If you have a train hobby or know someone who does, the Gettysburg train rides and museums should be part of your Gettysburg vacation!
You can actually ride a train across the day 1 battlefields and travel north of town with Pioneer Lines Scenic Railway. It's fun for kids of all ages and one of the best Gettysburg tours! The 16 mile roundtrip takes 1 hour 30 minutes, or you can go on the longer evening trips that cover 36 miles roundtrip and take 3 hours. The conductor narrates and points out notable historic sites. You can arrange to have lunch or dinner. Special cab rides with the engineer and conductor are available for those ages 18 and up. There are also special train rides such as the Ghost Train, Murder Mystery Dinner Train, Mt. Holly Springs Excursion, Abe Lincoln Train, and the Santa Train. Call (717)334-6932 to make reservations.
UPDATE 2010: This number is currently out of service. It seems they might have gone out of business. If you know anything about it, please let me know! I'm leaving my page and story here because so many people enjoy reading it.
An exciting Gettysburg train tour was on my wish list like the horseback tour, but I was able to persuade my family to accompany me on this one! We've been on the Strasburg railroad to Paradise and the Western Maryland train ride to Frostburg. My great-grandfather Howard Harpel worked on the Western Maryland Railroad as a track foreman.
Here's a little video I put together about our train experience:
We took the 1 hour and 30 minutes Scenic Ride on a sunny, warm day in October 2007. Our conductor, who told us about the things we saw, is a descendant of Longstreet! We rode up to Biglerville, PA and passed some things related to the Musselman's apple company, which are not in my video. You'll have to take a ride on the train yourself to see them!
At the Lincoln Train Museum you can take a simulated train ride while listening to President Abraham Lincoln prepare to give his address. The Gettysburg train museum has a toy train collection with models from the 1800s to the present day, Civil War dioramas, and an 1890 caboose.
The gift shop at the Lincoln Train Museum is excellent. There's a toy train running around the ceiling. They have all kinds of things train, Civil War, and Gettysburg related that appeal to a variety of ages and tastes.