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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.

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.

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 expanded 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, Pennsylvania, 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. 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 on 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. 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.


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. Two replicas are also included in the Pennsylvania Historic Collection, the John Bull (locomotive) (originally built in 1831) and the John Stevens (originally built in 1825).

Other locomotives in the collection include two PRR GG1 locomotives, the original prototype PRR 4800 and 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-7 915 donated by Amtrak in 2015.


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.

Amtrak E60 603 built by General Electric in 1975.

Amtrak AEM-7 915 built by EMD in 1975.

Pennsylvania Railroad DD-1 class electric locomotive 3936 and 3937.

Pennsylvania Railroad DD-1 class electric locomotive 3937 built by Pennsylvania Railroad and Westinghouse Electric in 1911.

Pennsylvania Railroad DD-1 class electric locomotive 3936 built by Pennsylvania Railroad and Westinghouse Electric in 1911.

Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4800 built by Baldwin/General Electric in 1934. It is the only one to have a riveted body instead of a welded body and was given the name “Old Rivets” affectionately.

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 wish is to have a roundhouse built but is waiting on funds to do so. We started our look around.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-0 1223 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1905.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-0 7002 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1902.

John Bull replica 2-4-0 1 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1940.

Pennsylvania Railroad 0-4-0 94 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1917.

Virginia and Truckee 2-6-0 20 "Tahoe" built by Baldwin in 1875.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-0 5741 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1924.

Conrail GP30 2233 built by EMD in 1963.

Reading Company 0-6-0T 1251 built in 1918 at the Reading shops.

Pennsylvania Power Light Company 0-8-0F 4094 built in 1940 by Heisler as Hammermill Paper Company 4.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation 0-4-0F 111 built in 1941 by Heisler.

Pennsylvania Railroad Cog 0-4-0 "John Stevens" built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1939.

A horse carriage.

Pennsylvania Railroad E7A 5901 built by EMD in 1945.

Enterprise Lumber Company 3 truck shay built by Lima in 1906.

WH Mason Lumber Company Climax 4 built by Climax in 1913.

W.T. Smith Lumber Co 2-Truck Heisler 4 built by Heisler in 1918.

Vulcan Iron Works Valley Shop Switcher built by Vulcan in 1930.

Pennsylvania Railroad E44 4465 built by General Electric in 1963.

Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4935 built by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1943.

Coudesport and Port Allegheny snowplow built by the Russell Company between 1889 and 1894.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-0 2846 built by Balwin in 1905.

Reading Railroad coach 800 built by Harlan & Hollingsworth in 1931.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-2 460 built by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1914.

Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad bobber caboose 16 built by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1913. 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.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-0 1187 built in 1999 by the Altoona Shops.

Waimanolo Sugar Co. 0-4-2T 3 from Oahu built by Baldwin in 1883.

Fruit Growers Express refrigerator car 57708 built by Fruit Growers Express in 1924.

Delaware & Hudson wooden box car 19607 built by American Car and Foundry Company in 1907

Lehigh Valley wooden box car 75073 by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1935. Now we will walk outdoors into the west yard, the future location of the roundhouse.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-0 7688 built by Lima in 1915.

Reading Observation Car 1 built by Budd in 1937.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 3750 built by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1920.

Museum view.

Pennsylvania Railroad 4-8-2 6755 built by Pennsylvania Railroad in 1930.

Lehigh Valley RDC 40 built by Budd in 1951.

Pennsylvania Railroad Metroliner coach-snack bar 860 built by Budd/General Electric in 1968.

Monongahela Railway Caboose 67 built by International Car and Equipment Company in 1949.

The Reading Company 100 foot turntable.

Erie Lackawanna crane 45210 built by Industrial Brownhoist Company in 1954 and Conrail idler car 31188, formerly Pennsylvania Railroad 470189.

Baldwin Locomotive Works S-12 1200 built by Baldwin in 1951.

Museum view.

Pennsylvania Railroad Horse Express 90014 "Saratoga Springs" built in 1928.

Monongahela Connecting C-415 761 built by Alco in 1968.

Wheels on a Pennsylvania Railroad flat car 4698777.

Pennsylvania Railroad Broadway Limited Observation Car "Tower View" built by Pullman-Standard in 1948.

Amtrak sleeping car "Little Juniata Rapids" built by Budd in 1950 for Southern Pacific's Sunset Limited. The Pennsylvania Railroad named its 10-6 sleepers in the "Rapids" series; hence the name "Little Juniata Rapids". The car is named after the most western tributary of the Juniata river, which is known as the Little Juniata River.

Wooden outside-braced boxcar.

Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad NW2 81 built by EMD in 1941.

Pennsylvania Railroad 2-8-2 520 built by Baldwin in 1916.

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 757.

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

Pittsburgh and Lake Erie caboose 508 built by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie in 1950. After that, we returned inside, 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 perspective.

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.