The area features several scenic railroads that feature train rides. Shown below are those with activities during the convention and/or the week before or after.
The Strasburg Railroad is a short line headquartered in Strasburg, PA that was founded in 1832. On February 22, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln made a stop at Leaman Place on his inaugural train ride, en route to Lancaster. His four-minute visit brought nearly 5,000 people out to cheer for the President and Mrs. Lincoln.
First used for passenger and freight transportation, the railroad’s main purpose became a freight interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following World War II, improved highway transportation decreased the need for the railroad. By the mid 1950s, the Strasburg Rail Road was nearing the end of its usefulness. In 1957, destruct-
tion of the tracks caused by a series of storms placed an immediate embargo on the carload freight.
Ultimately it was sold, rehabbed and now serves as a successful tourist railroad, enjoyed by millions each year. Conveniently located across the street you'll find the renown Railroad Museum of PA, so that visitors can avail themselves of both attractions (at a combination discount rate). The sites are about an hour's drive from the convention hotel.
Of note, during the month of October, trains will be hauled by the famous Norfolk & Western #611 steam locomotive, which is pictured in the slide show.
Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
In 1985, the Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad began running passenger trains over a short portion of track in Berks County, as well as occasional all-day excursions to various parts of the state. Over the course of the next 20 years, the Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad acquired more track and expanded its operations, and with the purchase of the Shamokin Division of the former Reading Lines, the railroad became known as the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. In 2005, with the completion of a railroad bridge across the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe, a new passenger train operation and sister company to the Reading & Northern Railroad, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, was born.
Currently, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway operates trains into the Lehigh Gorge State Park from the former Central Railroad of New Jersey station in historic downtown Jim Thorpe, PA on weekends, holidays, and select weekdays May through December. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway also operates several special excursions throughout the year, powered by both steam and diesel engines. These trips include our annual Autumn Leaf Excursions from the Reading & Northern Railroad Corporate Headquarters in Port Clinton, PA to Jim Thorpe and back, as well as a variety of rides in coordination with various organizations and communities along our rail lines.
The railroad depot in Jim Thorpe is an easy hour and 15 minute drive up the turnpike from the convention hotel.
Better known to locals as the New Hope & Ivyland, The New Hope Railroad is nestled 37 miles outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County’s premiere destination; New Hope, Pennsylvania. A Delaware river town chock-full of niche shops and restaurants, a fitting locale for a day or night out with friends & family. We provide a glimpse into travel of a bygone era on historic trains traveling over tracks that were laid in 1891 by the North-East Pennsylvania Railroad.
This is an entertaining and educational adventure perfect for riders of all ages and interests as you journey through the hills and valleys of beautiful Bucks County. Relive the golden age of rail travel and take a front row seat as you take in the
New Hope Railroad
passing scenery of streams, scenic farmland, historic, buildings, bridges and surroundings. On-board narration, provided on most trips, detail the history and folklore of the railroad, the towns, as well as points of interest along the line.
The station in New Hope is about an hour's drive from the convention hotel. Incidentally, the village of New Hope itself is worth a visit.