The Best Train Routes for Historical Train Buffs
Collected by Ethan Gelber
Trains are both a passion and a way of life for a surprising number of people. Some love the modern speed-record shattering kind. Others can't get enough of the vintage vehicles that were so instrumental in building our modern world. Here's a selection of train experiences for the latter, whether as working rolling stock, parked forever in museums or simply hinted at in stations of notable history and character.
Weirs Beach, Laconia, NH 03249, USA
This railroad was once part of the Boston & Maine Railroad that brought tourists to Lake Winnipesaukee for summer vacation from the 1890's to the 1950's. Today, the railroad offers trips around the lake and comes down from Meredith into Weirs...
100 W Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
The Skunk Train (formally the California Western Railroad) dates to the 1880s and cruises between Fort Bragg and Willits, over trestles, through tunnels, and past some amazingly old Redwoods. It is indeed a "tourist attraction" but also a...
Ferrocarril, La Bienestar, Los Mochis, Sin., Mexico
Ride the last great passenger train in Mexico through one of the deepest and most ecologically diverse canyons in the world. Take the Ferrocarril Chihuahua-Pacifico from Los Mochis to Creel, explore the canyon a bit, then hop back on the train and...
While skipping the museum and going straight to the shop isn't something you hear all too often, it's something a lot of people do in London, including Londoners themselves. Especially at the London Transport Museum. The museum is full of...
1433 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
There are three old streetcar lines that run in New Orleans. We enjoyed a ride down St. Charles, the oldest of the lines. The trains were beautifully worn originals and gave us a glance at the front of many beautiful old homes. There were also a...
Athens, GA 30601, USA
R.E.M. was one of the top musical acts to make it out of the small town of Athens, Georgia, and arguably out of the whole state. The band made the area famous, especially when they chose a specific photo for the back cover of their 1983 album...
Strasburg, PA 17579, USA
Strasburg, PA, is like a vortex of railroad energy. There's a railroad museum, a historic train you can ride, a toy train museum, and this place, the Red Caboose motel, where all the rooms are train cars and the restaurant is in a caboose. When...
17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80403, USA
If you're into trains (or your kids are) this museum is a ferroequinologist's (a person who studies trains) paradise. This museum houses over 100 steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses as well as a G-scale model railroad in its...
1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, NC 28159, USA
Located on the site of what was once Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility, home of most of the buildings standing when the facility was finally closed, including one of the largest remaining still functioning...
1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
In the lower level of the Casa Del Balboa building in Balboa Park is one of the world's largest indoor model railway displays. There are several rooms, where you can see huge displays of trains going through miniature towns and landscapes. Parts...
101 Catalpa Ave, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Originally built in 1873 for the whopping cost of $400, the Itasca Depot served this small town for 103 years. When the new station was completed in 1976, the Historical Society stepped in and saved the mighty 103 year-old depot from being...
1001 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
This Romanesque Revival landmark has become Nashville’s crown jewel. The city’s main train station from 1900 until the 1970s, when railway service was discontinued, the building sat vacant for decades until it was restored to its...
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, USA
Stepping into the enormous main concourse of this landmarked architectural jewel—with its sweeping granite staircases, hulking columns and 38-meter (125-foot) ceilings painted with night-sky constellations—can be a jaw-dropping experience. What’s...
Hatton, Sri Lanka
Train travel in Sri Lanka is like stepping back in time - old locomotives, old tracks, and slow service. But it's the best way to really see the middle of the country. Some stations like this one in Hatton are really busy - and you have to be...
Praça Almeida Garrett, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal
Might be one of the most beautiful train stations in the World, Sao Bento Railway Station was opened to the public in 1916 and is well known for its walls covered with 20,000 splendid azulejo ceramic tiles which describe the History of Portugal....
427 Siming S Rd, Siming Qu, Xiamen Shi, Fujian Sheng, China, 361005
Running for nearly five kilometers along an old right-of-way west of the railway station, the Railroad Culture Park is one of Xiamen's hidden secrets. This linear park is a fantastic example of urban planning and creative reuse, taking a remnant...
Pingbian, Honghe, Yunnan, China
At the turn of the 20th century, French imperialists in Indochina took advantage of the weakness of China's Qing government and built a 855-km narrow gauge railroad from Haiphong to Kunming. Thus, the remote southwestern province of Yunnan was...
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