Why do trains and railroads bring out adventure feelings in people? What is it about them?
I’m yet to figure that out. However, I do see an underlining pattern when it comes to my searches for our upcoming trips.
How Strasburg Rail Road Became a Must-Visit Attraction for My Family
Here’s how the process to where and how I prepare our family for upcoming trips:
- I choose the location
- I filter out all the top and funnest attractions to do in each area (usually around 6 – 10 for both adults and kids)
- I sit down with the kids and the choosing begins
- The kids win the majority votes for attractions they want to do and my husband and I get one or two that they either don’t understand or are more fun for adults.
- Top choices for kid attractions are always trains and amusement parks and animal parks (or something to do with animals), everything else is secondary once they see these on the list.
- After the deciding and the things to do are in place and secured I get to use these as negotiating tools for them to do their homework and chores until our trip arrives
- I make sure to plan the activities I want to do first so that I can always say “Let’s do this first and then we get to do yours (whatever they chose to do)
That’s why Strasburg Rail Road was held off after the Amish Village and Bus road trip. Even though they loved the Amish tour, they had no idea what it was when I first brought it up and if it was boring for them, I had the ammunition that we are doing a train ride right afterwards.
Quick Fun Tidbits – What to do at the Strasburg Rail Road Attraction
This is the oldest steam train still running in the world.
You can travel in style in the first class car or go with the open or economy car.
We chose the first class parlor only because it was the height of the summer and can get really hot. Since I was traveling with my dad (the grandpa) air conditioning and comfort was crucial. But the open car is probably more fun for kids since they get to hang out of the car and feel the breeze on their face.
You can eat and drink on the train and there are plenty of different options.
My favorite part was the landscapes to see of Lancaster County.
The ride was only 45 minutes long just enough time for the kids to enjoy and before they got bored.
Can I fall in love with the conductors?
There is so much more than just the train ride at Strasburg.
Our favorite (other than the real train) was the miniature train ride which was also run on coal.
Cute little rides
The shopping area which looked like a miniature old-fashioned city.
History of the Strasburg Rail Road
June 9, 1832 the Strasburg Rail Road was incorporated by a special Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature.
Over the next hundred years, the Strasburg Rail Road would become an important part of the transportation network in Central Pennsylvania.
Passenger travel wasn’t so popular with the arrival of the electric trolley in 1901 but the need to transport freight during World War I and World War II kept the railroad going.
By 1957 the freight revenues were so low, mounting operating costs so high and a series of damaging storms led owners to petition the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for abandonment.
Local industrialist and railroad enthusiast Henry K. Long along with Donald E. L. Hallock organized a group of individuals to purchase the property and restore it.
Twenty-four stockholders (named vice presidents) purchased the Strasburg Rail Road for $18,000 from the Homsher Estate in November 1, 1958, but the railroad was inoperable.
The first passenger train in forty years departed from the Strasburg station in January 4, 1959.
1960 the Strasburg Rail Road’s first steam locomotive was bought. The same year, an 1882 Victorian train station was purchased in East Petersburg, PA and moved in sections to Strasburg.
September 1, 1960 number 31 takes its inaugural roundtrip run on the Strasburg Rail Road, returning steam locomotion to America’s oldest shortline railroad.
1962 – 5 more steam locomotives are purchased, including a rare camelback engine (Number 4) that burns anthracite coal.
The Strasburg Rail Road celebrated its 175th birthday in 2007.
2011 the Strasburg Rail Road received a state historical marker.
Time for Lunch – Hershey Farm Restaurant – Local Food of Lancaster County
Everyone’s gotta eat, right? So when traveling I go above and beyond to find the best options to experience the local cuisine as possible.
Hershey Farm Restaurant came on my radar several times when searching for the best places to eat while visiting Lancaster County, PA.
We were soooo lucky, we arrived at 12:30 pm and had no problem getting in and being seated for the homestyle buffet lunch.
However, at literally 1 pm, the place was so full, there was a wait for 45 minutes just to get in. Imagine that wait with kids.
NOTE: find out when is the best time to come without the wait, or ask for a reservation.
The traditional food of this area is inspired by the Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch, which are really big on hearty foods (my fav).
They love their mashed potatoes and fried chicken. I couldn’t get enough of the Honey Fried Chicken. Way too good!
And, can I just ask, why is Bacon Dressing only found here? This is the most heavenly dressing I have ever tasted in my life. Plus, this was the only restaurant out of all the places we visited that offered this delicious concoction.
I could’ve stuffed my face all day here, but my kids didn’t want to hear about any bacon dressings or fried chicken thanks to the amazing ice cream station. Even I made a couple of trips here – and I’m not at all an ice cream fan.
And the dessert section. I wish these were put in another room so that they are only discovered after they enjoyed the really tasty stuff. But since we are on vacation, I let them go nuts.
Shoofy Pie – have you heard of this? This is one of the most traditional pies in the area and it is so delicious. Basically, it’s pie with a molasses and raisin filling. And when you add the whip cream and ice cream to the mix, you are in for a whole lot of trouble.
And why is it called Hershey Farm Restaurant? Cause they have a cute little farm with animals for the kids to enjoy touching and feeding.
Information for Strasburg Railroad
Address: 301 Gap Road, Ronks, PA 17572
Train Times: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm
Tours and Prices:
The President’s Car – All Ages: $25.00 – Find out when it is open, this isn’t always available
First-Class Parlor – All Ages: $20.00
First-Class Lounge Car – All Ages: $20.00
Coach – Adult (12+): $14; Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): FREE
Open Air Car – Adult (12+): $16; Child (3-11): $10; Toddler (0-2): $2
Dining Car – Daily Lunch Train or a variety of Dinner Train options offered daily.
L.O. & S. Self-Propelled Motor Car – Adult (12+): $14, Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): Free
Hostling Tour – Children under 10 not allowed
Ages 10+: $30.00
(Advanced ticket purchase is required and available by phone Monday to Friday during normal business hours.)
Unlimited rides aboard Coach Car
Unlimited rides on the Fun Extras (when operating)
Upgrades to higher-fare cars may be purchased at the Station
Adult (12+): $18.00
Child (3-11): $12.50
Toddler (0-2): Free
Shop Tour – Children under 5 not allowed
Get a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the railroad’s mechanical shop, where trains are built and refurbished
Ages 5+: $18.00
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Combo Pass
Adult (12+): $21.00
Child (3-11): $13.00
Toddler (0-2): Free
Rail Baron Pass
One ride aboard First-Class Car
Unlimited rides aboard the Coach, Dining & Open Cars
Ticket holder must acquire a specific timed ticket at the station for First-Class, Dining and Open Cars. Food extra on Dining Car
Admission to Shop Tour*
Unlimited rides aboard Pint-Sized Pufferbelly, Pump Car and Cranky Car (when in operation)
Admission to Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Ages 5+: $50.00
Information for Hershey Farm Restaurant
Address: 240 Hartman Bridge Rd. Strasburg, PA
Phone: (717) 687 8635
Hours: Mondays closed, hours change per season
Prices: $10 – $30 (for buffet style) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Strasburg Railroad and Hershey Farm Restaurant Review