Everything You Need to Know About the Strasburg Rail Road

April 20, 2016

TrainStroll through historic East Strasburg Station and look at engines and rail cars up close and personal during your visit to the Strasburg Rail Road. This interactive railroad allows an exciting educational experience, including operation of a hand-powered pump car and a ride on one of the operating locomotives. Immerse yourself in the history of the Strasburg Rail Road and learn about the impact that the railroad industry has had on our nation. Choo Choo!

Strasburg Rail Road History

The Strasburg Rail Road has been situated in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country since 1832. It was first incorporated under the presidential candidacy of Andrew Jackson, and over the next 100 years, the Strasburg Rail Road became an integral part of the transportation network across the state. Passenger travel lessened with the invention of the electric trolley in 1901, but the need to transport freight during the World Wars kept the railroad running. In 1958, 24 stockholders purchased the Strasburg Rail Road for $18,000 from the Homsher Estate, though the railroad was inoperable at this point because of the bad condition of the tracks. After some repairs and locomotive purchases, the Strasburg Rail Road celebrated its 150th birthday in 1982. In 2000, Engine 31 recreated its first run and became an educational monument. Then, in 2011, the Strasburg Rail Road received a state historical market from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Its impact on the railroad industry and innovation in heritage tourism still continues today!

Strasburg Rail Road Rides & Tours : All Aboard!

A day pass at the Strasburg Rail Road includes unlimited rides aboard the Coach Car. The Hostling Tour is another highlight, with tickets that need to be purchased in advance. This unique experience includes a first-hand understanding of how the steam locomotives are prepared for the day (hostling the engine). You will be allowed to climb aboard the engine and get a close look at the mechanicals and firebox. Then, you’ll get to see the train leave the station! If you choose to take a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road, you can be served a delicious lunch onboard. If you come at the right time, you might also be able to catch the Murder Mystery Dinner Train or Amish Feast!

Strasburg Rail Road Station

You don’t have to take a ride to enjoy the Strasburg Rail Road and what it has to offer. The station has dining, shopping, touring, and more! Enjoy food at the Trackside Cafe with menu selections such as freshly made burgers, grilled chicken, salads, and hand-dipped ice cream for dessert. There are three stores at the station, including two gift shops and one toy store. Pick out a souvenir to keep as a lasting memory of your visit to the Strasburg Rail Road or find something to bring back to family or friends back home. The kids will love the toy store, which includes books, apparel, and a favorite- wooden railways!

After Taking a Ride, Come Back to Historic Smithton Inn

After a day learning about the history of the Strasburg Rail Road and exploring the station, come back to the Historic Smithton Inn for a good night’s sleep. You’d be surprised how an hour ride aboard a locomotive will wear you out. You will be so excited to see all the passing sights and sounds! After a relaxing sleep at Historic Smithton, wake up to a delicious breakfast that will rejuvenate before another day in Lancaster County. For more to do in the area, download our free vacation guide!