45 Best Railway Museums in the US Everyone Must Visit

Last Updated on March 30, 2024 by Nikki Jain

Railway museums in the US never cease to capture the imagination. Trains, from the big steam engines of the 19th and early 20th century to the diesel chuggers of today, train museums in the USA exhibit all of the fascinating, lumbering velocity these iron megaliths represent.

Trains are thoroughly ingrained in American history and folklore. Even the long-abandoned railroad tracks scattered across North America hold a rich, vibrant, and sometimes violent history deep within their iron tracks.

That's a huge part of what makes railway museums in the USA so intriguing. It's one thing to exhibit an ancient mask or an old book. Fascinating as they are, those things are nearly singular in their historical roots. Trains transcend that singularity, deeply entrenched in American culture and society.

Searching for 'train museums near me'?

Believe it or not, there are museums throughout the country wholly dedicated to trains. Like any good museum, they feature multiple exhibits, general activities for visitors to engage in, and a plethora of historical knowledge.

Some of the best train museums remain actively engaged in local preservation efforts—mostly to do with trains, but also the preservation of historical records, down to the paper record keeping of train stations in the area, well over a century old.

One of the most impressive things about the museums on our list is the trains themselves. As you can imagine, the exhibits are huge. Even the old steam engines were gigantic and incredibly heavy. Even for a non-train aficionado, it's hard not to be impressed.

Let's start exploring the best rail museums in the US.

The Best Train Museums in the US

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1: California State Railroad Museum - Sacramento, CA

California State Railroad Museum - Sacramento, CA
California State Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Andreistanescu

The California State Road Museum ends up in a lot of number-one spots on lists of the best railway museums in the USA. That's probably because it is one of, if not the best, in the country.

This particular museum is run by the state, and they do an outstanding job conveying the history of the railroad connections that brought California that much closer to the rest of the world.

The best part, however, is the engines. The California State Road museum has 20 of them, all of which are restored to their original, pristine condition. These aren't just any engines, either. Some of them are over a century and a half old. Historians and amateur historians alike will appreciate the infamous Donner Pass scene.

Address: 125 I St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Sacramento

2: Colorado Railroad Museum - Golden, CO

Colorado Railroad Museum - Golden, CO
Colorado Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Christian Araujo

Colorado almost seems as if it should be the beating heart of locomotive history in the United States. It certainly helps that they have one of the most fantastic railway museums in the USA.

The Colorado Railroad Museum has existed since the late fifties and offers a wealth of history and spectacle. Of course, the main attractions are the large, refurbished locomotives; though the museum is replete with old photographs, train models, and rich displays, they even have a roadhouse, just like in the old days.

If you're interested in how these vintage engines and historical artifacts are restored, a full demonstration is one of the displays there. Be sure to check their calendar while you visit since the museum frequently puts on displays specific to certain times of the year.

Address: 17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80403

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Colorado

3: Illinois Railway Museum - Union, IL

Illinois Railway Museum - Union, IL
Illinois Railway Museum

Union, Illinois, sounds like the perfect place to have a train museum. It also happens to have the largest railroad museum in the USA. It has to be fairly large since it contains eleven storage barns, all of which house miles of railroad tracks.

The train depot at the Illinois Railway Museum is completely original, and it has been there for over a century and a half.

As far as interactive activities go, the museum offers two train rides, one electric and one diesel. However, you can only ride them in the summer months. The best part is that despite its size, it has been in operation for 73 years.

That alone is a testament to the success of the Illinois Railway Museum. Like most railroad museums, their primary theme revolves around the history of the railroad and its local effects.

Address: 7000 Olson Rd, Union, IL 60180

Also Read: The Best Children's Museums in the USA

4: National Railroad Museum - Green Bay, WI

National Railroad Museum - Green Bay, WI
National Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Wisconsinart

Founded in 1956 (it seems like all of these train museums were founded in the 50s), the National Railroad Museum is one of the best railroad museums in the USA.

You know you're dealing with long-term quality when visiting a museum that is over half a century old and still running strong. It's also one of the oldest museums in the US and has one of the largest collections of rolling stock.

The National Railroad Museum isn’t just a collection of refurbished trains. They stock antique locomotives with a deep history, both in the local area and without (including the Union Pacific Big Boy # 4017).

Like most museums of any kind, there are a ton of exhibits to visit and pour over. It's not the biggest railroad museum, but it can easily take a day to browse through, especially if you're really interested in trains from a historical perspective.

Address: 2285 S Broadway, Ashwaubenon, WI 54304

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5: Kentucky Railway Museum - New Haven, KY

Kentucky Railway Museum - New Haven, KY
Kentucky Railway Museum

The Kentucky Railway Museum is steeped in the history and lore of Kentucky railroads since the day the first rails were laid down in the state. Opened in 1954, it's two years older than the National Railroad Museum, which is one of the oldest.

The only difference is this museum started elsewhere, originally constructed in Louisville and later moved to New Haven. The museum sits on top of one of the country's oldest railroad stations, built in the 1850s.

One of the most popular exhibits in the Kentucky Railroad Museum is the 3,000 ft² train model. The museum is full of steam and diesel locomotive exhibits, along with a large number of railcars, many of which are open for guests to walk through.

Address: 136 S Main St, New Haven, KY 40051

Also Read: The Best Battleship Museums in the USA

6: Danbury Railway Museum - Danbury, CT

Danbury Railway Museum - Danbury, CT
Danbury Railway Museum | Flickr/Roland Turner

The Danbury Railway Museum is probably one of the most convenient railroad museums in the USA. It sits right next to an already existing railyard. Although the railyard has long since closed, it still provides the perfect and most convenient aesthetic a railway museum could ask for.

This museum also separates itself from the rest because of its different approach to traditional museum exhibits. The focus is less on history and more on the architecture of various railway stations, along with the design features of historical and modern locomotives.

There is a specific focus on the local history of the region. But, of course, no railway museum would be complete without the local history part. However, it's unique and sets itself apart with a slightly different but just as interesting approach.

Address: 120 White St, Danbury, CT 06810

7: Medina Railroad Museum - Medina, NY

Medina Railroad Museum - Medina, NY
Medina Railroad Museum

New York has more than one train museum, and the Medina version is more popular in the entire northeast region. That's because the Medina Railroad Museum is history wrapped in history.

What we mean to say is the museum is housed within the vast wooden freight depot, which happens to be one of the oldest such depots in the United States. As railroad museums in the USA go, that makes this one pretty special.

The exhibits here are also incredible, displaying several historical photos, refurbished locomotives, interactive displays, viewing displays, a ton of historical literature on the local railroad history, and a model railroad display.

Address: 530 West Ave, Medina, NY 14103

8: B&O Railroad Museum - Baltimore, MD

B&O Railroad Museum - Baltimore, MD
B&O Railroad Museum | Flickr/Mr.TinMD

There’s something special about the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. The fact is, it's considered to be the birthplace of American Railroading. How did this area receive such a distinction? For starters, the railroad (not the museum) was built in 1829. Second, the very first passenger station was built there.

Though the commercial long-distance track that came next wasn’t a first, its combination of commercial and private enterprises certainly was. The B&O Railroad Museum is where the biggest railroad history enthusiasts should go.

There is more history, railroad collections, historic trains and buildings, and artifacts at B&O than anywhere else in the country.

Address: 901 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21223

Also Read: The Best Museums in Baltimore

9: National New York Central Railroad Museum - Elkhart, IN

National New York Central Railroad Museum - Elkhart, IN
National New York Central Railroad Museum

You would think that “New York” Central would be located in New York. But, one of the more popular railroad museums in the USA is named after New York and built in Indiana. The National New York Central Railroad Museum is almost entirely focused on the New York Central Railroad.

While Elkhart is certainly not the beating heart of the modern railway system in the US, there is a lot of history, and the city was once a prolific part of the whole. The outdoor displays are impressive and easily the biggest attractions of the museum.

You'll love this museum if you love steam engines or the technology behind steam-propelled locomotives. It features several completely refurbished steam locomotives. For those who prefer indoor exhibits, there are plenty of them, and they are impressive enough on their own.

Address: 721 S Main St, Elkhart, IN 46516

Also Read: The Best Car Museums in the USA

10: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Chattanooga, TN

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Chattanooga, TN
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum | Flickr/David Brossard

If you've never been to Chattanooga before, you owe it to yourself to take the trip. It's often said that cities are ugly, and Chattanooga is anything but. It's a gorgeous, sprawling metropolis set along a backdrop of riverfront views and the southeast mountains of Tennessee.

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum belongs to the area rather than just existing as a landmark among the masses of steel, concrete, and asphalt. The museum was built to preserve and display historic steam locomotives, but it also offers much more.

Unlike many museums on this list, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers a six-mile trip aboard a fully operational steam locomotive. It's a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the luxury of a passenger train ride in old-school style.

Address: 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421

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Also Read: The Most Scenic Train Rides in the USA

11: Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site - Bishop, CA

Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site - Bishop, CA
Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site

The Laws Railroad Station and Railyard no longer exist, at least not as an operating entity. The Law Railroad Museum and Historical Site were built to both preserve these no longer operational entities and educate people on the history of the local railroad industry.

Most of the newer museum buildings were strategically placed next to the older business buildings to bring together history and preservation. There are tons of things to do and see here, both inside and outside.

Like most train museums in the US, Laws has preserved trains on display in their museum, along with a ton of history via documents, photographs, artifacts, and multiple display booths throughout the facility.

Address: Silver Canyon Rd, Bishop, CA 93514

12: Galesburg Railroad Museum - Galesburg, IL

Galesburg Railroad Museum - Galesburg, IL
Galesburg Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Ej Rodriquez Photography

The Galesburg Railroad Museum is a repository for many historical, railroad-related artifacts, documents, photographs, and other materials from long ago.

Like most train museums in the US, Galesburg is replete with exhibits, including the "Pullman Meath" rail car and a railroad post office rail car. It's not the most ancient railroad history since most of the museum is a collection of artifacts from the 70s onward.

However, trains are fascinating no matter their age and origin. The fact is, Galesburg has a ton to offer even the most generalized train enthusiast. There’s something here to interest just about anyone.

Address: 211 S Seminary St, Galesburg, IL 61401

13: Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum - North Judson, IN

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum - North Judson, IN
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum | Flickr/vxla

Another museum in Indiana, the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, is just as impressive as its sister museum, up in Elkhart. This one is located in North Judson, which makes a lot of sense.

North Judson was once a huge railroad town—not the biggest railroad town by any means, but definitely an essential landmark in the railroad industry of its day. Like Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, MS, the railroad in North Judson employed almost everyone in the town.

The existence of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is a tribute to the local population as much as it is to rail enthusiasts. The museum houses a refurbished steam locomotive and many artifacts with immense value to the local community.

Address: 507 Mulberry St, North Judson, IN 46366

14: Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Ely, NV

Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Ely, NV
Nevada Northern Railway Museum | Dreamstime/Terence Mendoza

Nevada offers more than gambling casinos and open land. The Nevada Northern Railway Museum is one of the best-preserved railroad historical landmarks in the country. The most popular attraction is a reenactment exhibit featuring an Old West train robbery.

In fact, the audience is welcome to participate in the train robbery as well, which will make for tons of interactive fun, especially for the kids. The plethora of viewable exhibits is outstanding and easily one of the best-organized displays in the country.

If you happen to travel through the state of Nevada and have even a smidgeon of train fascination within your soul, you have to stop in at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Anything else would be a disservice!

Address: 1100 Ave A, Ely, NV 89301

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Nevada

15: Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum - Nevada City, CA

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum - Nevada City, CA
Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Though it may technically be the sister museum to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum is actually in California, though it bears the Nevada name. Since both states are intrinsically linked, it hardly matters.

Engine number 5, an engine that is frequently used in Hollywood for movies, television series, and documentaries, is on display at the museum. The Nevada Narrow Gorge Railroad was in operation for over 70 years, so the museum and station are rife with history.

Like most museums, tons of artifacts and historical photographs are sprinkled throughout the exhibits. Though that sounds mundane, it's incredibly exciting because it's intrinsic to the area's history, which is anything but boring.

Address: 5 Kidder Ct, Nevada City, CA 95959

16: Oklahoma Railway Museum - Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma Railway Museum - Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Railway Museum | Dreamstime/Chon Kit Leong

The Oklahoma Railway Museum features an exciting display of four massive diesel locomotives and their respective rail cars. They also allow visitors to ride the trains throughout certain parts of the year, which is always an exciting adventure for families and kids.

Oklahoma Railway Museum also features several annual events that revolve around railroad themes and the local railroad history. Though they feature four diesel engines, the museum holds ten engines, all steam and diesel.

For Halloween, the museum features a train ride on "Sadie", a steam engine that only transports guests in the month of October. Since Sadie was manufactured in 1931, you get to ride on a piece of technology that's nearly a century old.

Address: 3400 NE Grand Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Oklahoma City

17: Museum of the American Railroad - Frisco, TX

Museum of the American Railroad - Frisco, TX
Museum of the American Railroad

No list of train museums in the US would be complete without throwing in the state of Texas. The Museum of the American Railroad. It didn’t always go by that name. The Museum of the American Railroad used to be the Age of Steam Railroad Museum.

It's a vast museum featuring many steam and diesel engines and a very open and accommodating walk-through for guests. You can walk in and out of most of the compartments and really get a feel for the operation of the trains.

The museum was only very recently completed, and some of the older buildings in the area are currently under renovation. The Frisco Library only opened recently, while the Discovery Center is being renovated. For tours, you'll have to join a waiting list for now.

Address: 8004 N Dallas Pkwy #400, Frisco, TX 75034

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Texas

18: Steamtown National Historic Site - Scranton, PA

Steamtown National Historic Site - Scranton, PA
Steamtown National Historic Site | Dreamstime/Georgesheldon

Steamtown is both a museum and a heritage railroad, making it a top tourist destination and a historic site of tremendous value. Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown National Historic Site sits on the old Scranton railyard.

Some of the original materials that went into building the railyard were repurposed to construct the roundhouse and turntable, the most prominent features of the entire museum. Like the other USA train museums, there are several steam and diesel engine exhibits. The museum also allows a lot of hands-on observation.

Guests can climb up, through, out, and around many train exhibits, including the engines and cars. Passenger cars are always fun to explore, and Steamtown has plenty of them on display.

Address: 350 Cliff St, Scranton, PA 18503

19: Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum - Lenox, MA

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum - Lenox, MA
Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum | Flickr/Richard Haddad

Another railway museum in Maryland, Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, features the Hoosac Valley Train Rides, which run on Saturdays, Sundays, and the occasional Mondays. The best part about the train rides is that they always feature a seasonal theme.

A major part of the Railway Museum is the Lenox Station Museum, where you will find all the most interesting historical artifacts. Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum offers guided tours throughout the day, along with Yokun Station.

Yukon Station is a rebuilt, refurbished rail station where guests can learn the operation of historic rail stations. The level of authenticity is incredible, and it's one of the more popular attractions.

If you haven't Googled "train museum near me" and tracked down Berkshire, there's no better time than the present.

Address: 10 Willow Creek Rd, Lenox, MA 01240

20: Pacific Southwest Railway Museum - Campo, CA

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum - Campo, CA
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum

This USA train museum is located in California, making three California railroad museums on our list. It's named after the company that ran the station - Pacific Southwest. It's entirely run by volunteers, and one of the museum's most popular attractions is the train excursions.

This museum also includes electric locomotives, which is something that a lot of train museums don't feature. However, they also have diesel engines as well. But if you're looking for steam engines, you won't find any here. Another big attraction is hands-on exploration.

Guests are free to touch many of the artifacts and get up close to some of the railcars and engines.

Address: 750 Depot St, Campo, CA 91906

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in California

21: The Shore Line Trolley Museum - East Haven, CT

The Shore Line Trolley Museum - East Haven, CT
The Shore Line Trolley Museum

If you like trolleys, there's much to appreciate about the world's oldest trolley museum in East Haven, Connecticut. It's one of those rare transportation museums in the US that exerts a huge focus on their namesake.

There is an extensive history of trolley cars here, and much of the learning is hands-on. Guests are free to explore many of the trolley car exhibits on their own, climbing in and out and getting a feel for trolley cars and how they operate.

Many exhibits are interactive, including a mile-and-a-half trolley ride featuring a rebuilt and restored historical trolley. The trolley ride is more than worth it, as the surrounding scenery is beautiful.

Address: 17 River St, East Haven, CT 06512

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22: Train Mountain Railroad Museum - Chiloquin, OR

Train Mountain Railroad Museum - Chiloquin, OR
Train Mountain Railroad Museum

Train Mountain Railroad Museum is one of the most fascinating USA train museums in any state. American rail museums often feature historical railcars, steam engines, diesel engines, and the occasional electric engine.

However, Trail Mountain is entirely a training model. In fact, it's the largest miniature train model in the world. There is a building on-site, which is the museum itself, housing a number of small exhibits and artifacts for the guests to see.

The primary attraction is the trained model, however, and it travels across over 2,000 acres, providing rides to families all throughout the year. They even have a massive snow plaw that weighs over 100 tons.

Address: 36941 S Chiloquin Rd, Chiloquin, OR 97624

23: National Museum of Transportation - St. Louis, MO

National Museum of Transportation - St. Louis, MO
National Museum of Transportation | Dreamstime/Matthew Cone

The National Museum of Transportation contains nearly 200 huge exhibits, and when it comes to the smaller exhibits, the number is many hundreds more.

On-site, you'll find the Boston & Providence Coach, constructed in 1833. You’ll also get to explore the Daniel Nason “Big Boy,” constructed in 1863. The Daniel Nason is a 6,600-horsepower giant locomotive. In fact, it's the largest, most successful steam engine ever made.

One of the more unusual but pleasant surprises about this museum is the three gardens, which constitute a significant part of the entire experience. These botanical gardens are phenomenal, especially after an hour of staring at steel and steam.

Address: 2933 Barrett Station Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in St. Louis

24: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania - Strasburg, PA

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania - Strasburg, PA
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania | Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania maintains over a hundred pieces of historical artifacts, including various locomotives and rolling stock. Plus, Strasburg has one of the coolest-looking locomotives around.

It may not come with a nationally historic name, but it's still an impressive outdoor locomotive exhibit. One of the biggest attractions at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is the interactive simulator that allows guests to operate an engine.

Though the day of the caboose is long behind us, the museum has one that guests can walk through for a more hands-on exhibit. Souvenirs and tourist gifts are packed into a quaint little shop with even more interactive exhibits to set your sights on.

Address: 300 Gap Rd, Strasburg, PA 17579

25: Virginia Museum of Transportation - Roanoke, VA

Virginia Museum of Transportation - Roanoke, VA
Virginia Museum of Transportation | Dreamstime/Larry Metayer

While it might be a mouthful, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Museum is an incredible museum, full of displays that go well beyond just a railroad-centric theme. This museum includes antique airplane exhibits, aquariums, and exhibits from the trucking industry.

One of the more unique aspects of the museum is the number of donated artifacts. Families in the local area and within the state have donated hundreds of items to the museum, most of which are associated with railroads and some that are not.

Another impressive feat of the museum is a staff that is highly educated in railroad technology, both modern and antique. Anyone you ask can accurately answer and even break it down into historical context.

Address: 303 Norfolk Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Virginia

26: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum - Durango, CO

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum - Durango, CO
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum | Dreamstime/Paul Hamilton

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is built around a train station over a century old. That's an impressive attraction to general historians, not just rail-specific historians.

Plus, this museum's owners and managers have dedicated themselves to gathering and preserving rail-related artifacts, and they've dutifully carried out that dedication since the early 60s.

The model train exhibit is fantastic to look at, and the museum includes an automobile gallery, an aviation gallery, an African American Heritage Group, a rail gallery, and an up-close and personal view of the Norfolk and Western J Class #611 train.

Address: 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301

27: Southeastern Railway Museum - Duluth, GA

Southeastern Railway Museum - Duluth, GA
Southeastern Railway Museum | Dreamstime/Darryl Brooks

The Southeastern Railway Museum is Geogia’s official transportation museum, meaning you will find far more than just trains. For the train enthusiasts out there—no need to worry. There are plenty of train-centric themes here. Plus, it's a fairly popular area with Hollywood, major brands, and the media.

There are two trains currently in operation, and your regular admission ticket entitles you to one ride on either the historic train or the park train.

One thing the Southeastern Railway Museum emphasizes (which many other railway museums do not) is railway ballast. Railway ballast is a crushed stone material used for bedding under the rails.

Address: 3595 Buford Hwy, Duluth, GA 30096

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions & Things To Do in Georgia

28: Chatham Railroad Museum - Chatham, MA

Chatham Railroad Museum - Chatham, MA
Chatham Railroad Museum | Flickr/fullc0de

The Chatham Railroad Museum is probably one of the prettiest railroad museums in the US in terms of pure aesthetics. The red and cream aesthetics of its historic train depot are cheerful and reminiscent of trains.

It helps that there is a large caboose parked out front as well. The train depot finished construction in 1887 and has since been beautifully restored to all of its former glory.

There are hundreds of exhibits here as well. One such exhibit features several locomotives that were feature locomotives at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The above-mentioned caboose was constructed in 1910 and restored to the tiniest detail.

Address: 153 Depot Rd, Chatham, MA 02633

29: Arkansas Railroad Museum - Pine Bluff, AR

Arkansas Railroad Museum - Pine Bluff, AR
Arkansas Railroad Museum

The Arkansas Railroad Museum got its start in 1955 when a steam locomotive (locomotive 819) was donated to the city of Pine Bluff. Cotton Belt Railroad was responsible for the donation, and the Arkansas Railroad Museum was born.

Since the initial donation, local and state residents have continued to donate train-related historical artifacts to the museum. As a result, it has grown into a sizeable museum, with many more locomotives on display in the various exhibits.

Now, it's one of the more impressive museums in the south, and it's grown to 70,000 ft² of floor space. You can literally spend a day here and not quite catch everything.

Address: 1700 Port Rd, Pine Bluff, AR 71601

30: Great Plains Transportation Museum - Wichita, KS

Great Plains Transportation Museum - Wichita, KS
Great Plains Transportation Museum

Last but not least, we have the Great Plains Transportation Museum of Wichita, Kansas. One of the more unique aspects of the Great Plains Transportation Museum is the annual Kansas Railfest, which drops the admission fee to $7.

It also includes train rides for $5 per passenger, age three and up. The museum charges an extra cost for the train rides because those fees are used to restore all their train artifacts on display, so it goes to a good cause. The museum includes two huge exhibits - the Santa Fe steam locomotive #3768 and the Santa Fe FP45 diesel #93.

Address: 700 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67202

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Wichita

31: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation - Dearborn, MI

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation - Dearborn, MI
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation | Dreamstime/Amarildo Hoxha

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation isn’t just a train museum. It is a museum that showcases American innovation. Exhibits dedicated to inventions that not only changed the US but changed the world. It is one of the top train museums in America, with a huge exhibit dedicated to railroads. There is a small model railway here, but the real highlight is the largest train ever built – the 1941 Allegheny Locomotive, which stands at an impressive 125 feet long.

Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Michigan

32: Southern California Railway Museum - Perris, CA

Southern California Railway Museum - Perris, CA
Southern California Railway Museum

The Southern California Railway Museum isn’t just about preserving the history of US railroads but promoting their health into the future. The museum has a blend of exhibits, and children’s events designed to get them interested in the railroads. The main highlight here is the Ventura County Railway No. 2, a huge steam engine. It still works, and during selected events throughout the year, you may be lucky enough to ride it. Other exhibits look at the Union Pacific, and Grizzly Flats railroads (plus plenty more).

Address: 2201 S A St, Perris, CA 92570

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in California

33: Age of Steam RoundHouse Museum - Sugarcreek, OH

Age of Steam RoundHouse Museum - Sugarcreek, OH
Age of Steam RoundHouse Museum

This is one of the only railroad museums in the US with a working roundhouse. On select days of the year, you can tour the roundhouse and see the real preservation of history as experienced engineers fix the collection of locomotives stored here. There are lots of locomotives to see too, with a particular highlight being the Bessemer & Lake Erie No. 643 and the Compressed Air 0-4-0 No. 1.

Address: 213 Smokey Lane Rd SW, Sugarcreek, OH 44681

34: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum - Elbe, WA

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum - Elbe, WA
Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum | Dreamstime/Allard1

This museum is a little bit different since the main highlight is the railroad. Here, you can hop on a steam train and travel through Washington State, seeing gorgeous mountains, forests, and more. These beautiful trains will make it feel like you have stepped back in time. There are a few scenic train rides throughout the year, and since a trip starts at just $14, it may be worth heading out on one if you’re a fan of the railroad.

Address: 54124 Mountain Hwy E, Elbe, WA 98330

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Washington

35: Smoky Mountain Trains Museum - Bryson City, NC

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum - Bryson City, NC
Smoky Mountain Trains Museum | Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

The inside of the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum boasts one of the most beautiful and most detailed model railroads we’ve ever seen. The real highlight, however, is outside. Here, you’ll get to go on one of many different scenic train excursions through the Smoky Mountains, and if you know the Smokies, you’ll know just how gorgeous those views will be. The museum uses different rolling stock on the railroad, so you can really pick and choose what sort of experience you want.

Address: 100 Greenlee St, Bryson City, NC 28713

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in North Carolina

36: Lake Superior Railroad Museum - Duluth, MN

Lake Superior Railroad Museum - Duluth, MN
Lake Superior Railroad Museum

The Lake Superior Railroad Museum has a little bit of everything here. You’ve got freight equipment cars, old machinery for repairing locomotives, a replica of a depot, and plenty of trains. One of the highlights is the Hanna Mining Co. Electric Locomotive #307, which was built in 1928. They’ve got some legendary diesel locomotives too.

Address: 506 W Michigan St, Duluth, MN 55802

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Minnesota

37: Hesston Steam Museum - La Porte, IN

Hesston Steam Museum - La Porte, IN
Hesston Steam Museum | Dreamstime/Susan Sheldon

There’s a lot to do at the Hesston Steam Museum, including three different railroads. Two of them are miniature railroads, but you can also zip along a 2-mile narrow gauge line on a steam train. You’ll see just how powerful steam can be. Exhibits include an old sawmill, a steam crane, and a steam traction engine. Honestly, this museum is mostly about steam, so there are not many trains, but plenty of ways to see just how useful steam was for power back in the day.

Address: 1201 E 1000 N, La Porte, IN 46350

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Indiana

38: Union Pacific Railroad Museum - Council Bluffs, IA

Union Pacific Railroad Museum - Council Bluffs, IA
Union Pacific Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Adam Wineke

This museum celebrates the history of the Union Pacific Railroad. There aren’t any full trains to see here, unfortunately. However, you’ll walk through exhibits that chart the history of the railroad. This includes old uniforms, memorabilia from the route, and an exhibit dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, including some rarities from his own personal rail car that once traveled the Union Pacific Railroad.

Address: 200 Pearl St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Iowa

39: Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Portland, OR

Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Portland, OR
Oregon Rail Heritage Center

The Oregon Rail Heritage Center runs train rides every Saturday. If you come here any other day, you’ll get to see their three beautiful engines on display – Oregon Railway & Navigation 197, Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and Southern Pacific 4449. If you head on one of the train rides, you’ll head down the scenic Willamette River.

Address: 2250 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Also Read: Must Visit Places in Portland Oregon

40: Southern Arizona Transportation Museum - Tucson, AZ

Southern Arizona Transportation Museum - Tucson, AZ
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum | Dreamstime/Bradnixon9

This museum introduces you to the impact that the railroad had on Tucson. While there are plenty of exhibits here, the highlight is Steam Locomotive #1673, which was in the movie ‘Oklahoma’ in 1955. There are also a few old boxcars and some interactive exhibits where you can feel enveloped in the history of this area.

Address: 414 N Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Also Read: The Must See Sights in Tucson

41: Gold Coast Railroad Museum - Miami, FL

Gold Coast Railroad Museum - Miami, FL
Gold Coast Railroad Museum

This is one of the largest railway museums in the USA. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum has over 40 different locomotives on display, but the highlight is the Presidential Rail Car ‘Ferdinand Magellan’. There are other 3 miles of tracks here to display the locomotives, a model railroad room, and an exhibit dedicated to the Naval Air history of the area.

Address: 12450 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177

Also Read: Top Attractions & Things To Do in Miami

42: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum - Calera, AL

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum - Calera, AL
Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum | Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum has tons of steam and diesel locomotives, plus some freight equipment, passenger cars, and more. We’ve been here several times, and the highlight (for us) is a domed observation car, built for when people traveled by train for the scenery rather than getting from point A to point B. It is one of the only surviving domed observation cars.

Address: 1919 9th St, Calera, AL 35040

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Alabama

43: Seashore Trolley Museum - Kennebunkport, ME

Seashore Trolley Museum - Kennebunkport, ME
Seashore Trolley Museum | Dreamstime/Bratty1206

This museum is dedicated to public trolleys from their early history to the present. There’s even a ride-on exhibit where you can travel across the Atlantic Shore Line Railway, or at least part of it. The highlight of this museum is the Atlantic Shore Line 100 Locomotive.

Address: 195 Log Cabin Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Also Read: 15 Most Beautiful Lighthouses in Maine

44: San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum - San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum - San Luis Obispo, CA
San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

As this is a not-for-profit railroad museum, the collection is on the smaller side. However, there are still some highlights here. This includes the Pacific Coast Railway Boxcar 706, the Plymouth Diesel Switch #2038, and a La Cuesta 1926 Pullman Observation Car. There are plenty of people on hand to educate museum visitors about the importance of these transports to railroad history, and there is a cool little educational center to explore too.

Address: 1940 Santa Barbara Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

45: Western Mining Railroad Museum - Helper, UT

Western Mining Railroad Museum - Helper, UT
Western Mining Railroad Museum

This museum, mostly, focuses on the mining history in this part of Utah. This includes a mock-up of a coalmine, plus tons of old equipment from the operational mine (and some fossils too). There is a miniature train driving around, which is beautiful to look at. The real highlight, however, is when you take a trip to the top floor. From here, you can enjoy a stunning view of the modern trainyard that sits just below.

Address: 294 S Main St, Helper, UT 84526

Also Read: Best Attractions & Things To Do in Utah

FAQs about America's Best Railway Museums

What is the #1 railway museum in the United States?

The National Museum of Transportation (TNMOT) in St. Louis, Missouri, has been named the number one railway museum in the country.

What is the largest train museum in the US?

Located in Union, Illinois, the Illinois Railway Museum is the largest train museum in America, covering over 100 acres of land with more than 450 pieces of rolling stock on display.

What is the best train museum in the World?

One of the top train museums in the World is the National Railway Museum in York, England. It boasts an impressive collection of over 100 locomotives from different eras and countries, making it one of the largest collections globally.

Final Thoughts on the USA Train Museums

There you have it, thirty of the best railway museums in the USA. Railroad museums never fail to impress. These massive trains are a sight to see, even for those who aren't all that interested in trains to begin with. Whether you're a train enthusiast, have a general interest in trains, or just want to be a part of something quintessentially American, put one of these train museums on your list. You won't be disappointed!

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