Destination PA: Strasburg Rail Road

Regional News

RONKS, Pa. (WHTM) — The 1800s comes back to life at the Strasburg Rail Road. It’s America’s oldest operating railroad, and it’s right in Lancaster County.

“We’re really good at being loud here,” said Scott Ruth, a conductor at the Strasburg Rail Road.

Some say the noise of the Strasburg Rail Road actually brings them peace.

“A lot of people just like to kind of take that step back in time and feel and experience a time that was maybe perceived at least as being a little bit more relaxed,” said Steve Barrall, the vice president of guest experience at Strasburg Rail Road.

The railroad was chartered in 1832.

Brakeman Gabriel Miranda shares the story as passengers step aboard authentic steam trains.

“The Strasburg is a very old yet a very safe railroad,” said Miranda.

It’s made it through wars, economic crisies, natural disasters and pandemics, and it’s still running.

“General reminder to have your face masks on while on board,” said Miranda.

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Central PA each year to enjoy picturesque rides on restored train cars.

“It’s pretty neat to watch the steam locomotive,” said Barrall. “Hear it. Smell it. Listen to it. There’s something special about that.”

It’s a 9-mile, 45 minute trip from Strasburg to Paradise and back. You have three seating choices: coach, first class and open air.

Thea area is called the “garden spot of Lancaster County,” and as the conductor explains, there’s a lot to learn on your journey.

“We’ve got corn crops over here we just passed some newly planted tobacco crops,” said Ruth.

The railroad holds several events throughout the year, including “A Day out with Thomas” in the fall, spring and summer.

New this year is an early 20th century popcorn wagon, so you won’t leave hungry.

“Hot dogs, soft pretzels, cold drinks,” said Barrall.

It’s a day full of fresh air and history.

“There’s something about being right up next to one of these iron horses,” said Barrall.

There is much more to see in Lancaster County.

You can check out the Railroad Museum of PA and the National Toy Train Museum.

The Amish Village gives you a glimpse into the daily life of the Amish community.

Plus, there’s the Li’l Country Store and Miniature Horse Farm, where you can greet and spend time with the cutest mini horses.

abc27 will continue to feature more great summer trips that are just a drive away.

There are 2 more half-hour “Destination Pennsylvania” specials throughout the summer.

The second one airs Wednesday, August 12th at 7:30 p.m.

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