Scenic Dinner Train Rides: A Complete Guide (2023)

Last revised: May 27, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Dinner train rides are a relatively new type of excursion, hearkening back to the days of yore when one could enjoy first class cuisine while traveling by train.

Today's experiences lack an extended, multi-day journey and typically last just a few hours.  Along with providing passengers with an excellent meal these trips usually include some type of entertainment, such as a play, murder mystery, or train "robbery."  

In addition, there has been a growing and increasingly popular trend of providing alcohol on-board which is either included with the dinner or presented as a wine/beer tasting event.  

You will typically find such offerings at finer organizations such as the Strasburg Railroad, Verde Canyon Railroad, and Grand Canyon Railway.  

This section covers either exclusive dinner trains or regular excursions in 2023 featuring a dinner/meal, all of which are broken down by state.  

Please note! The information included here highlights only tourist railroads (and only those including a dinner/meal setting), most of which host day-trips to the general public lasting just a few hours.  If you are interested in long-distance, intercity passenger service please visit Amtrak's website, the national rail provider.

Bennett Levin's pair of restored Pennsylvania E8As traveling near Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania over Norfolk Southern's H Line on a June evening in 2014. Jon Wright photo.

State Guide

The dinner train concept has caught on in recent years as an added, upscale experience to excursion trains.  It has certainly witnessed an increase in ridership as the Strasburg Railroad, the nation's second largest tourist railroad has found out, hosting trips for more than 400,000 passengers annually!  

Only the White Pass & Yukon Route in Alaska is larger.   In the May, 2008 issue of Trains Magazine author Erik Ledbetter highlighted Strasburg's premium services within a piece entitled, "Lessons From The Strasburg At 50."  As the railroad has learned, patrons want to be pampered and are willing to pay for it.  

The company first provided snack/beverage service in 1988 by introducing the restored parlor car Marian that year which offered snacks and soft drinks.  

They were surprised to learn it sold out faster than standard coach accommodations and from that forward an increasing level of first-class services were offered.  

In 2006 the Strasburg received its liquor license and in 2007 hosted its first wine tasting event, which has huge it.  As the railroad put it, "that has made a huge difference in our business."  

Such fine services are virtually non-existent via intercity rail travel today unless one can afford a pricey charter trip or owns a private railcar (a very real, but expensive, possibility!).  Some of the more notable locations across the country to experience dinner by train includes: 

  • Napa Valley Wine Train (Napa, California): This luxurious train ride takes you through the scenic vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley. The train features antique Pullman railcars that have been beautifully restored, and the dining experience includes a gourmet meal with wine pairings.
  • Grand Canyon Railway (Williams, Arizona): This historic train ride takes you through the stunning landscapes of northern Arizona. The ride starts in Williams, Arizona, and travels to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The dining experience includes a hearty buffet-style meal, with options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  All of this is offered in climate-controlled cars, which includes dome cars.
  • "The Royal Gorge Route" (Cañon City, Colorado): This scenic train ride operates over part of the former Rio Grande through Colorado's stunning Royal Gorge. The ride features vintage train cars that have been restored to their original elegance. The dining experience includes a three-course meal, with options for lunch, brunch, or dinner.
  • Mount Hood Railroad (Hood River, Oregon): The Mount Hood Railroad is a charming trip that takes you through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. The ride features historic train cars that have been restored to their original splendor. The dining experience includes a gourmet meal with views of the surrounding mountains and countryside, including glimpses of breathtaking Mount Hood.

The links below offer more information about dinner train experiences by state.   Also more information about some states can be found here on this page by scrolling further below.






















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina




Rhode Island

South Carolina






West Virginia



None known.


None known.


None known.


None known.


None known.

New Mexico

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad:   Please visit the Colorado section above to learn more about the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic's available dinner trains.

North Dakota

None known.


None known.

South Dakota

Black Hills Central Railroad: While the upscale Black Hills Central Railroad's 1880 Train does not feature meals aboard their trips they do offer excursions tailored to alcoholic beverages, notably the Wine Express.

This train offers adults the chance to feature local wines and enjoy light refreshments.  Live entertainment is also provided.  There is also Oktoberfest hosted each September that brings a taste of Germany to the railroad.


Heber Valley Railroad:  Utah's most popular excursion is the Heber Valley, which has utilized the Rio Grande's 28-mile Provo Canyon Branch (Heber City to Provo) since the 1990s. 

The railroad does not host a dedicated dinner train but does have an optional boxed lunch, at an additional cost, on some trips.

Their box lunch includes your choice of a ham, turkey, roast beef or vegetarian sandwich, a freshly baked cookie, chips and bottled water. 

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