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The Best Train Museums in NY and the Surrounding Area

The Best Train Museums in NY and the Surrounding Area

Here are the must-see train museums and exhibits for train lovers of all ages in the New York area.


Whether you have a train fanatic in the fam or you're all looking to learn something new about a historic form of transportation, take a trip to a train museum in NY! Railroad lovers young and old can ride trains, learn about the railroad, and explore the scenic area aboard a train. Here are the coolest train museums and railroad exhibits on Long Island, in New Jersey, in Brooklyn, in Westchester and Rockland, in Connecticut, and in Pennsylvania. 

Train Museums on Long Island

Open

Railroad Museum of Long Island

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416 Griffing Ave., Riverhead

631-727-7920

Hours: Saturday, 10am-4pm; starting Columbus Day Weekend: Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm

Cost: $12; $6 children ages 5-12, free for children 4 and younger

440 4th St., Greenport

631-477-0439

Hours: May 29 to Columbus Day weekend: Saturday-Sunday, 11am-4pm

Cost: $8; $4 children ages 5-12; free for children 4 and younger

What you need to know: Face masks required.

Visit the Riverhead site for interactive exhibits of historic rail cars and locomotives, guided tours, and a ride on the museum's 1964-1965 New York World Fair's miniature train. Visit the Greenport site to see the passenger station, railroad dock, turntable, and exhibits of railroad artifacts. Visitors are encouraged to visit both sites via the LIRR Greenport Scoot (Memorial Day-Columbus Day).

 

Wantagh Museum

1700 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh

516-826-8767

Hours: Sundays, 2-4pm, from mid-April to mid-November (hours are subject to change because the museum is staffed completely by volunteers)

Cost: By donation

What you need to know: Face masks required.

Built in 1812, the museum resides in three structures: The Station, The “Jamaica” Railroad Car, and the Original Wantagh Post Office. Take a tour of the Jamaica car, which was a parlor car complete with solarium (a room built for the purpose of enjoying sunlight), cooking facilities, and air-conditioning. Visitors can also walk through the post office and view the historical photos on display in the station.

 

Opening Soon

Long Island Live Steamers 

Reopening May 19

Southaven County Park, Gerard/Howie Carpluk Road, Brookhaven

631-345-0499

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Hours: Public run days are typically held the second and last Sundays of the month, May-October, 10:30am-3pm. Check the website to confirm dates.

Cost: Tickets are free, but donations are requested.

The nonprofit railroad operates on 8½ acres of land, and on Public Run Days, families are invited to ride the steam, diesel, and electric trains. Picnic area and snack bar available. Arrive early to watch the trains “steaming up.”

 

Closed

Oyster Bay Railroad Museum

Currently closed

102 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay

516-558-7036

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Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 12-4pm

Cost: By donation

The museum is dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of Long Island’s railroad history. The process of building and funding the museum is currently in progress. Currently, it’s housed in an interim facility that contains selected displays from the museum’s growing collection, exhibits outlining the plan for the museum, and a gift shop with a selection of rail-themed merchandise.

RELATED: These are the Best Kid-Friendly Museums in the New York Area

Train Museums in New Jersey

Open

Northlandz

495 U.S. 202, Flemington

908-782-4022

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Hours: Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 10am-6pm

Cost: $13.75; $12.50 seniors 62 and older; $9.75 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2

What you need to know: Face masks required. 

Home to the world’s largest model railroad, this 16-acre railway features nearly 100 trains that travel over 8 miles of track, which include 40-foot bridges spanning large canyons. Kids can experience much more than simply watching model trains as they hop aboard the 15-minute outdoor train ride, running on a real track pulled by a replica steam engine.

Black River & Western Railroad

80 Stangl Road, Flemington

908-782-6622

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Hours: Summer schedule coming soon.

Cost: Varies by event

What you need to know: Face coverings required for guests older than 2. No public restrooms will be available onboard, so plan accordingly. Trains will be operating at reduced capacity. 

Housed in a restored Central Railroad of New Jersey baggage car, passengers on the railroad's excursion trains can explore the Black River & Western Railroad museum to learn about the history of railroading in the area. Check the website for a schedule of events for National Train Day this year.

 

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation

Allaire State Park, 4265 Atlantic Ave., Wall Township

732-938-5524

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Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 11am-4pm; trains depart every 30 minutes.

Cost: $5 train rides; $1 for children younger than 3

What you need to know: Face masks required.

The museum is a nonprofit, volunteer-operated organization that owns and operates the Pine Creek Railroad. It collects, preserves, displays, and operates historic railroad equipment in order to preserve the history of railroading for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

Closed

Van Saun Park Railroad at the Bergen County Zoo

Train is currently closed

216 Forest Ave., Paramus

201-262-3771

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Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10am-4pm, May through October

Cost: $1.50 per train ride. Zoo admission: $8 ($4 county residents); $5 children ages 3-14 ($2 county residents); free for children younger than 3 and active military

What you need to know: Masks required for all patrons older than 2 

Make a day out of going to the zoo and then taking a leisurely train ride. First built in 1963, the pint-sized train travels through the many different animals and attractions of the zoo while cruising through some railroad crossings and a tunnel.

 

Whippany Railway Museum

Currently closed

1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany

973-887-8177

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Hours: April-October: Sundays, 12-4pm. Excursion train rides: 1-4pm on select Sundays, May-September (see website for complete schedule).

Cost: $1; $0.50 children younger than 12. Excursion train ride: $14-$17; $9-$12 children younger than 12; free for infants in arms.

The Whippanong Valley Railroad, an “O” gauge model railroad, is the centerpiece in the main exhibit area of the museum building. Excursion Train Rides include a collection of restored, vintage cabooses from historic rail lines that once served New Jersey and the metropolitan area. Passengers can climb aboard the caboose of their choice and take a 45-minute ride as railroaders did for more than 100 years. The 10-mile ride travels the route of the Historic Whippanong Trail through Whippany, East Hanover, Livingston, and Roseland in Morris and Essex counties.
 
 

Train Museums in Brooklyn

Closed

New York Transit Museum

Currently closed

Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights

718-694-1600; mta.info/mta/museum

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Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm

Cost: $10; $5 children ages 2-17 and seniors 62 and older; free for children younger than 2; free for senior citizens 62 and older on Wednesdays

Exhibits include: Steel, Stone, & Backbone: Building New York's Subways 1900-1925; Moving the Millions; On the Streets: New York's Trolleys and Buses; and Fare Collection are some long-term gallery exhibitions at the museum. They explore the history of New York subways, trolleys, buses, platforms, and the various fares and collection devices used throughout public transportation's history in NYC. The museum includes more than 50 derailed model trolleys and a resident expert on the subject.

 

Train Museums in Westchester and Rockland Counties

Opening Soon

Rye Playland

Scheduled to open in May

1 Playland Parkway, Rye



914-813-7010

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Hours: May 11-12 is opening weekend, and the park is open 12-8pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Check the website for additional dates and times.

Cost: Park admission: $30; $20 for children shorter than 48 inches; free for children ages 2 and younger. Westchester residents receive a $5 discount.

The Kiddyland section of the amusement park features the handicap-accessible Playland Express train ride. Children shorter than 42 inches, including infants and non-walking children, must ride with an adult.

Closed

Suffern Railroad Museum

Currently closed

Parking Lot A (corner of Orange and Wayne avenues), Suffern

845-357-2600; [email protected]

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Hours: May-October: Saturdays, 9am-1pm, and by appointment

Opened in 1998, the museum is housed in a 1908 Wells Fargo Express Building, restored to showcase Suffern’s rich railroad history forged with the Eerie Railroad. Call to make an appointment.

 

Train Museums Connecticut

Open

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

1 Railroad Ave., Essex

860-767-0103

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Hours: Dates and times vary based on type of excursion and special events.

Cost: For train and riverboat connection: $29; $19 children ages 2-11; free for children younger than 2. Train only: $19; $10 children ages 2-11; free for children younger than 2.

What you need to know: Masks and social distancing required. Please arrive 30 minutes before your departure time.

Choose between the 2½-hour steam train and riverboat excursion or just the 1 hour train excursion, both beginning at the historic 1892 Essex Station. This 12-mile, narrated adventure takes riders into the heart of the Connecticut River Valley through the picturesque New England towns of Deep River and Chester. At Deep River Landing, passengers are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a 1¼-hour cruise through the breathtaking covesm marshes, and inlets of the Connecticut River. The round-trip excursion concludes at Essex Station. 

Extra Fun: On select dates in August and September, ride a train pulled by storybook friend Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy Thomas & Friends-themed entertainment, including storytelling, temporary tattoos, an Imagination Station, and photo ops. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit thomasandfriends.com.

Closed

Danbury Railway Museum

Currently closed

120 White St., Danbury

203-778-8337

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Hours: Currently closed

Cost: $6; free for children younger than 3

Train rides are offered at the Danbury Rail Yard Local hourly on weekends from April through November and during special events ($3-$10). The 20-minute ride tours the Danbury Rail Yard and includes a ride on an operating turntable.

 

Naugatuck Railroad/Railroad Museum of New England

Currently closed

242 E. Main St., Thomaston

860-283-7245

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Hours: Currently closed

Cost: $15; $13 seniors 62 and older and children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3.

Purchase tickets online at rmne.org/schedule.

From the 1881 Thomaston Station, board the railroad’s restored vintage passenger coaches for a scenic train ride through the Naugatuck River Valley. Leave time to tour the displays at the train depot and explore the charming village of Thomaston.

 

Railroad Museums and Train Exhibits in Pennsylvania

Open

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

32 W. Bridge St., New Hope, Bucks County

215-862-2332

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Hours: Hourly Excursions offered Saturday-Sunday, 10am-2pm; see the website for a year-round schedule.

Cost: Varies dependent on trip, visit website to view more.

What you need to know: All e tickets must be purchased online. Face masks required,

capacity reduced. Temperature of guests and staff will be checked prior to entry.

Travel back in time to the Golden Era of steam railroading on hourly excursions as you traverse the rolling hills and valleys of historic Bucks County aboard an authentic steam locomotive or historic diesel locomotive. Train rides are about 45 minutes and include narration about the history of Bucks County and the New Hope train line. (Tip: It’s worth the upgrade fee to ride in the outdoor car!)

Bonus: While you’re in Bucks County, don’t miss a trip to Sesame Place in Langhorne and the Buck’s County Children’s Museum in New Hope.

Strasburg Rail Road

301 Gap Road, Ronks

866-725-9666

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Hours: Hours vary by day and season; open daily, April-June. Visit the website to reserve your ride.

Cost: $19; $12 children ages 2-11; free for children younger than 2

What you need to know: Face masks required. Trains will be cleaned and sanitized between trips, and first class and dining will continue to serve food.

Enjoy a 45-minute train ride on America’s oldest short-line railroad, through the serene amish countryside to Paradise, PA and back. Choose to ride in a first-class, open-air, coach, or dining car (prices range from $2-$20), with an accompanying audio experience that will provide interesting facts and history about that unique railroad.

Fun Extras: On weekends in May and other select dates, purchase a Fun Extras Daily Pass ($5) for unlimited access to the Cranky Cars, hand-propelled cars that date back to the 1930s; Pint-Sized Pufferbelly, miniature steam trains built in the early 1900s; and Pump Cars, vintage cars that you operate along a short track (must be at least 48 inches tall to operate Pump Cars).

On select dates in June and September, ride a train pulled by storybook friend Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy Thomas & Friends-themed entertainment, including storytelling, temporary tattoos, an Imagination Station, and photo ops. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit thomasandfriends.com.

 

Choo Choo Barn

226 Gap Road (Route 741 East), Strasburg

717-687-7911

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Hours: Through Dec. 31: daily, 10am-4pm. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas days. See website for full schedule.

Cost: $8.50; $5 children ages 3-11; $6 active and retired military rate; free for children younger than 3; discounts for groups of 15 or more

What you need to know: Maintain a social distance, and stay with the party you arrived with. Refrain from touching the plexiglass and merchandise you are not purchasing. During peak crowded periods the capacity in the layout will be limited, so expect to wait outside. Will be offering a mask-free visitation period on the second and fourth Monday of the month, from 9-9:45am for special needs guests who are unable to wear a mask.

A short distance from the Strasburg Railroad, Choo Choo Barn’s miniature model train is great for train-lovers of all ages. The 1,700-square-foot model train layout features more than 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains—all at a child’s-eye level.

 

National Toy Train Museum

300 Paradise Lane, Paradise Township

717-687-8976

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Hours: Through December, 10am-5pm; check the website for a full schedule.

Cost: $7.50; $7 seniors 65 and older; $4.50 children ages 4-11; free for children younger than 4. Family discount: $24 (for two adults and three or more children or one adult and four or more children). Group rates available on request.

What you need to know: Face masks required. 

Designed like an old-time train station, the museum features a massive toy train collection with models dating from the 1800s to the present. With LED lighting and seven interactive train layouts, this museum features exhibits perfect for all ages. 

Closed

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Currently closed

300 Gap Road, Ronks

717-687-8628

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Hours: November-March: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm, and Sunday, 12-5pm. April-October: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm, and Sunday, 12-5pm.

Cost: $10; $9 seniors 65 and older; $8 children ages 3-11; free for children 2 and younger

This museum features a collection of more than 100 historic locomotives and vintage railroad cars on exhibit. There’s also a railroad photography exhibit, simulated train operation demonstrations, and a children’s room with train-themed activities for the younger crowd.

Main image courtesy Railroad Museum of Long Island

 


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