Scenic Rail Excursions

Your complete guide to finding the perfect Scenic Train Rides and Railroad Museums.

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Find the Perfect Train Rides

Photo courtesy of Michael Biehn

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time and experience the romance and excitement of the golden age of railroading? Travel by train on a tourist railroad or visit a railroad museum is an affordable way to have fun for the whole family.
My name is Terry DeFranco and my love for trains and railroading began back in the 1950's growing up in the Chicago area and watching Soo Line freight trains passing through my hometown and meeting my father at the local Milwaukee Road depot where he arrived every evening after working in the city. 
I created Scenic Rail Excursions as a directory and review site to provide you with up to date and comprehensive pictorial listings of reviews for travel by train, scenic train rides,old time train rides and railroad museums in North America. From this directory you will find information about hundreds of  scenic train rides, vintage train rides and railroad museums all over the U.S. You will also find videos of many the trains in action. You can also find information on railroads that offer train locomotive cab rides and ones that offer  instructions on operating a locomotive. Many scenic train rides and museums offer a variety of different packages, including everything from river rafting, fine dining to themed train rides like the always popular Polar Express and Murder Mystery Dinner Trains.

What You Can Expect

Unlike traveling by plane high above or in a car speeding by down the interstate, scenic railroad travel takes you at a pace that lets the environment unfold around you. Whether it is the clickety-clack sounds of the wheels as they ride along the rails, or maybe the sound of a steam locomotive whistle deep in the forest as you travel beside of a swiftly flowing river, it will be an experience you will never forget. It can be for just a vacation, a romantic get away, a special occasion for that someone special in your life, or even a Polar Express train ride, with all the joy of riding the rails in a snow covered setting. You could be served a relaxing dinner where the scenery outside your widow is ever changing. It can be an scenic train ride to nowhere or a interactive mystery play performed for you as you travel to your destination. There are special runs on some railroads for various holidays, which may include Mothers Day, Valentines Day,Trick or Treat Trains, Polar Express Trains and even Santa Trains for the holidays. Some theme parks have their own railroads to take you around to the different parts of their parks. These are great places for families to bring their children and enjoy a day together. For a real railroading experience, train cab rides are also available on several tourist lines.

 

The Railroad Nation


Traveling on a tourist train is usually done at a very leisurely pace. Sightseeing is one of the main reason passengers choose scenic train rides. Though this is not the only reason to consider when looking for the ideal way to spend some quality family time together, it may also be to enjoy the beauty of the American landscape or just the romantic feeling of reliving a simpler time when travel by train was the American way of life.
 

Early American Railroads

Beginning in the early 1800’s, railroads were the main means of transporting passengers and freight across the vast miles that criss-crossed the American landscape. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 created an incentive for the railroads to cross the continent. After the driving in of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah the connecting of the east railroads with the west was completed. With the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, travel by rail across the entire country was made possible for passengers and commerce. Along with the coming of the railroads, the cities and towns along these routes began to grow and develop. The local cultures that went along with the dependence of the railroads created a world of their own.

 

If you want to tour the western US by train, you can enjoy all the beautiful wonders that nature has to offer. You can take a scenic rail excursion to glacier cover mountains of Washington State, enjoy a train ride to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, or the majestic scenery of the tall redwood forests of California. Scenic tourist railroads provide the easiest and most relaxing way to see this great country.  
Ride the narrow guage train rides crossing the boarders of Colorado and New Mexico.
Head on over to Tennessee and ride to the top of Lookout Mountain or take a 100 mile scenic excursion.
If you're heading south, ride a  Florida  fan favorite like a Murder Mystery Train or an old time steam train excursion.
Scenic train rides in Pennsylvania run on one of the nations oldest operating railroads in Strasburg.
Take a leisurely New England Fall Foliage train ride through
New Hampshire forests or take in the all the beauty the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina have to offer as you relax and enjoy the beauty of a fall day as the leaves show off their brilliant colors. The sights can be spectacular, and you don’t even have to worry about the driving.

Preserving Our History

Even though the steam locomotive has been long ago replaced by the diesel engine for delivering passengers and freight today, they do still exist. California currently has the largest number of operating steam locomotives with 29. With the dedication and hard work of hundreds of volunteers and train enthusiasts from every state, they have dedicated their lives to their passion of tourist railroads by helping maintain the locomotives and rolling stock on their short line scenic railroads. They are there to help preserve the history of the railroads they love. They are there to help you as you travel and to make your trip as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. Some of them may also act as your guide to answer any questions you may have as you roll along.  

 
Whether you are are seasoned railroader or a first timer, a tourist railroad can offer a great chance to relive a little American history and enjoy the spectacular sights this country has to offer. When planning your next trip or vacation, you can turn to ScenicRailExcursions.com for the latest in tourist railroading and scenic train rides.

So, before your train leaves the station, just pick the state or region you would like to visit, and climb aboard. And, don’t forget to visit those gift shops that help support the tourist railroads and museums.

Didn't find the railroad or train ride you were looking for? Check back again as I will be updating old ones and adding new listings as I find them. Be sure to make ScenicRailExcursions.com your first choice for the latest in American scenic rail travel when looking for the perfect train ride for you and your family.

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