The Strasburg Rail Road is a real, operating steam railroad. The primary difference between this railroad and modern day trains is that Strasburg Rail Road trains are pulled by larger-than-life steam locomotives, and passengers ride in authentically restored, turn-of-the-century wooden rail cars.
All joking aside, this funny question does come up! Consistent with most rail travel, trains operate on a fixed timetable, so the 2pm train really does leave the station at 2pm! Ticketed passengers board the train about 10 minutes prior, and tickets are collected on-board.
All regular train rides are 45-minutes round-trip. This includes special ticket types such as Wine & Cheese and themed Dinner Trains.
Day Out with Thomas™ train rides are 20-minutes round-trip. Rides behind Percy are approximately 12 minutes round-trip.
As America’s oldest short line, Strasburg Rail Road trains have traveled the same 4.5 mile track since 1832. Throughout its history, the locomotive has traveled in reverse for the first part of the trip, uncoupled at the end of the line, and recoupled on the opposite end of the train for the return trip. Why? The railroad played an important role in the transportation network in Central Pennsylvania, and expediency was valued. With no need (or real estate space) for a turntable, and no compelling rationale for re-orienting the locomotive, this process was a viable solution that continues today!
Today’s railroad network began as a system of smaller railroads, serving specific purposes within various communities and industrial centers. As industrial America developed, so did the hub-and-spoke railroad system, with longer routes providing vital connections from coast to coast. Despite the advent of these longer railroad companies, today’s short lines continue to play an important economic role within the communities they serve, providing what’s known as the “first mile/last mile” connection where commodities are shipped and/or received. While short lines may vary widely in length, they represent the small businesses of railroading.
The Strasburg Rail Road exists today as the nation’s oldest continuously operating short line, connecting the community of Strasburg across a short 4-1/2 mile single stretch of track which terminates at the main line operated today by Amtrak.
The train boards a half-hour before departure and lasts 45-minutes from departure time for the round-trip ride. Therefore, please plan a minimum of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Two high chairs are available on a first come first served basis for Dining Car passengers. A high chair may be used in place of a regular dining chair, but high chairs may not block the aisle-way.
Free parking is available on-site in close walking distance to the station. Drop offs are also permitted near station entrances.
First-Class cars – President’s Car, Parlor, Lounge, and Dining – have restrooms aboard. Select Coach cars do have restrooms, and at least one of these cars is always on the daily train. Open Air cars do not have restrooms. We recommend arriving early, using the public restrooms so as not to miss any of your ride.
Due to the historic nature of our coaches, Strasburg Rail Road’s passenger train does not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards with respect to accessibility. For individuals who use a wheelchair, a mobility device, or have difficulty navigating steps, we do have a mobile lift. Though we cannot guarantee accessibility, we have a variety of accommodation options available, and we will make reasonable effort to provide each and every guest who wishes to ride the opportunity to do so. If you are concerned about whether you or a member in your traveling party will be able to board the train, we recommend contacting our business office to discuss your particular circumstances. Our business office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, holidays excluded. Our business office phone number is 717-687-8421, or you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The on-site shops open one half hour before the first train of the day. Other “Fun Extras,” (activities at the station) operate on a seasonal schedule – see current hours. The kids play area is open year-round*, and the “mall” (length of the station) is always accessible.
*Kids play area is closed during Day Out With Thomas™ due to safety concerns.
Strasburg Rail Road does not permit pets or animals on trains or in customer-occupied areas of the station. Signs have been placed at the pedestrian entrances indicating that only service animals are permitted beyond those points. Service animals are not considered pets and are permitted in all areas where customers are allowed. Service animals are animals trained to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability.