Maryland train rides offer several different types of excursions today, despite there only being a handful located there. The state is well known as being the birthplace of modern railroading, when the Baltimore & Ohio was chartered in early 1827 in the port of the Baltimore. Today, you can still catch train rides at the railroad's former Mount Clare Shops, now home of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, which offers visitors short excursions along the property. Maryland's most popular and well known excursion is Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR), which uses a section of former Western Maryland Railway line west of Cumberland. In any event, the information below provides short snippets of all Maryland train rides and railroad museums along with how to find out more about them. Please note! The guide information here pertains only to Maryland train rides related to vacation and tourism destinations. If you are interested in intercity/long distance rail travel please visit Amtrak's website.
As mentioned above, if there is one tourist train in Maryland you are contemplating riding I would highly recommend visiting the Western Maryland Scenic first. Their 12 miles of railroad cuts through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and passes along famed Helmstetter's Curve, across the "Bridge through the Narrows", and through Brush Tunnel. Their trains are usually pulled by a restored 2-8-0 "Consolidation" type steam locomotive, painted in original Western Maryland colors. Aside from the WMSR there is the Walkersville Southern Railroad located in Walkersville and two streetcar/trolley museums located in Washington, D.C. the National Capital Museum and Baltimore Streetcar Museum. Both the WMSR and Walkersville Southern host special events and trains throughout the year so be on the lookout for when they are happening. Also, if you are interested in Maryland train rides that pertain to specific events, such as "The Polar Express," Halloween, Thomas the Tank Engine excursions, or fall foliage events please visit the main tourist trains section of this website.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum today is one of the most recognized, respected and highly regarded railroad museums, not only in this country but also the world. It houses historic railroad equipment (not only from its namesake railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio but also many important historical pieces from other railroads around the country) in the B&O’s famous Mount Clare shops (which throughout the years would create and build a number of innovative cars and locomotives for the railroad). The museum also features two scales of large model railroads in G and HO as well as annual layouts brought in by model railroading groups during the holidays. Along with its extensive collection the museum also offers short train rides (about a mile or so) on its property.
Baltimore Streetcar Museum
The Baltimore Streetcar Museum looks to preserve the city's interurban heritage. In doing so it also offers short trolley rides aboard some of its restored equipment. The museum is open year-round.
Bowie Railroad Station Museum
This museum, housed inside the small, restored Pennsylvania depot originally built by the Baltimore & Potomac. The building houses a small collection of displays and is hope throughout much of the year. There is also a restored interlocking tower on the grounds home to the National Railroad Historical Society’s Martin O’Rourke Railroad Research Library.
This small museum houses historic artifacts and offers the visitors a chance to an operating model layout inside. The two-story building primarily focuses on the history of the Baltimore & Ohio but generally the museum attempts to keep alive the area's local history as well as that of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.
Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum
This museum, located inside the Chesapeake Beach Railway's beautifully restored depot, keeps alive the history of this interesting operation as well as that of the local Chesapeake Beach area. It is opened throughout much of the year albeit has different hours of operation depending upon the season.
Ellicott City Station
This small museum, part of the B&O Railroad Musuem, is housed inside the Baltimore & Ohio's restored depot here, originally known as Ellicott Mills. It is the oldest such structure still standing in the country built in 1830-1831. There are a few displays on-hand as well as an operating model layout.
Gaithersburg Community Museum
This museum is housed at the B&O's restored, 1884 freight depot (the passenger station operates as MARC commuter stop). The facility has a number of exhibits and historic displays describing railroad history as well as that of the local community.
Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum
This museum is located in Hagerstown, once an important terminal for the Western Maryland. The facility is home to a large collection of displays related to the WM, a few pieces of rolling stock, and an operating model layout. They are open year-round during the weekends. For more information about planning a visit please check out their website.
National Capital Museum
Like Baltimore Streetcar Museum the National Capital Museum also
looks to preserve the region's history of trolleys and interurbans,
particularly around the Washington, D.C. area. Based in Colesville the
museum operates about a one-mile stretch of track and offers charters
and features other special events throughout the year.
Walkersville Southern Railroad
The Walkersville Southern Railroad, based in Walkersville uses ex-Pennsylvania Railroad trackage to take visitors along a rail line that travels through the state's beautiful and historic Monocacy Valley region. Trains board from the restored Walkersville depot and the railroad is hoping to restore more miles of rail line in the future to further extend their trips.
Western Maryland Railway Historical Society
As its name implies this group looks to keep alive the history of the Western Maryland. They are located in Cumberland and feature many pieces of historic artifacts related to the WM. The museum is open on select days, year-round or by appointment.
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is a tourist railroad based in Cumberland, Maryland that operates part of the Western Maryland Railway’s former main line to Frostburg, Maryland, a distance of about 12 miles. While the railroad has a small fleet of diesels, 2-8-0 #734 handle excursion duties as much as it can, carrying passengers through some of the Western Maryland’s most famous locations like Helmstetter’s Curve and, "The Narrows." Today, the tourist line has become a very popular attraction in western Maryland and offers you several different trains to ride, aside from its standard excursion to Frostburg. The WMSR will soon be featuring a new star attraction, restored Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 #1309 to complement #734. This gigantic compound steam locomotive will be the largest operating along the East Coast.
If you are interested in learning more about Maryland train rides and railroad museums, Kalmbach Publishing/Trains Magazine releases their Tourist Trains Guidebook each year, which highlights most such destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada.