History of the Strasburg Railroad
As North America's oldest continuously operating railroad, the Strasburg Railroad boasts a fascinating history, complete with twists and turns to match the actual railroad journey.
Construction of the original 82-mile line (known as the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad) began in 1831. This line was expected to circumvent the thriving town of Strasburg, so it's no wonder the residents of the time were concerned. As such, a charter was granted to enable an official connection between Strasburg and the larger railroad.
By 1851, the railroad was carrying freight and passengers to what is now known as the Pennsylvania Railroad junction. The railroad operated successfully for over a century, although its rails began to fall into a clear state of neglect. By the late 1950s, several train enthusiasts had gathered to discuss plans for keeping "the Methuselah of railroads" alive. Following an extensive repair effort, the railroad was reborn and rebranded as a tourist attraction.
The railroad's first steam locomotive was purchased in 1960. Since then, it has achieved a stellar reputation for its steam restoration and refurbishment efforts. These days, annual ridership exceeds an astounding 300,000 passengers, making the Strasburg Railroad the most visited tourist railroad in the 48 states.