Railroad Museums

The railway / railroad system connected the United States and opened up the country allowing people to travel and live in places that were previously closed off. Railway / railroad museums are a way to preserve and showcase the history of this amazing industry. These museum / railway institutions can offer visitors a hands-on experience by showing how trains worked as well as exhibits of relics and historic materials. There are a number of famous railway / railroad museums in the United States and many other countries around the world that have built up impressive collections of historical equipment.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum houses an incredible collection of historical locomotives and railroad cars as well as a significant amount of archival materials and photographs. The institution has an extensive exhibition hall which is home to numerous artifacts including tools, tickets, uniforms, station signage, telegraphy and signaling equipment, and works of art. The museum also has a working 8ft by 12ft O gauge model railroad.

In addition to the exhibits there are several opportunities for children to ride on a real train as well as take part in other railroad related activities such as operating a crane and using a drill. The facility is free to the public and there are many educational programs for local school children as well.

On the grounds of this railway museum is an original depot that was moved from a small town in Wisconsin to the site and is maintained as it would have been during its active use. There are also a number of other railroad structures that were moved to the site such as a water tower, crossing shanty, and a section shed.

The railroad museum is a volunteer-based non-profit venue that started out in 1962 with just one piece of historic train equipment and has grown to become an incredible railway institution covering over 80 acres. The museum has eleven storage barns with over three miles of track as well as a Chicago Rapid Transit Company station, streetcar loop, turntable, and multi-purpose building.

Visitors can see a variety of steam and diesel locomotives on display including the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 2925, Denver & Rio Grande Western Coach No. 284, and the Union Pacific Diner No. 4801. The museum has a sizeable collection of passenger cars as well which includes an open gondola fitted with benches and two cabooses. There are also a number of different types of freight cars including the Chicago & North Western 1385 coal and coke and the Northern Pacific Coal and Ice 1.

The museum offers train rides to the public every weekend on the quarter mile Loop Line as well as special event trains such as Autumn Color Weekends during the fall, Pumpkin Special runs near Halloween, and Santa Express weekends in November and February. The railroad museum also has a large gift shop, restaurant and is a frequent host of special event railway shows.