The New York train rides offered today are thanks in large part to the state's rich railroad history. Its very first was the Mohawk & Hudson, officially incorporated on April 17, 1826 (it later joined the giant New York Central System). Over time, steel ribbons criss-crossed its borders and eventually eclipsed more than 8,000 miles by the World War I era! Whether you may be interested in taking a long excursion in climate-controlled passenger cars through bucolic, rolling countryside, ride a restored trolley, or have your train pulled by a restored steam locomotive you can find it all in New York. Today, the state's excursions include the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Arcade & Attica Railroad, Catskill Mountain Railroad, Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, Delaware & Ulster Railroad, Finger Lakes Scenic Railway, Upper Hudson River Railroad, trips offered by the Medina Railroad Museum, and a handful of others.
Along with Pennsylvania, New York was the state years ago to watch northeastern railroads in action as dozens of well known companies could once be found there including names like the New York Central, Pennsylvania, Erie, Lehigh Valley, and numerous others. As such, New York also witnessed many well known passenger train names passing through its borders, most headed to or towards New York City. Many of the tourist railroads found in the state today look to preserve this history as well as providing passengers with a memorable trip by train. Finally, if you are interested in New York 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. Please note! The guide here highlights only New York train rides pertaining to specific vacation and tourism destinations. If you are interested in intercity/long distance rail travel please visit Amtrak's website.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
One of the most popular of all New York train rides is the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, first launched in 1992. Today, it operates two, unconnected sections of this former New York Central branch that once extended from Utica all of the way to Lake Placid to the north, a distance of over 150 miles. Their operations include a short 10-mile section of railroad between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and another 50-mile section between the town of Utica and Thendara, where it all began. Plans for the railroad include hopefully reopening the section between Thendara and Saranac Lake, a nearly 100-mile stretch of railroad that operates through New York's breathtaking Adirondack Park.
Arcade & Attica Railroad
The Arcade & Attica Railroad, based in Arcade, New York operates on trackage originally built and owned by the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade Railroad. The railroad also hauls freight with its train rides running between late May and December. They host several special events throughout the season.
Brooks/Alco Railroad Display
Managed by the Dunkirk Historical Society this display (with free admission) is located in Dunkirk on the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds, featuring a few pieces of rolling stock, including Boston & Maine 0-6-0 #444 (Class G-11b) built by Alco's Brooks Works in 1916.
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Depot Museum
As the name suggests this museum, maintained by the Western New York Railway Historical Society, is housed within a preserved Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh depot, in this case the facility located in Orchard Park near the northern/eastern end of the railroad's system. It was originally built in 1912 of brick.
Catskill Mountain Railroad
Another popular New York train ride is the Catskill Mountain Railroad based in Mt. Pleasant. It operates on trackage originally built by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, later owned by the New York Central. The railroad moves freight when possible and still has plans to reopen the entire line between Kingston and Phonecia. It travels through the beautiful Catskill Mountain region and carried a record year recently witnessing more than 40,000 annual riders.
Central Square Station Museum
This museum is located inside the preserved New York, Ontario & Western/New York Central union depot at Central Square. The building houses several artifacts, historic documents and displays while outside is a rather impressive collection of rolling stock including Pennsylvania (Amtrak) GG1 #4926 (#926), two 0-4-0T switchers of different heritage, a 45-ton switcher, and a 25-ton switcher.
Chester Historical Society
This organization has preserved the Erie's depot in Chester amongst its other historical buildings, which generally looks to keep alive the local area's history. The museum is open from June through October.
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad
The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad operated by the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society uses tracks originally built a railroad known as the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley. With trains running through the upper Susquehanna River Valley using a handful of diesel locomotives for power.
Delaware & Ulster Railroad
The Delaware & Ulster Railroad is based in Stamford and operates over part of the same corridor (ex-New York Central) which the Catskill Mountain Railroad utilizes (originally built by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad). Their train rides travel through the scenic Catskill Mountain region and depart from the depot in Arkville with an operating season running between late May and October.
Empire State Railway Museum
This museum is located inside the Ulster & Delaware's small restored depot which once served the local area. Along with historic artifacts display inside the group owns former Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 #23, which they hope to restore one day. Additionally, they offer rides on their scale train located nearby. The museum is open from late May through October.
Hyde Park Railroad Station
This museum has preserved the New York Central's depot in Hyde Park built in 1914. The building primarily displays artifacts related to railroading and that of the local area. It is open on select days year-round and usually features special events and activities throughout the year.
Jamestown Gateway Erie Train Station
As its name implies this organization has preserved the Erie's impressive station in Jamestown. While tours are offered of the building and grounds the station also plays host to many events throughout the year and is even available for businesses to lease space. It is open throughout much of the year.
Martisco Station Museum
This small museum is housed inside the NYC's beautifully restored Victorian era, brick depot that was originally constructed in 1881. It houses several displays and historic artifacts inside. As with the Central Square Station Museum this facility is maintained and operated by the Central New York Chapter of the NRHS. It is open from May through October.
Medina Railroad Museum
The Medina Railroad Museum mostly looks to preserve the area's railroad history, notably that of the New York Central which operated through the town. The museum is housed in the NYC's former freight depot and also operates a 34-mile round trip excursion train along the Erie Canal Heritage Corridor during the operating season. The trains also operate specials throughout the year such as the Santa and wine trains.
New York Museum Of Transportation
This transportation museum, located in West Henrietta, looks to preserve the history of transportation and travel in Upstate New York. They feature numerous pieces of railroad and streetcar/interurban rolling stock, some of which is operational and provides rides around the grounds. Additionally, the museum is also home to several artifacts, displays, and a large operating model layout.
New York Transit Museum
This facility is located in Brooklyn and has a large collection of historic artifacts, interactive displays, and other material which tells the history of the New York City's many transit systems. They are described as the largest such facility anywhere in the United States. The museum is open throughout much of the year. To learn more please visit their website.
North Creek Railway Depot Museum
Based inside the depot at North Creek of Delaware & Hudson heritage this museum. Their mission statement, along with preserving local railroad history is to tell the story of the Gore Mountain Region in general. To learn more about the museum please visit their website.
Oyster Bay Railroad Museum
This museum looks to preserve the history of Oyster Bay's railroading past as well as that of the entire Long Island region. They currently have a large collection of rolling stock on hand along with many artifacts and displays. The museum has future plans to greatly expand their presence, constructing a large complex in the area to further draw in visitors and attention to their endeavor.
Railroad Museum Of Long Island, Greenport & Riverhead Museum
Another railroad museum located on Long Island at Greenport as well as Riverhead, this organization has a number of exhibits to see along with an operating layout to peruse. Their long-term goal is to fully restore and operation Long Island Rail Road Class G5s #39. To learn more please visit their website.
Railroad Museum Of Niagara Frontier
Located in North Tonawanda inside the restored, 1922 Erie freight depot here, the museum is operated by the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS). It is the only such museum in the Buffalo area and its mission is to keep alive the history of railroading in this region. Along with artifacts and displays the museum has several pieces of rolling stock on-hand.
Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum
Affiliated with the New York Museum of Transportation, this museum has been in operation since 1971, located at the Erie's restored depot in Industry. Along with several pieces of rolling stock and numerous locomotives within its collection they are home to many artifacts and displays.
Roscoe O&W Railway Museum
This facility is a division of the Ontario & Western Railway Historical Society. It is located in Roscoe and has artifacts relating to the New York, Ontario & Western. The museum is open during the warmer months of each year.
Salamanca Rail Museum
This museum is located at the restored brick depot built by the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. It is open during the warmer months of each year and features displays and artifacts related to the BR&P, other railroads, and area in general. There are also a few pieces or rolling stock on display.
Saratoga & North Creek Railway
Formerly known as the Upper Hudson River Railroad until 2010, the new Saratoga & North Creek (an Iowa Pacific subsidiary) is based in North Creek and operates through the beautiful Adirondack Mountains along the Hudson River. Their excursion train rides use the Delaware & Hudson Railway's ex-Adirondack Branch. Under new management the S&NC has greatly expanded its services and now offers upscale accommodations and numerous other events and specials throughout the year. The road is unique for its use of a rare Electro-Motive BL2 road-switcher.
Trolley Museum Of New York
The Trolley Museum Of New York features the state's only
operating trolley at Kingston. The museum operates on 1 1/2-mile of
trackage and uses the former yards of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad
to store and display equipment.
If interested in learning more about New York 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