A Guide To Dinner Trains, 2016

Dinner trains are a relatively new type of tourist train experience, as they hearken back to the days when one could enjoy first class cuisine when traveling by train. Today's dinner trains, while not offering nearly as long of a trip (usually a few hours), feature excellent meals that usually accompany a show or play on board the train (or sometimes you can simply enjoy your food while watching the scenery pass by). A few tourist line also offer wine or beer tasting aboard their trains. This section covers these dinner trains (broken down by state), as well as regular tourist railroads, which feature a dinner and/or meal.  Please note that only those excursions that offer these upscale accommodations are included here, not every known tourist line operating around the country. 

The dinner train concept has caught on in recent years as an added experience to excursion trains.  It has certainly witnessed an increase in ridership on some operations while others such as the Napa Valley Wine Train and My Old Kentucky Dinner Train tailor their services almost (or entirely) exclusively to offering meals with the experience of traveling by rail.  Such fine dining is virtually non-existent via intercity rail travel today unless one can afford a pricey charter trip or owns a private, personal railcar (this is actually very possible but also very expensive!).  In any event, please visit the links below to learn more about each state's current dinner train services (if available).

Additional Tourist Train Information, Trips By State

Alabama, Riding The Rails Through The Heart Of Dixie

Alaska, Experience The Breathtaking Scenery Of The Last Frontier

Arizona, Reach The Grand Canyon By Train

Arkansas, Ride The Arkansas & Missouri And Other Excursions

California, Home To A Wide Range Of Steam And Diesel-Powered Excursions

Colorado, Go Back In Time On The Fabled Narrow-Gauge Cumbres & Toltec Scenic And Durango & Silverton

Connecticut, Home Of The Essex Steam Train

Florida, Home To Dinner Trains And Steam-Powered Trips

Georgia, Enjoy A Wide Range Of Train Rides In The Peach State

Hawaii, Keeping Alive The State's Narrow-Gauge Railroad History

Illinois, Home To One Of The Country's Largest, The Illinois Railway Museum

Indiana, Experience The French Lick Scenic Railway And Other Trips

Iowa, Ride The Popular Boone & Scenic Valley Railway

Kansas, Showcasing A Few Trips By Rail

Kentucky, Home Of The "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train"

Maine, Riding The State's Fabled Narrow-Gauge Railroads

Maryland, Enjoy The Steam-Powered Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Massachusetts, Featuring Several Popular Excursion Trains

Michigan, Home Of The Popular Huckleberry Railroad And "The Polar Express" Steam Locomotive, Pere Marquette #1225

Minnesota, Preserving The State's Rich Rail History

Missouri, Home Of The Popular Branson Scenic Railway

Nebraska, Ride The State's Only Excursion, The Fremont & Elkhorn Valley

Nevada, Experience The Legendary Virginia & Truckee

New Hampshire, Enjoy The State's Gorgeous Scenery By Rail

New Jersey, Preserving Its Railroad History

New Mexico, Ride The Fabled Narro-Gauge Cumbres & Toltec Scenic

New York, Offering Numerous Excursions To Enjoy The State's Scenic Beauty

North Carolina, Home Of The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad And Other Trips

Ohio, Enjoy The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad And Other Rides

Oklahoma, Where You Can Enjoy A Few Trips By Rail

Oregon, Excursions On The Popular Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad And Others

Pennsylvania, Home Of The World-Famous Strasburg Railroad

South Carolina, Trips At The South Carolina Railroad Museum

Tennessee, Enjoy Train Rides Through The Appalachians

Texas, Home Of The Steam-Powered Texas State Railroad

Washington, Experience The State's Beauty By Rail

West Virginia, Through The Mountain State's Breathtaking Backcountry

Wisconsin, Enjoy The Ever-Popular Wisconsin Great Northern

Alaska Dinner Train Rides

Alaska Railroad:  Alaska does not feature any true dinner trains. However, the Alaska Railroad, which hosts regularly scheduled passenger service does offer dining services aboard their trains. The ARR offers some of the most spectacular scenery by rail that can be found anywhere in the United States. A trip aboard the railroad, in general, is well worth it if you have the opportunity to do so.

Arizona Dinner Train Rides

Grand Canyon Railway: Does not offer dining service but does feature snacks and appetizers aboard their train.

Verde Canyon Railroad: The Verde Canyon offers appetizers and alcoholic drinks in their first-class accommodations and also features dinner train rides a few times during the course of the season.

Arkansas Dinner Train Rides

Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway: Offers dinner service aboard their dining car, including wine and champagne.

California Dinner Train Rides

California Western Skunk Train: Typically the Skunk Train does not feature dining services. However, during the summer months they offer riders a barbecue along the way at Northspur.

Fillmore & Western Railway: The Fillmore & Western features dinner and live entertainment in the way of a murder mystery train.

Napa Valley Wine Train: Perhaps the best dinner train experience you can enjoy, country-wide, the Wine Train features a wide range of dinner options (including wine) aboard their train which operates through the beautiful Napa Valley region.

Nevada County Traction Company: Once a week this narrow-gauge excursion train offers a barbecue dinner and live entertainment.

Rail Journeys West: Less of a true dinner train, Rail Journeys West offers private rail car services if you plan to travel by train (i.e., such as via Amtrak). This service truly hearkens back to the "Golden Age" of rail travel with full meals provided as well as entertainment.

Roaring Camp Railroad: Throughout the year the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad operates special dinner trains that feature entertainment.

Sierra Railroad: Operated by the same group which owns the Skunk Train the Sierra Railroad offers their Sierra Railroad Dinner Train, which features both dinner and entertainment.

Twilight Dinner Train: Operated by the San Diego Railroad Museum this 12-mile round trip offers full dining services aboard their train (including wine).

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad: During select times throughout the operating season the railroad operates specials known as the Moonlight Special, which feature dinner and entertainment.

Colorado Dinner Train Rides

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad: One of the most famous excursion trains country-wide offering spectacular views of southern Colorado the Durango & Silverton also offers special events and trains throughout the operating season that include lunches and barbecues.

Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad: Offers special train rides throughout the season that include both barbecues and served boxed lunches.

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad: Offers connecting service to the Durango & Silverton this tourist railroad also features food service in their dome car.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad: The Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers several different meal services aboard their trains from lunch trains to dinner and murder mystery trains.

Connecticut Dinner Train Rides

Essex Steam Train: This excursion train offers a full service dinner train as well as available murder mystery special.

Naugatuck Railroad: Part of the Railroad Museum of New England the Naugatuck Railroad offers wine tasting once a year in May and other special trains throughout the season.

Delaware Dinner Train Rides

Wilmington & Western Railroad: The Wilmington & Western offers several different types of train trips, including five different dinner trains.

Florida Dinner Train Rides

Seminole Gulf Railway: The Seminole Gulf Railway is actually a freight railroad which hosts a very popular Murder Mystery Dinner Train that is well known for the on board meals served.

Georgia Dinner Train Rides

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: Does not offer full service meals but a few of their special trips does include boxed lunches.

Idaho Dinner Train Rides

Thunder Mountain Line: The Thunder Mountain Line is part of freight railroad Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad. The tourist railroad features several dinner trains and specials throughout the year, many of which include live music/entertainment.

Indiana Dinner Train Rides

Indiana Transportation Museum: The museum operates excursion trains on their property and features a number of dinner trains throughout the operating season.

Whitewater Valley Railroad: The tourist railroad does not feature on board meals but does offer its Twilight Limited Train to Dinner where it takes riders to the nearby Laurel Hotel for dinner, and then returns.

Iowa Dinner Train Rides

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad: The Boone & Scenic Valley offers three different dinner-style trips aboard their trains including a dinner train, dessert train, and picnic train.

Kansas Dinner Train Rides

Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad: This ten-mile excursion train features a dinner train during select times of the year.

Kentucky Dinner Train Rides

Big South Fork Scenic Railway: This tourist train does not necessarily feature first-class dining, although it does offer a "Coal Miner's Lunch" for an additional ticket fee along their 16-mile round trip through the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

Cincinnati Railway: The Cincinnati Railway offers both private rail car services and a full service dinner train, which includes live entertainment and music.

Lexington Dinner Train:  This dinner train is operated by RJ Corman and is the second put into service after the "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train."  It provides similar, upscale accommodations with departures from Lexington offering a 15-mile ride to Versailles.  To learn more please visit their website.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train: Operated by the RJ Corman Railroad Group, a corporation which owns a number of shortlines, this train is based in is based in Bardstown and operates two to three days a week from during the summer season and at least once a week all year long. The train has become well-known for the on board meals served.

Kentucky Railway Museum: The Kentucky Railway Museum operates excursion trains on its property including a dinner train once a month from May through October.

Maine Dinner Train Rides

Maine Eastern Railroad: Operating between Rockland and Brunswick this freight and tourist railroad serves cafe-style snacks and refreshments during the journey that is climate-controlled.

Maryland Dinner Train Rides

Walkersville Southern Railroad: The Walkersville Southern offers several special trains throughout the year that serve either refreshments or full-service meals on board in their available dining car (they also offer dinner trains and murder mystery specials).

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad: The WMSR has become one of the most popular tourist trains in the country operating between Cumberland and Frostburg. They feature many different trains throughout the season including murder mystery specials (that include full-service meals).

Massachusetts Dinner Train Rides

Cape Cod Central Railroad: The Cape Cod Central Railroad offers a handful of different trains which include some type of on board meal. One of these is the Elegant Dinner Train, which features a gourmet meal.

Michigan Dinner Train Rides

Adrian & Blissfield Railroad: The Adrian & Blissfield Railroad operates the Old Road Dinner Train and features both a standard dinner and train ride as well as a murder mystery special.

Little River Railroad: The Little River Railroad features a dinner train usually once a month during the summertime operating season. They also operate trains the include an available lunch.

Minnesota Dinner Train Rides

North Shore Scenic RailroadOperated by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum the North Shore Scenic offers a host of dinner trains from their Elegant Dinner Train to murder mystery specials.

Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway: Operated by the Minnesota Transportation Museum this tourist train features available brunch and dinner trains during the operating season between May and October.

Missouri Dinner Train Rides

Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad: The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad does not feature full service meals aboard their trains. However, they do offer "Family Food and Fun Trains" a few times during the summer season.

Branson Scenic Railway: The Branson Scenic Railway features a 40-mile round trip on their excursion train and offers a dinner train during the operating season between April and October.

St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway: The St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway does not offer a full course meal with any of their excursion trains. However, they do offer available luncheons with their group charter options.

Montana Dinner Train Rides

Charlie Russell Chew ChooA sometimes forgotten dinner train operation is the Charlie Russell Chew Choo based in Lewistown along the only former Milwaukee Road trackage still intact in the west-central region of the state. The train covers 28 miles and operates nearly every weekend during the summer season.

Nevada Dinner Train Rides

Nevada Northern Railway: Operated by the Nevada Northern Railway Museum this tourist train offers several different dinner-type trains including BBQ trains, wine trains, charters, the Chocolate Express, and others.

Nevada Southern Railway: The Nevada Southern Railway does not offer on board meals with their trains but does offer available charters for whatever event you may be having.

New Hampshire Dinner Train Rides

Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train: The Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train based in Woodstock features only dinner trains, which operates four days a week including weekends.

Conway Scenic Railroad: The Conway Scenic Railroad is one of the more popular tourist trains in the country which features first-class dining services on some of their trains as you enjoy your journey through beautiful New England in the Mt. Washington Valley.

Hobo Railroad: Despite its name the Hobo Railroad offers excellent tourist train rides, which include special trains and dinner trains.

New Mexico Dinner Train Rides

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Another of the more revered tourist trains in the country the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad operates former D&RGW narrow-gauge lines in Colorado and New Mexico. The railroad does not feature dining services but does include refreshments and snacks in all the levels of services it provides.

Santa Fe Southern Railway: The Santa Fe Southern Railway features numerous different special trains that include some type of dinner or on board refreshments.  This operation recently changed management and new ownership plans to offer significantly upscale accommodations and dinner options on board its trips.

New York Dinner Train Rides

Adirondack Scenic RailroadWhile the Adirondack Scenic does not offer on board meals a number of their special trains operated throughout the year does include the addition of their cafe car, which also includes some alcoholic beverages.

Arcade & Attica Railroad: The A&A hosts a number of special trains throughout the operating season including wine tasting trains and murder mystery dinner trains.

Catskill Mountain Railroad: Twice a year the Catskill Mountain Railroad hosts Twilight Limited train which includes on board music and entertainment and light refreshments.

Rail & Cruise Travel: Rail & Cruise Travel offers two different dinner trains serving the New York City region, the Hudson Valley Explorer and Wine 'n Dine Train.

North Carolina Dinner Train Rides

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers several different dinner trains (which include full course meals) between February and December along its route following the beautiful Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina.

Ohio Dinner Train Rides

Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Scenic Railroad: The AC&J does not offer full course meals aboard its trains. However, it does operate a club car which includes available snacks and refreshments.

Cincinnati Railway: The Cincinnati Railway offers both private rail car services and a full service dinner train, which includes live entertainment and music.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad does not feature a dinner train or on board meals. However, it does feature a wine tasting train which includes refreshments.

Oregon Dinner Train Rides

Mount Hood Railroad: The Mount Hood Railroad offers full course meals on its dinner trains every Saturday, April through December and Sunday Brunch April through November along its scenic line skirting Mount Hood. During select times of the year the railroad also offers their Murder Mystery Dinner Trains.

Sumpter Valley Railroad: Even though the Sumpter Valley Railroad does not offer full course meals aboard its train it does feature an Evening Picnic Train.

Pennsylvania Dinner Train Rides

Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad: Also an operating freight railroad the M&H runs excursion trains during the warmer months of the year. It also operates two dinner trains during the operating season including the Sounds of Sinatra Dinner Train and Murder Mystery Dinner Train.

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad: The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, one of the more well known tourist lines in the country, offers both the Evening Star Dinner (which includes a full course meal) and Grapevine Express (which includes wine tasting and gourmet snacks).

Strasburg Railroad: The second-most popular tourist railroad in the country the Strasburg Railroad offers full course meals and other refreshments, including available wine and alcohol aboard their lavishly restored 19th century equipment.

Tioga Central Railroad: The Tioga Central Railroad offers several different types of on board dining experiences including dinner and ice cream trains.

West Chester Railroad: The West Chester Railroads does not offer an available dinner train. However, once a summer it operates a Pizza Train and most weekends during the summer features a special picnic train.

Rhode Island Dinner Train Rides

Newport Dinner Train: The Newport Dinner Train is one of New England's more popular such venues. Its trademark, of course, is operating full service meals aboard its trains but also offers other trains such as luncheons and murder mysteries.

Old Colony & Newport Railway: The OC&N does not feature a dinner train although it does offer on board snacks and refreshments along its route near Newport.

South Dakota Dinner Train Rides

Black Hills Central Railroad: While the Black Hills Central Railroad's 1880 Train does not feature meals aboard their trips they do offer wine tasting excursion in the fall each year.

Tennessee Dinner Train Rides

Tennessee Valley Railroad: The Tennessee Valley Railroad offers its "Dinner On The Diner" every Saturday between late June and early September aboard its restored 1924 dining car.

Texas Dinner Train Rides

Grapevine Vintage Railroad: Operated between Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards this excursion train does not feature dinner trains but does offer wine tasting.

Texas State Railroad: The Texas State Railroad does not offer full course meals but does the option of box lunches to take with you during your trip.

Utah Dinner Train Rides

Herber Valley Railroad: Located in Heber City, Utah the Herber Valley Railroad offers several different train rides including a murder mystery dinner train.

Vermont Dinner Train Rides

Green Mountain Railroad: Operating on former Rutland Railroad trackage the Green Mountain Railroad is one of the country's more popular tourist railroads. During the course of the year it offers a select number of full course dinner trains such as the Fall Foliage Dinner Train.

Vermont Dining Train: This tourist train, based in Rutland, is operated by Rail & Cruise Travel. The train uses restored Pullman dining cars from the 1950s and features a full menu to choose from.

Washington Dinner Train Rides

Chehalis Centralia Railroad: Also a museum this tourist railroad, based in Chehalis, features several different dinner trains including brunch trains and murder mysteries.

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad: Based in Elbe the Mount Rainier Scenic operates on former Milwaukee Road trackage and features a "Ole' Fashion Train and BBQ At Lake" from July through early September.

West Virginia Dinner Train Rides

Cass Scenic RailroadOperating on former logging lines in the heart of the state's Appalachian region Cass offers a murder mystery dinner train usually once or twice a month during the summer season, as always using the railroad's operating Shay steam locomotives.

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad: Operating on former Baltimore & Ohio railroad trackage in the eastern region of the state the Potomac Eagle Scenic offers club car and full dining services aboard its trains.

West Virginia Central Railroad: Also an operating freight railroad the WVC features several different train rides to choose from including its climate-controlled New Tygart Flyer, that hosts a murder mystery dinner train a few times a year.

Wisconsin Dinner Train Rides

Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway: Operated by the Minnesota Transportation Museum this tourist train features available brunch and dinner trains during the operating season between May and October.

East Troy Railroad: The East Troy Electric Railroad, based in East Troy is actually a trolley/interurban operation. However, it also operates a popular dinner train from June through October.

Mid-Continent Railway: Also a museum, based in North Freedom this tourist railroad features full course dinners aboard its train in February, May, and October.

Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad: Based in Spooner, Wisconsin this tourist railroad offers many different meals aboard a select number of its trains from full course dinners to brunches, buffets, and BBQs.

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