What should I expect?
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.
What time does the 2pm train leave?
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.
How long is the ride?
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.
Why does the train go up and back on the same track?
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!
What is a “short line” railroad?
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.
How much time should I plan for the Dinner Train? (also applies to Murder Mystery Train)
The train boards a half-hour before departure and lasts 45-minutes from departure time for the round-trip ride.
Are high chairs available on the Dining Car?
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.
How far is the walk from the parking area?
Free parking is available on-site in close walking distance to the station. Drop offs are also permitted near station entrances.
Do the cars have restrooms on board?
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.
Is there anything going on before the train leaves?
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.
Are pets allowed?
Strasburg Rail Road does not permit 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.