Train Station Museum, Woodsboro, Maryland

Old Train Station, Home of the Woodsboro Historical Society, Woodsboro, Maryland

Have you ever heard of the small town of Woodsboro, Maryland?  You have not heard of this famous Maryland town known as Woodsboro?  Well, most people have never heard of this town to probably include many who live in the region.  The town is named after Joseph Wood, a man born in Gloucester, England to whom the land grant was given.  The town was laid out in 1786 as Woodsberry.  The name changed a few times before it finally became Woodsboro.

Old Train Station and Railroad Line

What major events took place here?

Looking North from Maryland Route 550

As far as it is known, no major historic events took place here.  It is the home of two sites on the National Registry of Historic Places.  The one site is the LeGore Bridge, and the other site is the Woods Mill Farm.  For many years, it was also the home of the Rosebud Perfume Company which was founded in this town.  It is still the home of a few rock quarries.  No famous people were born here.  The town is in the midst of a region of famous towns of Frederick, a town of American Civil War battles and homes, the town of Thurmont, the home of Camp David, the United States Presidential retreat, Emmitsburg, the home of Elizabeth Seton, the first American born canonized saint who is also buried in a shrine named for her, and Gettysburg, the home of the great battle that was the turning point of the American Civil War.  Maryland Routes 194 and 550 are the only routes that pass through this town.

Looking South from the train Depot

Some of you are saying, “Well, that is interesting.  Here is this out of the way town that is out of the way with two national historic sites.  Is there anybody who saw any significance to this Maryland town called Woodsboro?”

The Interior of the Train Station

That is a good question.  You will have to say that the Pennsylvania Railroad saw this town as significant.  How?  They built a small railroad station here.  Yes, the small town of Woodsboro, Maryland had regular passenger and freight service that connected Frederick with the rest of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Pennsylvania.

The Ticket Window

Some of you are saying, “I see. I bet that when the Pennsylvania Railroad was taken over by the Penn Central Railroad, the tracks were taken up, and this small train station was demolished.  Now the little town of Woodsboro is on the list of old railroad town that no longer sees the railroad.”

Old U.S. Army Uniform on Display

If you were making a bet on this, you would lose.

Instruments from the Woodsboro Band

The Penn Central Railroad did continue freight service on this line until they abandoned it, but railroad service did not cease altogether.  The line itself only goes as far south as Walkersville with the Walkersville Southern Railroad running excursions at the southern end, and the Maryland Midland Railroad uses this line to serve a quarry that is in the town of Woodsboro.  It may not be as busy as it was during the days of the Pennsylvania Railroad, but trains still do pass here.

Three Jugs and a Stove

What about the old train station?

Old Mount Hope Cemetery Sign

The old train station is no longer an active train station.  Today, it is a small museum that tells the history of Woodsboro and displays artifacts not only from the town but from the American Revolutionary War to include an old uniform from a group known as the ‘Sons of America’.  You can also see old photos from the days when the railroad served the old depot and an old store across the street.  You will also see old street maps to include the map of the original tracks at the depot.  It may be a simple small depot, but it carries a whole lot of the history of Woodsboro to include its history as a railroad town.

Another view of the Station Interior

The Train Station Museum in Woodsboro, Maryland is owned and operated by the Woodsboro Historical Society.  The train station is at its original location at the railroad crossing at 6 Woodsboro Creagarstown Road (Maryland Route 550) in Woodsboro, Maryland.  It is open on the second Saturday of each month from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, or you can make an appointment to visit on your own time.  Admission is free, but they really appreciate any donation to keep the museum running for many generations to come.  Parking is on site.  Please note that the museum currently is not wheelchair accessible.  You can get more information about the museum at https://woodsborohistoricalsociety.org/.

Replica Military Uniform from the American Revolutionary War

So, do you think that there is anything significant about the small Maryland town of Woodsboro?  The Pennsylvania Railroad did, and the Maryland Midland Railway does today.  When you walk through the Train Station Museum, you will too.

Standing on the Train Platform Looking South

“The Pennypacker Express”

The Pennypacker Express: Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Parks, Trails and Historic Sites

This is ‘The Pennypacker Express’.  What is it? 

Some of you are saying, “It is probably a passenger train?  Many passenger trains have the name ‘Express’.”

So, you think that ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is a passenger train?  What if you were wrong about what you are thinking?  What if ‘The Pennypacker Express’ was something completely different?

Well, you do not have to answer those questions because ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is a passenger train, but it was not just any passenger train.  It was the personal transportation of Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker.  Who was Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker?  He served as the governor of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania from 1903 to 1907.  ‘The Pennypacker Express’ was how he traveled between the state capital of Harrisburg to his summer home, Pennypacker Mills.  It consisted of a locomotive and two passenger cars.  The rail line was a short walk from his home in Schwenksville across a creek to the Schwenksville depot.

Can you ride the train today?  The answer is no.  The tracks are gone and is now a rail trail.  The original depot burned down.  The last depot of Schwenksville is now a sandwich shop.  What happened to the train itself?  The answer is unknown although there is a claim that the governor’s personal car may be part of a local restaurant.  (The claim is currently under investigation.)

Another thing about ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is that not only did it have to do with Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, but the Pennypacker family has great roots in the railroad. The next time you are in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, make a visit to Pennypacker Mills.  Walk the trail where the Pennypacker Express once ran.  (It is paved and safe for wheelchairs.)  Both sites are owned and operated by Montgomery County Parks, Trails and Historic Sites.  You can learn more about Pennypacker Mills, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker and the Pennypacker family at https://www.montcopa.org/928/Pennypacker-Mills.

A Rail Trail that follows the path of ‘The Pennypacker Express’

A Town Called Shenandoah, Virginia

A Shop in Shenandoah, Virginia

You may have heard of Shenandoah National Park, the closest national park to Washington D.C. which mainly straddles atop a mountain ridge.  You may have heard of the Shenandoah Valley, a valley on the west side of the national park.  You may have heard of the Shenandoah River, one of the few rivers in the world that flow northward flowing through the Shenandoah Valley emptying into the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  You may have heard about a country music band called ‘Shenandoah’.  You may not have heard of the town of Shenandoah, Virginia.

What is Shenandoah, Virginia?  Is it some major city we have never heard of?  Did some great events happen there?  Is it the home of some great company or organization?

It began as Shenandoah Iron Works, Virginia.

Some of you are saying, “Well, that is a strange name for a town.”

Why was it named Shenandoah Iron Works?  When two brothers, Daniel, and Henry Forrer, established the town in 1837, it was because of the region was rich with iron ore and high-grade limestone, and with its proximity to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, the town had a water source and a means to transport goods to towns along the river.  Because of the rich minerals, it became the home of the Shenandoah Iron Works.  Other furnaces where built around the town.  It became an important town during the American Civil War as pig iron was made and shipped to other towns.  Shenandoah, Virginia may be a small town, but it has so much history behind it.

Some of you are saying, “This is all great.  I enjoy visiting Shenandoah National Park, and I enjoy the Shenandoah Valley.  I even enjoy the Shenandoah River. I do enjoy hearing country music from the band ‘Shenandoah’.  As for Shenandoah, Virginia, well, it is a small town.  With no railroads, this is a place I will not enjoy.”

Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see what is so special about a small town known as Shenandoah, Virginia.

As mentioned, the town was founded as Shenandoah Iron Works, Virginia.  It was named Shenandoah on March 8, 1890.  Although it was the home of the Shenandoah Iron Works, it later became a hub for the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, and the railroad played a major role in the economy of the town.  (The town was once named Milnes after William Milnes who was the President of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad.  He was a major contributor to the success of the town.)  The town began to erect itself along the railyard.  When the Norfolk and Western Railway came to the town, there was a roundhouse and machine shop built.  (They were burned in a fire in 1916.)  Along with iron ore and pig iron being transported, the town also had regular passenger service.

Today, the rail yard remains, and the passenger station is now a field office for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  The yard remains, and you can see the Norfolk Southern trains roll through.  You can walk along First Street and see a small steam locomotive encased in glass.  If you get hungry, the Box Car located across from the old passenger station is where you can grab a bite to eat.

The town of Shenandoah, Virginia is  in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia along U.S. 340 between Luray and Elkton.  The railroad yard is a few blocks west of U.S. 340.  Please note that the train depot is private property and is not open to the public.  Parking is on the street.  You can learn more about the history of the town at http://www.townofshenandoah.com/history.html.  Please note that it is a long read detailing the history of the town to include floods, the iron industry, and the work of William Milnes.

So, you know about Shenandoah National Park.  You know about the Shenandoah River.  You know about the Shenandoah Valley.  You know about the country music band Shenandoah.  Now learn about the town of Shenandoah, Virginia.  It is a town about the railroad.  It is a town worth seeing.

It Was the Night on the Train Before Christmas

The Train at the Platform in Baltimore

It was the night on the train before Christmas and through the passenger car

The conductor was watching over the passengers who were traveling very far

One man was eating chocolates that were tasty

It delighted him so very, very hasty

A young lady was curled and sleeping in her seat

She removed her shoes and socks from her feet

They were on the train going to their special destination

They were rested while riding the train across the nation

Although it was such a very quiet and restful night

The smiles on everyone’s faces were so very bright

There was not a cloud not one drop of rain

It was a lovely Christmas Eve riding on the train

Riding on the train on a night we call Christmas Eve

When the trains stop, I am afraid no one will leave

It is a great Christmas Eve for all of us

Now I wish you all a very Merry Christmas

Eagle Rock, Virginia

U.S. Route 220 Going Under Eagle Rock.

The small unincorporated town of Eagle Rock is in the western part of the U.S. state of Virginia that is situated off U.S. Route 220 between the railroad meccas of Roanoke and Clifton Forge.  It is situated on the Jackson River, the same James River, and it was a canal town on the James River and Kanawha Canal.  What is the town’s claim to fame?  It was the home to a lime kiln.  Limestone was mined from quarries in the region and brought here to be refined in the kiln.

Ruins of the Lime Kiln

How was the lime shipped from eagle rock?

The Ruins of an Oven.

In the beginning, it was shipped on barges through the canal.  When the canal system went under, the railroad played a major role in the shipment of the lime.  The Richmond and Alleghany Railroad converged at Eagle Rock and carried the lime to other parts of the country.

The Main Line

Today, the lime kiln is in ruins.  The main railroad line still passes through the town and is now operated by CSX.  The old train station also remains and it a short walk from the kiln ruins, but it across the tracks and is not open to the public.  As you walk around the ruins, you can see the old rail lines in the ground when the hoppers were loaded.  You can see what remains of the ovens and chimneys.  Although the grounds are accessible all day, you will need to watch your footing as the grounds are uneven, and it will be difficult for those in wheelchairs to traverse the grounds.  There is also a steep hill to drive down to access the parking area which may be difficult for larger vehicles.  The parking area is small, but there is plenty of nearby street parking.  If you are fortunate enough, CSX may reward your visit with a passing freight train.  Please note that there are no facilities (restroom) on site.

Old Service Rail Line in the Ruins

Eagle Rock, Virginia is located off U.S. Route 220 by way of Virginia Route 43.  It is thirty-two miles north of Roanoke (Interstate 81 and U.S. Routes 11, 221 and 460) and fifteen miles south of Clifton Forge (Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 60).

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois

You have New York City, New York as the Gateway to North America on the Atlantic Seaboard.  You have San Francisco, California as the Gateway to North America on the Pacific Seaboard.  These two major cities are at each end of Interstate 80.  What is so important about Interstate 80?  It passes through the southern region of the metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois, which is known as the Hub of North America.  How is Chicago the Hub of North America?  It has one of the busiest airports in the world (O’Hare).  The Chicago metropolis is served by seven major interstate routes and eight U.S. Routes.  As for railroads, Chicago is a railroad haven being served by more railroads than any other metropolis in North America, and it is the home of the Pullman National Historic Site.  In fact, Trains Magazine calls Chicago the Railroad Capital of America.  The city is the home of many industries and corporations, and there are many great historic sites and museums.  Among those museums is the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry focusses on, of course, science and industry.  There are many exhibits focusing on the different aspects of science, but with Chicago being an industry mecca, it has exhibits on the different industries.  A trip to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry takes you to many worlds all under one roof.

Tornado Exhibit

Some of you are saying, “You know?  Chicago is known for so many great things.  It has great sport teams and is considered the greatest sports city in America.  It is a great railroad city particularly for railroad watching.  As for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, it is about science, and it is about industry.  If it was called the Chicago Museum of Railroads, I will be delighted to visit this museum.  However, it is called the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry which is about science and industry and not railroads.  Therefore, I have made it a science to not visit this place.”

Electrical Turbine

It is called the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  Yes, it has science exhibits focusing on different aspects of science.  However, it is also a museum that focusses on industry.  Industry is a general term as you have all kinds of industry like farming and manufacturing.  There are many exhibits on industry.  One of these exhibits focus on the industry of transportation, known as the Transportation Gallery.  It focusses on air travel, sea travel, automobile travel, and it is here where you will find ‘The Great Train Story’.

The Chicago Subway, Part of ‘The Great Train Story’

Some of you are saying, “I have heard this before.  Little train, little train choo, choo, choo.  Goes down the track, woo, woo, woo.  This is such a dorky story for kids.  I have no interest in this stuff.”

Train Passing Under Arch Bridge in ‘The great Train Story’

You are so very sorely mistaken.  That is not what The Great Train Story is.  What is The Great Train Story?  You will be amazed.  The Great Train Story is a large model train display.  The display depicts different regions from urban to rural to mountains to flatlands to major cities to small towns to the farms to the ocean ports.  Each section of this display has a story to tell.

At the Refinery, The Great Train Story

Some of you are saying, “Well, that sounds like something to see.”

Train on the Plain in The Great Train Story

It is, but there is more to the Transportation Gallery at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

The Warehouse at The Great Train Story

While in the Transportation Gallery, you will notice a steam locomotive.  What is this steam locomotive?  It is called ‘The Empire State Express’, Number 999.  The name come from the fact that it was used by the New York Central System to pull trains between New York City across the state of New York to the city of Buffalo.  The real special thing about this locomotive is that it was once the record holder for the fastest train ever.  Sadly, that record was broken ten years later, but it is here at the museum where you can easily board the locomotive.  No, you are not able to test the speed of the locomotive while it is in the museum.

Number 999 ‘Empire State Express’ of the New York Central System

Also, in the Transportation Gallery, you can also see a replica of ‘The Rocket’, and earlier style locomotive. Originally built in England, it was this locomotive that future steam locomotives would be designed after.  Its wooden boiler and steel stack and large driving wheels, it had a unique and attractive style like many of the nineteenth century locomotives.  You can also climb aboard the Number 532 streetcar.  Sadly, it does not go anywhere, but you can get a glimpse of a trolley ride when trolleys where the form of transportation in many major cities.

The ‘Rocket’

Some of you are saying, “Well, I guess that is all they have about railroads.”

Trolley Number 532

Not exactly.

Waterfall and Bridge, The Great Train Story

Along with the industry of transportation to include railroad transportation, you also have another industry that uses railroads: the mining industry.

Old Coal Mining Car

Welcome to the Old Ben Number 17 Coal Mining Company.  Well, it is not an actual coal mine, but it is a replica of an Illinois mine.  Therefore, you will not have to worry about coal dust or being trapped in a real mine.  Oh, while you are waiting, you will not be out in the elements but inside the confines of the museum.  Well, it is time.  The tour guide gives you the safety brief.  It may not be a real coal mine, but the safety briefing is still important.  Now, you step onto the elevator that takes you deep into the mine.  You arrive at the bottom.  You walk into the room and wait.  For what?  The mine train pulls up.  Oh, you get to ride this one.  You get onto to the cramped car, and you ride around.  You reach your stop and get off.  The tour guide tells you the different things about mining and how things work.  Oh, be advised.  This is a replica mine, not a real one.  You arrive at the end of the tour, and you head back up to the surface, I mean, museum.

Coal Miner

You think this is it.  You are not finished yet.

Climb aboard the Pioneer Zephyr and enjoy a fast luxury ride.  Well, the train never leaves the museum, but you can tour the train and see what it was like to travel in style in the glory days of train travel.  It will feel like you are on your way across the Midwest of America, but you will forget that you are in a museum.

The Pioneer Zephyr

Now, are you still going to say that you are not going to visit this museum?  You have been given many reasons why you should.  Along with the railroad displays, there are many other great things to see here to include the U-505 Submarine, ‘Yesterday’s Main Street’ and Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.  It is also the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.  You will need a few hours and maybe an entire day to see everything here.

The U-505

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 South Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Route 41) at the north end of Jackson Park.  It is open year-round, but hours vary by time of year.  Parking is paid underground garage parking which can be helpful during the cold winter months.  You can get all of the information you need at https://www.msichicago.org/.

‘Yesterday’s Main Street’

Whenever you are in the ‘Windy City’ of Chicago, Illinois, make sure you get enough wind to get you to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  See the Great Train Story, the Empire State Express, the Rocket, the 532 and the Pioneer Zephyr.  While there, mine some coal in the coal mine.  On second thought, you better not do that as other visitors will need to see the coal as well.  Most important of all, enjoy your visit at the museum.

The Old Norfolk and Western Railway Station, Roanoke, Virginia

The Old Norfolk and Western Railway Station in Roanoke, Virginia

The city of Roanoke, Virginia, located in the southwest region of the state, is referred to as the ‘Star City of the South’.  How does that city get that name?  Well, it is the home of the largest mad-made star in the world.  It sits on top of Mill Mountain and overlooks downtown and the Roanoke Valley.  The great thing about Roanoke is that it is a big railroad city with the main line going through the heart of downtown.  It was the hub for the Norfolk and Western Railroad and for the Virginian Railroad, and it was a hub for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  It was here at the shops where the Class J locomotives were built, and it is where the Class J Norfolk and Western Number 611 makes its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.  Being a mecca of railroading, Roanoke is the home of three surviving train depots.  The original ‘Big Lick’ train depot is at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.  Just a few blocks from downtown is the old Virginian Railroad depot that is now used for renting out for events.  Then you have the old Norfolk and Western Railway Station.  It may not be as grand as the original Penn Station in New York City, but it has a little grandeur for a city like Roanoke, Virginia.

A Model of the Norfolk and Western Railway Class J Locomotive 611

Yes, the old Norfolk and Western Railway Station was a fine station for a city like Roanoke that could have challenged many of the big city train stations.  Unlike the original Penn Station in New York City, this station was preserved.  Only the train platforms have been removed.  Although the trains do not stop here, you can still see the trains go by.

Model Train

So, what is the old Norfolk and Western Railway Station used for today?  Well, it has three purposes.

The Norfolk and Western Number 1218 on Display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. This was O. Winston Link’s Favorite Locomotive.

First, it is the home of the Roanoke Valley Visitor Center.  Yes, this is another train depot that has ended up as a visitor center, but this visitor center has a little of a grand entrance with the high ceilings and the marble walls and floors.  It will feel like you are in a grand train station except that the only trains that are here a large-scale-models encased in glass.  If your feet get tired, feel free to sit on the original passenger benches.  You can also check out the gift shop while you are here.

The Old Big Lick Train Depot on Display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation

What is the second purpose?

Behind the Old Train Station. The Passenger Trains Would have Stopped Here.

It is the home of the History Museum of Western Virginia displaying the way of life in the region.  The displays include the history of Roanoke and a land grant deed signed by Thomas Jefferson, the drafter, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States of America.

The Norfolk and Western Railway Number 611, a Class J Locomotive Built in Roanoke and is the Last Surviving Class J.

What is the third purpose?

Number 611

It is the home of the O. Winston Link Museum.  Who is O. Winston Link?  Ogle Winston Link is known as the last photographer of the steam locomotive.  Although he was from New York and passed away there, he had a big heart for the city of Roanoke.  Why?  As mentioned, Roanoke is a big railroad city, and the Norfolk and Western Railway had their shops in Roanoke.  Yes, other cities and towns had railroads shops, but the Norfolk and Western Railway was special to O. Winston Link.  What was special about the Norfolk and Western Railway?  It was the last railroad in the United States of America to pull their trains with steam locomotives.  For many decades, most railroads were using diesel locomotives, but the Norfolk and Western Railway continued to use steam locomotives into the 1950’s.  Many of his photograph’s are on display at the museum all in black and white.  What was his favorite photograph?  His was very fond on the Norfolk and Western Number 1218.  In his last will and testament, he stated that Number 1218 was to be on display for all to see next to the Norfolk and Western Railway Station.  Sadly, due to concerns of protecting the locomotive from danger and vandalism, it was not put on display at the station.  Instead, it was put on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation where it stands today.  Even though it was born from the shops of the Norfolk and Western Railway, it stands as a testament of O. Winston Link to this day.

Norfolk and Western Railway 2156

The Norfolk and Western Railway Station is at 101 Shenandoah Avenue NE in Roanoke, Virginia.  It is just minutes from Interstate 581 and U.S. Routes 11, 220 and 221.  It is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday to Saturday.  (Closed on Sunday and Monday.)  Limited parking is available at the train station.  Otherwise, there is street parking.  Admission is required.  You can get more information at https://roanokehistory.org/.  The Visitor Center is operated by the Roanoke Valley Office of Tourism.  The History Museum of Western Virginia and the O. Winston Link Museum are operated by the Historical Society of Western Virginia.  To see the Norfolk and Western 1218, you can go to the Virginia Museum of Transportation at http://www.vmt.org/.

Norfolk and Western Railway Number 6 at the Virginia Museum of Transportation

The next time you are in southwestern Virginia, head to Roanoke.  Head to the old Norfolk and Western Railway Station.  Come be where the railroad is the ‘star’ attraction.

The Mill Mountain Star, Roanoke, Virginia

“A Train of Thankfulness”

The Depot at the Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown, Pennsylvania

Welcome aboard the ‘Train of Thankfulness’.  This train is made up of cars that we can be thankful for on this Thanksgiving.  So, let us go to the yard and start putting this train together.

Number 1776 of the Norfolk and Western Railway on Display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia

Of course, we must begin with the locomotive.

Next car is the Northern Central Railway of New Freedom, Pennsylvania

Next car is Act 1 Productions

Next car is the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum in Fairfax Station, Virginia

Next car is the city of Manassas, Virginia

Next car is the National Park Service

Next car is the Smithsonian Institution

Next car is the Pioneer Tunnel and Steam Train in Ashland, Pennsylvania

Next car is the town of Strasburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Prince William County Model Railroad Club of Manassas, Virginia

Next car is the Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland

Next car is the town of Luray, Virginia

Next car is Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia

Next car is the Shenandoah Caverns in Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia

Next car is the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia

Next car is Long Bridge Park in Crystal City, Virginia

Next car is the Black River and Western Railroad in Ringoes, New Jersey

Next car is Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia

Next car is the Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg, Virginia

Next car is the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad in Romney, West Virginia

Next car is the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton, Pennsylvania

Next car is the city of Lynchburg, Virginia

Next car is the Wilmington and Western Railroad in Greenbank, Delaware

Next car is the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad in Titusville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Wanamaker, Kempton and Southern Railroad in Kempton, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Everett Railroad Company in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina

Next car is the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

Next car is Kinzua Bridge State Park in Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Biltmore in Ashville, North Carolina

Next car is The Train Room in Hagerstown, Maryland

Next car is the Suffolk Seaboard Railroad Museum in Suffolk, Virginia

Next car is the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum in Hagerstown, Maryland

Next car is the Western Maryland Railway Museum in Union Bridge, Maryland

Next car is the Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Next car is the Sykesville and Patapsco Model Railroad Club in Sykesville, Maryland

Next car is the town of Bowie, Maryland

Next car is the Railroad Museum in Bowie, Maryland

Next car is the Perryville Railroad Museum in Perryville, Maryland

Next car is the Lincoln Train Museum in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Baltimore Society of Model Railroad Engineers in Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is the Baltimore Streetcar Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is Fort Monroe in Fort Monroe, Virginia

Next car is the Model Train Exhibit at Merchants Square in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Railroad Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth, Virginia

Next car is Ashcroft Hall and Gardens in Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the Jefferson Depot Village in Jefferson, Ohio

Next car is the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport, Maryland

Next car is Norlo Park in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio

Next car is Harris Tower in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers at Leakin Park in Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is the Rappahannock Railroad Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Next car is ‘Montpelier’ in Orange, Virginia

Next car is the Warther Carving Museum in Dover, Ohio

Next car is Gathland State Park in Burkittsville, Maryland

Next car is the Lincoln Train Station in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the town of Brunswick, Maryland

Next car is the Brunswick Heritage Museum in Brunswick, Maryland

Next car is the Gettysburg National Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Danbury Railroad Museum in Danbury, Connecticut

Next car is the Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Next car is ‘Roadside America’ in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the ‘Greenbrier’ in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Next car is the Princeton Railroad Museum in Princeton, West Virginia

Next car is Ontelaunee Park in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Winchester Little Theater in Winchester, Virginia

Next car is the Chesapeake and Ohio Depot Museum in Covington, Virginia

Next car is the Youth Museum, Beckley in West Virginia

Next car is the John Henry Historical Park in Talcott, West Virginia

Next car is Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland

Next car is the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia

Next car is Liberty State Park, Jersey City in New Jersey

Next car is the Old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey

Next car is the ‘Statue of Liberty’ in Jersey City, New Jersey

Next car is the Baltimore and Ohio Roundhouse in Martinsburg, West Virginia

Next car is the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, Connecticut

Next car is the Gaithersburg Community Museum in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Next car is the West Virginia Railroad Museum, Elkins in West Virginia

Next car is the Hagerstown Railroad Museum at City Park in Hagerstown, Maryland

Next car is the Old Stevensville Depot in Stevensville, Maryland

Next car is the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston, Connecticut

Next car is the Old Lorton Workhouse Center in Lorton, Virginia

Next car is the Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum in Martinsburg, West Virginia

Next car is the Burke Lake Railroad at Burke Lake Park in Burke, Virginia

Next car is Kalmbach Publishing

Next car is Trains Magazine

Next car is the Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, Maryland

Next car is the Town of Thurmond, West Virginia

Next car is the Richmond Railroad Museum in Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut

Next car is the New River Gorge National Park in Fayetteville West Virginia

Next car is the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg, Maryland

Next car is the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland

Next car is the Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum and Joy Line Railroad in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Next car is the Whippany Railway Museum in Whippany, New Jersey

Next car is the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the town of Herndon, Virginia

Next car is the Star Barn Village at Stone Gables and Ironstone Ranch in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Dennison Depot Museum in Dennison, Ohio

Next car is the Isset Heritage Museum in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

Next car is the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio

Next car is the National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart, Indiana

Next car is the Heritage Farm and Village in Huntington, West Virginia

Next car is EnterTrainment Junction in West Chester, Ohio

Next car is the town of Warrenton, Virginia

Next car is the town of Georgetown, Delaware

Next car is the town of Minersville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Number 113 Restoration Project in Minersville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the town of Felton, Delaware

Next car is the Medina Railroad Museum in Medina, New York

Next car is the Marshall County Museum in Plymouth, Indiana

Next car is the Pullman National Historic Site in Chicago, Illinois

Next car is the town of Danville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post Train Shop in Middlefield, Ohio

Next car is the Erie Zoo in Erie, Pennsylvania

Next car is Pennypacker Mills in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Next car is Knoebel’s Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Next car is Manassas National Battlefield in Manassas, Virginia

Next car is the Gallitzin Tunnels in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Train Station Museum in Everett, Pennsylvania

Next car is the town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Next car is the Tour Ed Mine in Tarentum, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, Ohio

Next car is the Railroad Memorial Park in Ridgely, Maryland

Next car is the Stan Hywet Museum and Gardens in Akron, Ohio

Next car is the Stewartstown Railroad in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the West Chester Railroad in West Chester, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Salamanca Railroad Museum in Salamanca, New York

Next car is the Swigart Antique Auto Museum in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio

Next car is Northlandz in Flemington, New Jersey

Next car is Leesylvania State Park in Rippon Landing, Virginia

Next car is Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio

Next car is Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Linthicum, Maryland

Next car is Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, Ohio

Next car is the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, Virginia

Next car is the Iron and Steel Heritage Center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois

Next car is the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio

Next car is the town of Eagle Rock, Virginia

Next car is the town of Shenandoah, Virginia

Next car is the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Heritage Village in Muddy Creek Forks, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Train Station Museum in Woodsboro, Maryland

Next car is Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Old Train Station in Amherst, Virginia

Next car is the Attica and Arcade Railroad in Arcade, New York

Next car is the Walkersville Southern Railroad in Walkersville, Maryland

Next car is the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana

Next car is the Benjamin Banneker Historic Site in Ellicott City, Maryland

Next car is the town of Centreville, Maryland

Next car is the town of Thomas, West Virginia

Next car is the Old Train Station, New Oxford, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Durbin Rocket in Durbin, West Virginia

Next car is the Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, West Virginia

Next car is the Cassie Seaboard Railroad (CSX)

Next car is the Norfolk Central Railroad

Next car is the Union Pacific Railroad

Next car is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Next car in the Martinsburg Roundhouse in Martinsburg, West Virginia

Next car in the Model Train Display at Merchants Square in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio

Next car is the Star Barn at Stone Gables in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Next is the Warther Carving Museum in Dover, Ohio

Next car the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the Stewartstown  Railroad in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania

Next car is the Train Room in Hagerstown, Maryland

Next car is Norlo Park in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Next car is Maries Candies in West Liberty, Ohio

Next car is the Cumberland Valley Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Next car is Amtrak

Next car is the National Railroad Historical Society

Next car is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF)

Next car is the city of Roanoke, Virginia

Next car is the town of Ridgely, Maryland

Next car is the city of Richmond, Virginia

Next car is the city of Baltimore, Maryland

Next car is the Strasburg Railroad in Ronks, Pennsylvania

Next car is the town of Point of Rocks, Maryland

Next car is the city of Elkhart, Indiana

Next car is the town of Berkeley Springs, Virginia

Next Car is the Coolfont Resort in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Next car is the city of Cumberland, Maryland

And we end the train with something that ended trains in the old days: the good old caboose.

Caboose Number 90324 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, West Virginia

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I thank everyone who is a part of this train.  I hope that this train gets longer as we add more cars.

The Arcade and Attica Railroad Passenger Train at the Depot in Arcade, New York

Special thanks to the Audobon Society in Bethesda, Maryland, the Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, The Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia, the Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, West Virginia, and the Arcade and Attica Railroad in Arcade, New York.

“Roadside America”: The End of a Great Icon

There are those who have had the great privilege of visiting an attraction in the small town of Shartlesville, Pennsylvania known as Roadside America. It was a model train display that depicted landscapes across the entire United States of America, and it was the work of one man who built the display by hand not using one kit. Each bridge and structure was hand built, and the waterfalls and fountains used real water. The man who built this attraction passed away in the 1960’s, and the display was left alone. To the present day, the display that you saw was what you would have seen in the 1960’s. It is with great sadness that the owners of Roadside America have decided to closed the attraction. They tried to get someone to buy the attraction, but there was no one who made a commitment. For those who were able to see this attraction were fortunate to see a masterpiece. Sadly, those days are gone.

The Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

The Old Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

The Ohio State Reformatory was a prison, like many reformatories across the United States of America, where many of the toughest criminals were kept.  Through the years, the facility was in decline as the conditions began to deteriorate.  The inmates were eventually moved out, and the facility was closed in 1990.  The facility was later reopened as a tourist attraction, and it was used as a movie set for ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.  Today, you can take a tour of the facility and see the old cells and the places where the movie was filmed.  There are self-guided tours and guided tours.  Come and visit a piece of Ohio’s history.

Part of the Shawshank Redemption Movie Set

Some of you are saying, “This is nice.  They were able to save this place and make it a tourist attraction.  This place must have many stories to tell.  There is one big problem.  This is a jail.  A jail is where people go to get punished when they break the law.  The place was surrounded by a fence with armed guards on duty.  There are no railroads here.  Therefore, I will not be spending any time in this place.”

The Warden’s Desk and Office.

It was a jail.  It was where criminals were kept.  How did the criminals get here?  Some were brought in on a prison bus, but some came by train.  Yes, the railroad brought prisoners to this facility.  The railroad line is on the west side of the reformatory behind a fence is still an active line.  (This part of the reformatory is currently not accessible to the public.)  When the facility was open, the train pulled up to a special entrance, accompanied by armed guards, and then checked in before being sent to their cells.  For those who were going to be spending time here, it was not an enjoyable ride on the train.

The Railroad Line That Brought Prisoners to the Reformatory. The Bridge in the Distance is U.S. 30, the Famous ‘Lincoln Highway’.

The Ohio State Reformatory is owned and operated by the Ohio State Reformatory Preservation Society.  It is at 100 Reformatory Road in Mansfield, Ohio.  It is just off U.S. Route 30 and minutes from Interstate 71.  It is open year-round, but hours and days open do vary in different times of the year.  Many tours options are available, and parking is available on site.  Please note that due to the historic nature, the much of the facility is not handicap accessible.  However, there is a tour that is handicap accessible where you see the Museum Store, the Scofield Café, the Corrections Museum, the Mailroom, the East and West Cellblocks, the East and West Showers, the solitary confinement area, the bullpen and mini-bullpen and the Central Guard Room.  By the way, the tour guides will give assistance if necessary.  Yes, everyone will have a great time visiting the Ohio State Reformatory, and the great people at the reformatory will see to it that you enjoy every minute of it.  You can get more information about the Ohio State Reformatory and read more into the reformatory at https://www.mrps.org/.

A Prisoner’s Cell.

Come see a piece of Ohio history that has a little railroad history.  Be warned.  You will end up in jail… and enjoy every minute of it.

The Hallway.