Often, it takes a visit from out-of-town guests to get us to a place we have been meaning to visit ourselves. And so it was this Sunday, when my son was visiting from Tokyo.
It was a nice, sunny day, and Doug is a big train buff, so off we drove one hour away to Strasburg in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was pleasant to see the peaceful countryside with views across the valley filled with red barns and tall silver silos, with frequent slow-downs to pass the Amish families with their horses and buggies going to and from their Sunday services.
Then we heard the train whistle hooting and saw the black smoke from a steam engine on the Strasburg Railroad, and we knew we had arrived at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This world-class collection of 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars includes everything from classic woodburners and mammoth steam locomotives to sleek, electric-powered and diesel engines. (photo: Olomana was used in sugar cane fields in Hawaii) I was surprised to learn that some of these pieces are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Not only is there a giant indoor exhibit hall, (photo: loading ice into a refrigerated car) but outside is a yard with a train turntable and surrounding area containing cars that have yet to be restored. I even found a piece of my past when Doug pointed out to me a "Tower View" club car from the Pennsylvania RR which may have been the very one I took from Chicago to NYC as the "Broadway Limited." (How did he know this unmarked car was from this route? Rail fans keep track of this stuff).
We did not take the steam train, but families with small children will enjoy the trains across the road at the Strasburg Railroad, where we had taken the boys when they were small and before the Museum came into being. It's a great place to visit even if you only come to enjoy the very orderly farm views and countryside! (Photo: Tower View)