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Top railroad museums in the country


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#1 Chessie

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 09:06 PM

What in your opinion are some of the top railway museums in the country?

California State?
Illinois?
Colorado?

Any other particular ones you would recommend?

Edited by Chessie, 12 June 2017 - 09:23 PM.


#2 Seaboard92

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 10:34 PM

Illinois definitely has to be in the top ten.

B&O is also in the top ten in Baltimore. Even though they need to decide if they are trains or civil war. And decide.

Tennessee Valley deserves to be on the list they have two operating mainline steam engines.

California should be there too.

Underrated is North Carolina transportation museum.

Overrated is Virginia Museum of Transportation.

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#3 JohannFarley

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 10:41 PM

I personally love the Strasburg Railroad and Railroad Museum of PA in Strasburg, PA. The museum has many engines and rolling stock from the many railroads of PA, and the Strasburg Railroad has a short steam excursion which takes you from Strasburg station out to their connection with the keystone corridor.

Much railroad history, also near to many Pennsylvania Dutch history in the heart of Lancaster County.

Edited by JohannFarley, 12 June 2017 - 10:42 PM.

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#4 Bob Dylan

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 11:04 PM

I agree that the Strasburg in PA is great as is the Cali State in Sacramento!

Underrated ones in Texas are the Texas State Railroad in Palestine/Rusk and the Santa Fe Rail Museum in Temple.

Another good one is at Union Station in Kansas City!😎
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#5 dogbert617

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 11:28 PM

There's a smallish train museum that's worth a quick look(with some past railroad memorabilia), in case you're ever in Kankakee. It's within the Amtrak station house in Kankakee, IL, and is open during daytime hours. They do have a few old railroad cars you can walk inside of as well parked just outside of that station house, if you ask those who are working that you want to take a look at those. The model railroad display they have in that museum is cool to look at, as well. There's also a really good model railroad display in the lower level of the Clarendon Park Field House in Chicago, that's worth a look in case you're near there. Nothing beyond the model railroad display at the latter, but it's cool to take a look at whenever it's open.

 

I really want to badly revisit the Illinois Railway Museum, one of these days. It's too bad you have to drive or bike there from Crystal Lake(or Woodstock) on Metra(and back of course, though I wouldn't mind biking the distance between CL or Woodstock to Union and back), to get over there. I'd been meaning to buy a new bike, but just hadn't done so yet. And also don't own a car. I'm sure I'll get there again, one of these days.


Edited by dogbert617, 12 June 2017 - 11:32 PM.


#6 Skyline

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 11:43 PM

Not a railroad museum per se, but a museum about iconic B&W railroad photography from the glory days is the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, VA. It's in a nicely restored station. Definitely worth your time if you find yourself within a couple hours of Roanoke. Recently merged with a more general Roanoke history museum.

 

http://roanokehistory.org/?page_id=907



#7 VentureForth

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:16 AM

My favorite was the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Salisbury, NC, located at the former steam backshops of the Southern Railroad.

It was better when it was free.

Savannah's Roundhouse museum is OK, but nothing fancy. Way overpriced for its offerings.

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#8 jis

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 10:58 AM

Steamtown in Scranton PA (covered by National Park Passes, since it is run by the National Park Service). Nice excursions, sometimes Steam hauled, sometimes all the way past Pocono Summit down the Slateford on the Delaware and back. If you have a car, a short drive to the spectacular Tunckhannock Viaduct. Also close to a Coal Mine Museum, with a trip down into a mine.

 

B&O Museum in Baltimore MD.



#9 buck1108

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:11 AM

Agree with the Spencer shops (NC Transportation Museum).  The hands on signals are cool too.  I loved the old Savannah shops, with the self guided tour through the existing parts of the roundhouse.

 

The Panhandle Railroad Museum in Wellington, KS has a great privately owned collection inside, with a great steam locomotive outside.

 

Then the line blurs between actual museums (maybe with restored rolling stock) and preserved stations as museums...

Denison, TX has the Katy museum.  The museum space itself is smallish, but the large station building has been preserved.  Some nice Katy rolling stock.  Knowledgeable staff.

 

Hugo, OK has a large, fully intact, 2 story Frisco Depot (with Harvey House restaurant) on the old Frisco line.  I had no idea it was there, and the interior was still pretty authentic, the last time I was there.  They have some rolling stock.  Knowledgeable staff.

 

The Central Delta Depot Museum in Brinkley, AR, is a smaller depot, but with lots of area train and general history.  The staff is quite knowledgeable.  Interesting history of the passenger service that formerly ran between Little Rock and Memphis.  A nice model train layout inside.  (right off of I-40, about halfway between Little Rock, AR, and Memphis, TN). 

 

The New Braunfels, TX Railroad Museum has a well-maintained depot-building, with some rolling stock.  Also a nice model train layout inside.


Edited by buck1108, 13 June 2017 - 11:44 AM.


#10 Eric S

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:41 AM

The Great Plains Railroad Museum in Wellington, KS has a great privately owned collection inside, with a great steam locomotive outside.

 

 

I'm familiar with the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, located near Wichita Union Station. Is there another similarly-named facility in Wellington as well?



#11 buck1108

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:44 AM

 

The Great Plains Railroad Museum in Wellington, KS has a great privately owned collection inside, with a great steam locomotive outside.

 

 

I'm familiar with the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, located near Wichita Union Station. Is there another similarly-named facility in Wellington as well?

 

Thanks for spotting that!  My mistake...I corrected it to be "Panhandle Railroad Museum" (although it's nowhere near the panhandle regions...hmmm) :)


Edited by buck1108, 13 June 2017 - 11:45 AM.


#12 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:08 PM

Has anybody been to the museum in Monticello, Illinois? I was wondering how their excursions are. 


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#13 zephyr17

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:09 PM

The Nevada Northern is unparalleled.  A short line whose shops and equipment were left intact from operating days and turned directly over to a museum.  It is very out of the way in Ely, NV.


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#14 Eric S

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:11 PM

 

 

The Great Plains Railroad Museum in Wellington, KS has a great privately owned collection inside, with a great steam locomotive outside.

 

 

I'm familiar with the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, located near Wichita Union Station. Is there another similarly-named facility in Wellington as well?

 

Thanks for spotting that!  My mistake...I corrected it to be "Panhandle Railroad Museum" (although it's nowhere near the panhandle regions...hmmm) :)

 

Hmm, interesting, never heard of that one. I've visited the museum in Wichita years ago and as I recall there is a Santa Fe steam locomotive outside there (as well as some other equipment).



#15 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

I personally love the Strasburg Railroad and Railroad Museum of PA in Strasburg, PA. The museum has many engines and rolling stock from the many railroads of PA, and the Strasburg Railroad has a short steam excursion which takes you from Strasburg station out to their connection with the keystone corridor.

Much railroad history, also near to many Pennsylvania Dutch history in the heart of Lancaster County.

thats good news, I'll be going there with RailCamp. Anything I should look for in particular, they said we would do something with 475 and the GG-1

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#16 Chessie

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for all the great recommendations! My vacation destinations are set for years to come. Think I will start with the Pa and Baltimore museums and work my way west. (Now I know I am not the only one on AU who plans vacations around am snag prices and Amtrak serviced destinations. :giggle:)

#17 railiner

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:19 PM

Lots of great museum's have  been mentioned....another nice museum in Pennsylvania is the Railroader's Memorial Museum over in Altoona. Out in Kirkwood, Mo., there's the Museum of Transportation, which covers all modes, but has a nice railroad collection. And mention should also include the National RR Museum in Green Bay, Wi.  Another nice one is the Gold Coast RR Museum down in Miami, Fl......

There are many, many, more...some feature operating excursion trains, other's just static displays....

 

And some general history museums like the Smithsonian, and the Henry Ford have interesting rail colletions...can't forget Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, home to the Pioneer Zephyr.....


Edited by railiner, 13 June 2017 - 07:21 PM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#18 PerRock

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:46 AM

It's not a railway specific museum, but does have some rail stuff. The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village is well worth the visit. They're also one of the few museums that has direct service by Amtrak. I would plan at least two days if you want to see both the museum and the village.

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#19 Pere Flyer

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 11:45 AM

Has anyone visited the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga.? I'm spending about a month in Atlanta this summer and considering checking it out.


Edited by Pere Flyer, 14 June 2017 - 11:46 AM.

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#20 dogbert617

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:31 AM

My favorite was the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Salisbury, NC, located at the former steam backshops of the Southern Railroad.

It was better when it was free.

Savannah's Roundhouse museum is OK, but nothing fancy. Way overpriced for its offerings.

Wow, one of my family relatives lives there! I never would've guessed in a million years(since I hadn't specifically traveled to that town to visit them myself), that Salisbury was home to a railroad museum! I will have to look up info on that museum, sometime. Maybe someday I'll visit that museum? Have to say for whatever odd reason I haven't heard a lot about that museum, but now I'm intrigued about wanting to visit there someday! Maybe that'll give me the extra incentive I need, to go out there and visit those relatives? :)

 

BTW, has anyone ever gone to the railroad museum in East Troy, WI(southwest of Milwaukee)? I've always heard a lot about that railroad museum, but had never visited that one. How does it compare, vs. the Illinois Railway Museum? It their railcar collection smaller vs. the IL museum? That wouldn't bother me, if they were smaller vs. the IL museum. I just would like to finally get there, one of these days. Reviews seem decent, from when I skimmed over their Google and Yelp reviews.


Edited by dogbert617, 15 June 2017 - 07:33 AM.





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