the different periods of railroading in the United States. The collection includes a replica of the Pennsy K4 steam locomotive, which is considered one of the most iconic in the history of Pennsylvania’s railroading.

In addition to the exhibits mentioned above, the museum also has a research library that holds over 6,000 books and 500,000 technical drawings and photographs related to railroading. The library is open to the public but is only available by appointment.

Events and Programs

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including train rides, lectures, workshops, and special exhibits.

One of the most popular events is the “Caboose Excursion.” Visitors get to ride in a caboose that is pulled by a historic locomotive and ride along the rails in Lancaster County’s picturesque countryside. The museum also offers a “Railroad Experience” program where visitors can operate a locomotive, operate a handcar, and experience a typical workday of a railroader.

The museum also collaborates with communities, schools, and other institutions to organize exhibitions and educational events. The museum offers hands-on activities that teach visitors about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles. The museum’s programs and events cater to all age groups and audiences, from school children to adults.

In conclusion, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is an excellent destination for anyone interested in learning about the history, impact, and technology of railroading in Pennsylvania and the United States. The museum’s vast collection of historic locomotives, railcars, and artifacts, along with its events and programs, offer a unique and fascinating experience that one cannot find anywhere else.

Visiting the Museum

If you have a keen interest in railroading and want to learn more about its history, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a fantastic destination to explore. Visitors of all ages will appreciate the museum’s collections and exhibits that are designed to educate, entertain and inform with a mix of interactive displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations.

Here’s what you need to know when planning your visit to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania:

Hours and Admission

The museum is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:00pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices are reasonable, with adult tickets available for $10, senior tickets for $9, and children’s tickets for $5. If you are a member of the museum or have a AAA card, you may be eligible for a discount.

Getting There

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is situated in the picturesque town of Strasburg, PA, which is located just a few miles east of Lancaster. If you are traveling by car, you can take Route 30 and then turn south onto state Route 741. If you are taking public transportation, there are several ways to get to the museum. You can take a bus or a train to Lancaster and then take a shuttle service to the museum.

The Strasburg Rail Road, a historic steam railroad that offers scenic rides through the countryside, is another popular attraction in the area and is located just across the road from the museum.

What to Expect

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is home to an impressive collection of locomotives, rail cars, and railroad-related artifacts. Visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in the history of railroading in Pennsylvania and the United States.

The museum’s exhibits are spread across three floors of the building, with the main exhibition hall housing some of the most significant objects. Visitors can learn about the mechanics of steam engines and how they worked, see how railroads changed American life, and explore life-size replicas of historic trains and railway stations. There are also interactive displays and multimedia presentations that bring the past to life.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also features a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and other railroad-related items. The café on site is a great place to take a break and grab a snack or a cup of coffee.

The museum is handicap accessible and provides special tours for groups with specific needs. Audio tours are available for an additional fee, and guided tours can be scheduled in advance.

Overall, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is an excellent destination for those interested in the history of railroading. With its extensive collection of artifacts, interactive displays, and knowledgeable staff, it offers an educational and enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.

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