There is something captivating about spending a day riding the rails: the click-clack of wheel against track, the gentle bounce and sway of the cars and the constant stream of scenery whizzing by. And there are plenty of train excursions to choose from in our corner of the Midwest. Below are a few of our favorites.
Take a step back in time: LM & M Railroad
Historic Downtown Lebanon, OH
Operating since 1881, The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad carries passengers along scenic routes in southwestern Ohio. History buffs and train enthusiasts alike will enjoy this 14-mile stretch of track. In the summer months, themed rides like the “Princess Express” and “Meet Daniel Tiger” will delight little ones. The over-21 crowd will get a kick out of “Pizza and Beer” or “Wine and Cheese” excursions. And guests of all ages will enjoy a ride behind a real working steam engine during the “Summer Steam” excursions in August.
Pay homage to train enthusiasts: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
Managed, operated and maintained completely by volunteers, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway pays tribute to train enthusiasts. Regular weekend excursions take riders on a scenic round-trip ride along the historic Hocking River Valley. Those looking for a bit more intrigue can opt for a ride on “Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery” or the one-day-only “All Caboose Train.”
Spend a Day Out with Thomas: Whitewater Valley Railroad
This 19-mile scenic railroad dates back to 1867 and offers regularly scheduled excursions throughout the year. June 22-23 and 28-30, young train enthusiasts can take a ride with Thomas and meet Sir Topham Hat during a “Day Out with Thomas.” Enjoy a bit of intrigue on the “Wild West Train” or take a relaxing ride through the Whitewater Valley with special guest Abraham Lincoln aboard “The Statesman.” (featured image)
Ride in style: Nickel Plate Railroad
Ride in style aboard groundbreaking Santa Fe Hi-level cars from the 1950s featuring two levels that resemble a double-decker bus. All seating is on the upper level, offering stunning views. Excursion themes range from Princesses and Superheroes to Trivia rides, offering a little something for everyone.
Enjoy a picture-perfect getaway: French Lick Scenic Railway
French Lick, Indiana
Sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Hoosier National Forest aboard the French Lick Scenic Railway. In addition to standard excursions, the railway offers themed rides throughout the summer like the “Wild West Hold-Up” and “Dinosaur Adventure Train.”
Get a taste of luxury: Spirit of Jasper
Return to the Golden Age of rail travel on beautifully restored trains. Take an excursion to French Lick or enjoy dinner and drinks during a “Ride and Dine” excursion. Better yet, leave the little ones with a sitter and enjoy date night with a “Chocolate, Wine and Dine” option for guests 21 and over. Be sure to check out the Parlour Car, which features a modern take on a classic train with leather couches and a flat screen television.
Get in on the action: Kentucky Railway Museum
New Haven, Kentucky
The Kentucky Railway Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the history of rail travel with their collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia housed in a replica of the original New Haven Depot. They also offer regularly scheduled train excursions, but are best known for their interactive “Train Robbery” excursion. Kids will learn about the history of the area, enjoy the story of a great train robbery and learn about how trains work. Kentucky Railway Museum also offers “Day Out with Thomas” excursions one weekend only: June 7-9, 2019.