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Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania 8/5/2018

by Chris Guenzler

We came from West Chester Railroad and parked in the parking lot for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is a railroad museum in Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The museum is located on the east side of Strasburg along Pennsylvania Route 741. It is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the active support of the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (FRM).

The museum's collection has more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars that chronicle American railroad history. Visitors can climb aboard various locomotives and cars, inspect a 62-ton locomotive from underneath, view restoration activities via closed-circuit television, enjoy interactive educational programs, and more.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania was created to provide a historical account of railroading in Pennsylvania by preserving rolling stock, artifacts, and archives of railroad companies of the Commonwealth. However, the museum has branched out over the years, acquiring some pieces that are not directly related to Pennsylvania, but are important to the history of railroading.

In addition to full-size rolling stock pieces, the museum offers a number of other commodities, which include several model railroad layouts, a hands on educational center, a library and archives, and a smaller exhibit gallery on the second floor.

Building and grounds

The initial display building opened in 1975 as the first building constructed to be a railroad museum, and featured an operating turntable from the Reading Company. The original building was roughly 45,000 square feet in size and included an observation bridge leading across Rolling Stock Hall, allowing visitors to see the trains from above. In June 1995, Rolling Stock Hall was to 100,000 square feet.

Today, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania covers 18 acres. This includes Rolling Stock Hall, a second floor changing-exhibit gallery, an observation bridge, a hands on education center called Stewards Junction, an extensive library and archives, a restoration and paint shop, and an outdoor storage and display yard. Rolling Stock Hall and the second floor are both handicapped accessible. The yard is subject to weather closure.

A newly designed entrance and gift shop were opened in June 2007. Some larger or more modern engines and cars are displayed outdoors, but a new roundhouse to store some of the larger locomotives is to be built in the near future.

The National Toy Train Museum, & Choo Choo Barn are located nearby, and the Strasburg Rail Road is across the street from the museum.


For 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, the Pennsylvania Railroad had displayed a number of historic locomotives and cars they had collected over the years. After the fair had ended, the PRR, decided to preserve the equipment that was displayed, along with various other locomotives and rolling stock. The equipment was stored away in a roundhouse in Northumberland, PA, and looked after by employees.With the state looking to establish a railroad museum and PRR successor Penn Central looking to rid itself of the collection in the late 1960s, it was decided the museum was to be built directly next to the Strasburg Rail Road in Strasburg, PA. The engines were moved to the Strasburg Rail Road, where they were stored while the museum was under construction. A large number of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Historic Collection was sent to Strasburg coupled together, forming the "Train of Trains."

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania was officially opened to the public April 1, 1975. As the museum acquired more equipment, they required more space, so in 1995, Rolling Stock Hall was expanded by 55,000 square feet. Today, the museum covers 18 acres of land, including 100,000 square feet indoors. In the next few years, the addition of a roundhouse is expected to be built to house some of the larger locomotives that are currently stored outside. In all, the museum holds roughly 100 pieces of rolling stock, some nearing 200 years old.


The collection is made up of more than a hundred historic locomotives and cars, many of which are part of the historical collection of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, the PRR placed many of their historic rolling stock aside for preservation. The collection was stored in a roundhouse in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. In 1969, the collection was relocated from Northumberland, PA to Strasburg, PA, where they were stored at the Strasburg Rail Road until the museum's completion in 1975.

Some of these engines had operated on the Strasburg Railroad for a number of years before being put back on display. PRR #1223, famous for its use in the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!, and PRR #7002 (originally #8063), a re-creation of the famous original PRR #7002, which set an unofficial land speed record in 1905 by traveling at 127.1 miles per hour. Both were leased to the Strasburg Rail Road, and retired permanently in 1989.

Other historic locomotives are featured at the Museum, including the famous "Lindbergh Engine", PRR #460, which completed a 6-year cosmetic restoration November, 2016, and the oldest PRR locomotive #1187, built in 1888. The 1187 is placed over a pit, so visitors may go underneath and see the locomotive's underside. The official steam locomotive of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania PRR #3750, famous for pulling President Warren Harding's funeral train, is on display outside of the museum. Two replicas are also included in the Pennsylvania Historic Collection, the John Bull (locomotive) (orig. built 1831) and the John Stevens (orig. built 1825).

Other locomotives in the collection include two PRR GG1 locomotives, the original prototype PRR #4800 and the PRR #4935, Amtrak E60 #603, and the Tahoe, a 2-6-0 built in 1875 for use on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. They also have two fireless steam locomotives (Bethlehem Steel #111 and Pennsylvania Power & Light #4094-D), and examples of the three most common geared locomotives. A Shay locomotive (Leetonia Railway 1), a Heisler locomotive (Chicago Mill & Lumber Company #4), and a Climax locomotive (W. H. Mason Company #1).

The museum's most recent acquisition is Amtrak AEM-7 number 915, donated by Amtrak in 2015. Cars

The museum also has a large collection of rail cars. Many of these are examples of cars seen on the Pennsylvania Railroad, including a P70 passenger car, a B60 Baggage car, and an N5c caboose. There are also several wood bodied freight and passenger cars. Also on display is PRR 1651, one of the first all-steel passenger cars.

Our visit

We started by looking at the engines on the northwest area that is open to the public.

Antrak E60 603.

Amtrak AME7 915.

Pennsylvania Railroad DD1- class electric locomotive 3837 and 3938

Pennsylvania Railroad DD1- class electric locomotive 3937.

Pennsylvania Railroad DD1- class electric locomotive 3938

Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4800. Only rivited unit.

The entrance to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. We walked inside and told them we were from and they let us in for free. We met the Museum Director who told us that his next thing he wants is a roundhouse built but is waiting on funds to do so. We started our look around.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-0 1223.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-0 7002.

John Bull replica.

Pennsylvania Railroad 0-4-0 94.

Virginia and Truckee Tahoe 2-6-0 20.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-0 5741.

Conrail GP-30 2233.

Reading Company 0-6-0 1251.

Pennsylvania Power Light Company 0-8-0F D.

PP&L 0-8-0T.

John Stevens 0-4-0.

A horse carriage.

Pennsylvania Railroad E-7 5901.

Leetona Railway Shay 1.

Moore, Keppel and Company Climax 4.

Chicago Mill & Lumber Company 2-Truck Heisler 4.

Vulcan Shop Switcher Class 7 0-4-0 6081.

Pennsylvania Railroad E44 4465.

Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4935.

Cloudesport and Port Allegheny snowplow.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-0 2846.

Reading Railroad coach 600.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-2 460.

HB&T wooden caboose 16. Now I will walk up the stairs to the overhead walkway over the inside of the museum.

Great views can be had from this walkway. I returned to the main floor.

Olomona 0-2-0 3 from Oahu built in 1883.

Fruit Growers Express refrigerator car 57708.

Delaware & Hudson wooden box car 19607.

Lehigh Valley wooden box car 75073. Now we will walk out the door into the west yard. This is where they will build the roundhouse some time in the future.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-0 7688.

Reading Observation Car 1.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 3750.

Museum view.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-8-2 6755.

Lehigh Valley RDC 40.

Pennsylvania Railroad Metroliner Cab Car 860.

Monongahela Railway Caboose 67.

The turntable.

Conrail No. 31188 & 45210.

Baldwin Locomotive Works S-12 1200.

Museum view.

Pennsylvania Railroad three door baggage car.

MCRR C-415 761.

Wheels on a Pennsylvania Railroad flat car 4698777.

Broadway Limited Observation Car Tower View.

Amtrak sleeping car Little Juanita River.

Wooden outside-braced boxcar.

Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad NW2 81.

Pennsylvania Railroad 6755.

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 757.

Two more views of the Pennsylvania Railroad Metroliner Cab Car 860.

Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Caboose 508. After that, we walked back inside and I stopped to get a Coca-Cola from the machine and walked back into the main hall. Then I took Robin up on to the walkway so he could see the museum from a completely different view.

My last view from the walkway before we went into the upper display room.

Here is a miniature locomotive on display. We visited the gift shop then I thanked our host for having us today. I would like to thank the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum for allowing the three of us to visit their great and unique museum. We walked across the street to wait for the Strasburg Railroad train to return for our 4:00 train.