Strasburg Railroad, Arcade & Attica Railroad

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Just curious if any members have visited the Strasburg Railroad or Arcade & Attica Railroad recently. I'm quite interested in visiting both. I went to the Arcade and Attica Railroad with my parents when I was a teenager in the 1970s and have positive memories of it. It sounds, though, that they are running their diesel switchers more and not using their steam locos that often?

    Maybe next year my family & I could visit the Strasburg Railroad but I'm still curious to see what people think of it, as it's a good 8 hours from Toronto. The A&A Railroad, however, is only about 3 hours away -- this is obviously much better but I sure hope they're running their steam engines!

  2. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

  3. Joepomp

    Joepomp Member

    Yes and no

    The trains on display in the museum are great! I would pass on the train ride offered its verry short and you can see the same view of Pency farms from the hi-way. There is also the US Model Train museum in the area (not sure if that is the exact name) and a nice model train store, I think it in Strasburg that is worth going to if your into that.:wave:
  4. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    Hi - as a lover of the Strasburg Railroad I have to give it a reccommend, though its the only classic steam engine place i know. Though Joe Pomp is right, the ride is relatively short (45 min total i think), IMHO the scenery isnt quite seen the same way by car than by train, especially given the beautiful passenger cars they have restored. A couple of tips to make it worth the 8 hour trip:

    1) take a picnic lunch with you on the ride. there is a fantastic little picnic grove that they will drop you off at, if desired, Groff's grove by name, that is really very pleasant, scenic -- and you get to watch the trains go by full steam! This will extend your train-ride "experience" to around an hour and half. Theres a playground, albeit modest, that my kids were sad to leave.
    2) make a day of it -- there is the railraod museum, there is the Choo Choo Barn (a rather large and well done model railroad -$5.50 to enter), and plenty of Amish attractions to give you a real local flavor. I think a very pleasant day could be spent there.
    3) you are visiting the Amish/Lancaster area, really, when you visit. Therefore, I would shack up at Willow Valley, a veritable resort, or a more modest and colloquial inn, for local flavor

    Drop me a line if you want more specific tips on making a nice day of it - ill give you the insiders tour, as really, i know that area like the back of my hand.. When ever i take my kids anyway, they dont want to leave

    hope that helps-
    kb kingbonk at gmail dot com
  5. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

  6. ren451

    ren451 New Member

    Be sure to check out the G-scale operators layout at the railroad museum. You can sign up for 1 on 1 classes to operate the layout and learn a lot about switching operations. There is also a layout for kids to operate and they can earn certificates for completing the courses. If you have young kids, I would recommend visiting Strasburg during one of the "Day out with Thomas" events.
  7. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    the red caboose in...i had forgotten the name, that's a good one. theres another cool little inn that you actually see as you ride past it on the train....i forget what that one is called too. but they even have (i think) a mini-train and petting zoo for the kiddies, lots of fun.

    one aspect about the ride i forgot to mention - they have (i think) a rather cool routine where they stop the train in mid-trip to catch a scenic view of a far off mountain. they speak of an old railroad that has long since passed, and they say, if your real quiet, you can hear the old trains respond in a ghostly whistle. so, after quieting everyone, they blast the locomotives whistle full-on and, from the distant mountain, approximately 4 seconds later, a stunningly clear echo of the whistle comes calling back. The adults, of course, know its an echo -- however, the kids are stunned: "DAD did you hear the ghost train!!!" You know those kids are hooked, in some fashion to the train life after that.

    The clincher is when the conductor sez "some of you might think that was an echo. Well we pay that ghost train $35 a day to whistle back at us." good fun.
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- all of this sounds great! It would be even better if the train ride were longer but it does sound good. Thanks for your note. Rob
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- yes, we have two young sons. So it sounds as if there would be stuff to interest everyone in the family! I appreciate your feedback -- it sounds very tempting! Rob
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, King Bonk. This is very informative and helpful. I appreciate your offer to provide additional info. As mentioned, we do have two young sons who would love the trains, especially the Thomas stuff and child-friendly model train layouts. And both my wife & I would enjoy the Amish attractions. We probably won't be able to go until next year but my family and another family are interested.

    We have a good heritage steam train about an hour northwest of Toronto where they also pull that "ghost train" trick! (See -- this is a great place to visit, if you're ever in the Toronto area!)

    Take care and thanks again. Rob
  11. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Rob - Strasburg to me is Railroad Heaven. Well worth the visit, and I can attest to all the previous posts - 2 thumbs up.... Now if only you could get to Strasburg without hitting all the various Outlet shops without your wife knowing about them - lol Bring your wallet for the outlets and your appetite for the food !!!!
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for all of these responses -- I'm more convinced than ever that we should go. Our boys would love it and there's lots of interest for all of us. I know I'd have to bring extra cash for the outlets -- it would be really hard to avoid them! I guess we just have to decide when, save up enough money, and work out how to best tackle the 8-hour drive. Thanks again, Rob
  13. ren451

    ren451 New Member

    The trick to an 8 hour car ride with kids: portable dvd player or gameboy. I couldn't have done Disney World without one. Just make sure you bring the headphones. Nothing is worse than listening to a movie while you drive.
  14. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Yes there is..... Listening to 2 teenage girls "Chat" endlessly -- while you drive :rolleyes: :cry: :rolleyes: :cry: :rolleyes:
  15. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, several people have recommended that. Our 5-year-old can hardly cope with a 2-hour jouney ("why's it taking so long? ... This is a really long time!") so an 8-hour journey would be quite an adventure. So we'd have to get a DVD player or something, or be prepared to take lots of breaks. It could end up being a 12-hour drive! Rob
  16. Jac's Lines

    Jac's Lines Member

    In the Rochester NY paper a couple weeks ago there was a short notice indicating that the Arcada and Attica has had to suspend excursions with the steam engine due to new federal regulations and insurance issues in New York State. The tone of the article suggested that it isn't coming back. :curse:

    Even so, the fall excursion train goes through some really beautiful scenery -- first or second weekend in October is probably the best. For a 3-day weekend trip from TO, the Rochester/Western NY area offers more than you'd expect: Arcade and Attica, Letchworth State Park (the "Grand Canyon of the East, with a 400-foot high railroad bridge over some massive falls), the wine country and the western finger lakes, as well as a couple of good kid's museums in Rochester (the Strong Museum is perfect for a 5 year old). There's also the big outlet mall in Waterloo, about 45 minutes further east of Rochester.

    I sound like the Western New York Tourist Board!

    If you do go to Strasburg, the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton PA is also well worth a visit. Depending on how you go, it should be right on your way. On weekends they offer a 3-hour steam excursion at Scranton, so more for your money than at Strasburg too. Just a thought.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks -- that's really interesting. Very frustrating about Arcade & Attica though!! WNY does sound like a great area for us to visit -- I haven't been there for years and my family never has. Also, the Steamtown National Historic Site and the 3-hour steam excursion sounds awesome! Thanks again ! Rob
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Robert: We may visit Strasburg/Lancaster over American Thanksgiving. We've been there before, and we'll be driving down with 2 cats, no kids.
    Strasburg has more train attractions per square foot than Union Station. The Strasburg RR serves the RR Museum of Pa across the street; the choochoo barn and a pile of RR shops. One road away is the Red Caboose motel and right next to that is the Train Collectors Association museum.
    There are a lot of good eating places -- at least one "family style" meal at one of the Amish/Mennonite restaurants (like the Good and Plenty). Lots of funny town names.
    Rte 30 through Lancaster is the outlet center road.
    Not far away (a day trip) are Roadside America -- an old fashioned attraction -- and Hershey, Pa., home of guess what?
    Depending on how you go, you can visit Horseshoe Curve at Altoona.
    If you time it right, you might find Mikey (NGauger) at the RR Museum.
  19. King Bonk

    King Bonk New Member

    FWIW i just bought tix to the Dec 2 "Day Out with Thomas" event at Strasburg and will therefore be there that day with my kids. I think I'll even push it further and stay/eat at some of these places. Tell you what Robert, I'll give you a full-scale review of your next-years trip ... when i go.

  20. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David. Strasburg is sounding more and more interesting all the time! I'd be very interested to hear how your trip goes. I think it's definitely worth going now -- just a matter of finding the time and money! Cheers, Rob

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