Iron Horse

The Strasburg Rail Road is a heritage railroad operating an excursion train line pulled by steam locomotives through the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish farm country in Lancaster County, Pa. The Strasburg Rail Road began operations in 1832 and was horse drawn until 1851 when the railroad purchased a Norris built 4-2-0 steam locomotive named The William Penn. The Strasburg Rail Road is the oldest, continuously running passenger railroad in the world. My family and I enjoyed the four and a half mile, 45 minute coach car ride in 1995. An optional ride, one we didn’t take, is lunch in the wooden dining car. This is said to be the only operating wooden dining car in the United States. Our trip took us from Strasburg to Paradise — and back. Naturally, I photographed our adventure. Here are some of the pictures:

Strasburg RR loco 1

Strasburg RR Amish

No. 475 is a 4-8-0 (wheel alignment) built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1906.

Strasburg RR 1

2nd enging & tank 1

Strasburg RR 2

A passenger coach like the one we rode in.

Strasburg RR 3

The passenger coach we’re riding in.

2nd enging & tank

Below, Amish traveling by horse and wagon.

Strasburg RR Amish 1

More views of Amish farmland.

Farmland & PRR Car

Farmland & PRR Car 1

End of the line:

Strasburg RR

Below, on a siding, sits an old Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car — not so old that I don’t remember riding in one of these on my many Pennsylvania Railroad journeys, starting when I was very young. I remember standing on the Pennsylvania Railroad 30th Street Station subterranean platform in Philadelphia, being enveloped in clouds of steam when the steam engines would pull the train into the station.

Farmland & PRR Car 2

For you to get an idea of the locomotive in motion and what it feels like to ride the train I have included the link to this four minute video:

Strasburg Rail Road featured on BBC’s Great American Railway Journeys

–Samantha Mozart

8 Responses to Iron Horse

  1. Pat Garcia says:

    I am so happy that I am able to comment here now. I tried yesterday but the comment section did not come up. Thanks for your help.

    These pictures remind me of Germany and its trains. If you ever visit Frankfurt, for example, you have to take a ride on the Apple wine train. It is an old train from way back then which has been restored and now rides people through the Apple Wine district of Frankfurt and you drink Apple Wine while riding. I believe you would love it.
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    • sammozart says:

      I did play around with my site a bit last night, Patricia. I must’ve done something that worked.

      I am sure I would enjoy the Apple Wine train. In movies I have seen some of those German train stations. There’s one, especially, that fascinates me — in Berlin or Munich? I can’t think of the name and maybe that’s changed. But, I would love to travel around Europe by rail. I envy them their rail travel.

      Thanks for stopping by my site. 🙂


  2. Beautiful photos, Samantha. From a historical standpoint, just amazing. Can take one back, particularly the top images. Passenger coach looks nice and well maintained, the decor retaining shades of the past. Also the photos of the Amish moving across the countryside, something out of a storybook.
    Amazing to think this has been continuously running, going way back. Can almost close my eyes and imagine it being horse drawn.

    • sammozart says:

      Horse drawn — that’s something, isn’t it Silvia. It is a charming area and I love steam locomotives. Actually, where I live in Delaware, we are surrounded by Amish. I will go to the supermarket and sometimes there will be a horse and buggy hitched to a lamppost. Mennonites do my lawn and have cleaned my house on occasion. They are far more modern than the Amish, though — they drive cars and use cell phones and computers — just can’t go online or watch TV.

  3. Gwynn Rogers says:

    You live in such a historically fascinating area. Plus, the culture of the Amish peoples reminds me of the way this country started. I love your photos. Thanks.

    • sammozart says:

      The Amish are interesting, Gwynn. The more updated Mennonites are my gardeners and they often bring an Amish with them — pleasant, friendly people, industrious, their lives so simple. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state with its mountains, farmlands and rolling hills. Thanks for the photo compliment.

  4. susan scott says:

    Wonderful photos of the Iron Horse – so elegant -and the Amish horse and wagon and countryside Samantha thank you. Is it really the only operational wooden dining car in the US? I hope to watch the clip later …

    I want to check out our Blue Train (Rovos Rail) and see whether that is a wooden one … I know it rides from Cape Town to Pretoria; and is luxury all the way and quite out of my reach 🙂

    • sammozart says:

      As far as I know and can research, Susan, the Strasburg Rail Road has the only operational wooden dining car in the United States. There are many wooden train cars, some of which are operational, but apparently what the Strasburg Rail Road claims about their operating wooden dining car is true.

      I looked at Rovos Rail briefly via Google online and saw a steam locomotive but no wooden cars, which by no means indicates they have none; I just wanted a quick look at a rail line I hadn’t heard of. A safari train journey might be interesting. That is, as long as I could stay inside the train, I’d feel safe (as long as the windows were closed). The Strasburg RR, though, is no luxury train, just a fun day trip for families. The Amish don’t like their pictures taken, but this Amish just happened to be in the farm scene and at a distance. 🙂