With is rich agricultural resources and important cities like Milwaukee
and Green Bay, not to mention its extended shoreline along Lake Michigan
and Lake Superior, Wisconsin was home
to most of the Midwest's classic granger lines like the Milwaukee Road,
Green Bay & Western, Chicago & North Western and numerous
others. Today, the state's tourist railroads really try to keep alive
its rail heritage, from the main line systems to the often forgotten
logging operations (such as with Lumberjack Steam Train). There is no,
one, tourist line in the state that stands out above the rest although a
visit to the National Railroad Museum is definitely worth your time and
the Wisconsin Great Northern has turned their 10+ year operation into a
very nice excursion. In any event, to learn more about Wisconsin train
rides please read a little more about each below.
Tourist Trains In Nearby States
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
Michigan, Home Of The Popular Huckleberry Railroad And "The Polar Express" Steam Locomotive, Pere Marquette #1225
Minnesota, Preserving The State's Rich Rail History
Nebraska, Ride The State's Only Excursion, The Fremont & Elkhorn Valley
Ohio, Enjoy The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad And Other Rides
Brodhead Historical Society Depot Museum
This museum, open since 1975, is located inside the town's restored Milwaukee Road depot. The facility houses lots of displays and artifacts while outside be sure to visit the caboose and Fairbanks Morse diesel locomotive. It is open on select days of the week, May through September.
Camp Five & Lumberjack Steam Train
The Lumberjack Steam Train is located in Laona, Wisconsin and operated by the Camp 5 Museum which looks to preserve the area's logging history. The train is pulled using a 2-6-2 Prairie Type steam locomotive which boards from the restored Soo Line depot in Laona.
Chippewa Valley Railroad
This tourist attraction is located in Eau Claire and offers visitors the chance to ride a one-quarter scale train.
Colfax Railroad Museum
Located in the town of Colfax within the preserved Soo Line depot built in 1919, the museum has a growing collection of equipment and artifacts with a focus on the "western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota region." Their notable pieces include GP30 #703 (ex-Soo) and a 2-6-T steam locomotive manufacutred by Porter.
East Troy Electric Railroad Museum
The East Troy Electric Railroad Museum is the Wisconsin's only heritage interurban railway, operating between East Troy and Mukwonago using restored trolley cars.
Green County Welcome Center
This facility is housed at the town of Monroe's restored Milwaukee Road depot. It is used as the town's welcome center and is also home to the National Historic Cheesemaking Center. It is from early April through late October.
This attraction is located in New London and is home to several historic buildings telling the history of the local area and region. Once such building is the preserved Chicago & North Western depot built in 1923, which is home to several artifacts and exhibits to see. Also, be sure and check out the rolling stock on display at the grounds.
Mid-Continent Railway Museum
The Mid-Continent Railway Museum based in North Freedom, based in
south-central Wisconsin, looks to preserve the region and state's
railroad history. In doing so it also operates an excursion train
for a 50-minute round-trip journey on trackage originally owned by the
Chicago & North Western Railway.
Mineral Point Railroad Museum
This museum is housed within the town's preserved depot built by the Mineral Point Railroad around 1857. The system later became a part of the Milwaukee Road. They are open seasonally from May through October.
Monticello Depot Museum & Hostel
This small museum is located within the town's restored Milwaukee Road depot. For more information they can be contacted at 310 South Pratt Road, P.O. Box 147, Monticello, Wisconsin 53570-0147. You can also call at 608-938-4383.
National Railroad Museum
Started in 1956, the National Railroad Museum has been recognized
by Congress as the "national" such facility in the country, although
this is mostly in name only. The NRM today has a nice collection of
rolling stock at their facility in Green Bay and while they do not
really offer a true rail excursion they do offer train rides around the
Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway
Based out of Osceola, Wisconsin, right along the border with Minnesota
this tourist railroad is operated by the Minnesota Transportation
Museum with a typical operating season running between May and October.
Their longest excursion is a 20-mile round trip and passengers are
onboard for nearly two hours. They offer a wide range of special
holiday excursions and brunch/dinner trains.
Railroad Memories Museum
This museum is housed at the restored, 1902 Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway depot (later C&NW) in Spooner. The museum features lots of displays and artifacts while also housing a caboose outdoors. It is open to the public from late May through early September.
Riverside & Great Northern Railway
This attraction is located in Wisconsin Dells and features a fascinating, 15-inch scale trains available to ride pulled by live steam locomotives! The history of the property dates back to the 1940s and currently offers trips on their 3-mile right-of-way. Throughout the year they also host special excursions. For more information please visit their website.
Whiskey River Railway
This miniature train is part of the larger Little Amerricka amusement park located in Marshall. The 16-inch scale trains use live steam locomotives pulling guests around the grounds. For more information please visit the park's website.
Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad
The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad is a tourist railroad which
operates excursion trains over former Chicago & North Western
Railway trackage between Spooner and Springbrook, Wisconsin. The
railroad has steadily grown over its last decade of operating excursion
and now host’s dinner trains between February and December each year.
Along with dinner trains the railroad also operates season specials,
such as during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Zoofari Express Milwaukee County Zoo
As with many zoos the Milwaukee County Zoo is home to its home miniature train which operates around the grounds and shuttles guests to different areas of the park. For more information please visit the zoo's website.
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Tourist Train Information