Midwest Train Trips That You’ll Never Forget

Sheldon Cooper isn’t the only one who loves the allure and grandeur of trains. There is this draw to the romanticism trains bring with them, and it is unbelievably compelling. Attracting visitors from around the world looking to revisit these beautiful and powerful machines, historic train museums and exhibits have recently increased in popularity. Travelers looking for a taste of this industry’s intriguing and captivating past will find several opportunities throughout the Midwest.

Railroads have played an integral role in forming and history of some of the region’s most notable cities. There is a deep respect for these amazing transportation innovations throughout the Midwest. As a result, there are several museums and railroad events where visitors can jump aboard trains heading straight to the past. Here are a few of the best Midwest train trips you need to check out as soon as possible.

Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad

This is your destination if you’re looking for a train experience that goes above and beyond what typical museums offer. With a wide variety of themed trains and special event opportunities, the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad in Boone, Iowa, has something for everyone. Hop aboard their elegant dinner train for a trip back to the railway’s golden age. Complete the experience with an exquisite four-course seasonal menu guests adore.

Have you always wanted to see what it would be like to inspect a railroad for yourself? Then why not take a trip on one of the museum’s unbelievably restored motorcars? These world-class cars will have you feeling like a railway professional in no time.

Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Located in the Historic Duluth Union Depot, this one-of-a-kind museum offers a bit of everything. Visitors can see everything from state-of-the-art exhibits to one of the country’s finest collections of railroad equipment. The museum even offers seasonal train excursions where guests can journey along the scenic shores of the captivating Lake Superior.

The region’s rich railway history is the main focus of this unique museum. Visitors can enjoy amazingly restored locomotives and take an up-close look at how these incredible machines were run. With their goal of bringing the history of railroads to life, this will surely be a Midwest train trip you’ll never forget.

Cody Park Railroad Museum

If you love all things train and railroad, then this is a must-see stop for you. Located in North Platte, Nebraska, this stunning museum offers some of the most hands-on railway exhibits in the region. Visitors can hop aboard the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive on display in the world. Or, engineers in the making can climb up into the engine room of the Number 3977. Make sure you finish the tour with a closer look at the mail car and caboose. Believe it or not, these are only a few of this incredible destination’s numerous railway experiences.

Holding Buffalo Bills Buffalo of Approval, guests can rest assured they’ll find themselves immersed in all things railway during their time here.

Brodhead Historical Society

This unique Wisconsin museum strives to promote, protect and preserve the history of Brodhead. Offering guests a chance to see just how much of an impact the railway industry truly had on the region, their exhibits are one of a kind. Located in the former Milwaukee Road Train Depot, this museum takes a look at the community’s connection to this rich industry. By highlighting how factors such as agriculture, expansion, and even immigration played a role, they can demonstrate the incredible impact of railroads.

Their free-to-visit exhibits are filled with incredible artifacts linking this beautiful historic town to this formative chapter in the country’s history.

Abilene and Smokey Valley Railroad

Here guests are offered the opportunity to ride the rails of Kansas History. This unparalleled historic train attraction is dedicated to preserving the railway’s deep connection to the state, the people, and the land. Their goal is to be a living history museum where visitors can enjoy experiences unlike any other. Complete engine room tours, interviews with crew members, and rides aboard both antique passenger and freight trains are just a few of their exhibits.

As the only steam railroad in Kansas, this unique museum hosts several exciting events throughout the year. This includes its Pumpkin Express and Christmas-themed railroad rides.

1880 Train

This innovative interactive experience highlights the incredible impact of railways on the Frontier’s rich history. Their one-of-a-kind tour offers passengers a two-hour and 20-mile historic trip between Hill City and Keystone. The country’s oldest continuously operating tourist train, guests will be brought through this stunning scenic region. It even comes complete with narration highlighting Black Hill’s history, points of interest, and information about the train itself.

Keep in mind that their steam locomotives are scheduled for all summer departure times. However, their vintage diesel #63 is the featured train of their Holiday Express line, which may impact when you decide to visit.


This unique opportunity lets visitors enjoy an up-close look at North Dakota’s Prairie Past. A unique interactive historic community, Bonanzaville allows guests to walk through a Midwestern town as it would have been in the past. In addition to several stunning homes and shops for visitors to explore, the Pioneer Village is home to several train depots. Guests can see how railways worked at the time of these original settlers and pioneers.

The on-site railroad museum is also home to several examples of railway history. These include numerous old engines, freight cars, and artifacts. Filled with world-class renovations, incredible reenactments, and friendly staff looking to share everything they know, this is an absolute must for railfans and history buffs alike.

Get On Board for a Midwest Train Trip

There’s no doubt that railways have played a critical role throughout history. But there’s no reason why these incredible transportation innovations must stay stuck in the past. These Midwest train trips are the best way to find an unrivaled railway experience. No matter why you visit, these incredible exhibits will have you shouting, “All aboard” in no time.



  • Chris Kane

    Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.

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