From children who are enamored with the idea of an adventurous journey, or the powerful whistle sound; to adults who love the history of trains, and the sense of connection trains bring; trains are fascinating. And Richmond is a paradise for trainiacs.
Home to the first electrically-powered street car in the country, Richmond is known for its train history. The city’s incredible train history includes the first railway in Virginia, the first electrically-powered street car in the country, and the Triple Crossing.
Whether young or old, Richmonders have several opportunities to experience trains in a variety of ways. Here are a few to check out nearby:
Richmond Railroad Museum: (102 Hull Street Rd., Richmond, VA, 23224) is ideal of train enthusiasts who specifically enjoy learning the history of trains in Virginia. The past 150 years of Virginia’s train history is told through photographs, artifacts, memorabilia, maps and more. There is an entire room filled with a model railroad. Richmonders will easily pick out places around our city, like what is now the Science Museum of Virginia, formerly Broad Street Station. Outside, visitors will see railroad cars, including a steam locomotive. Saturdays 11-4, Sundays 1-4.
Main Street Station: (1500 E Main St., Richmond, VA, 23219) is home to the beautiful clocktower and striking architecture drivers see from I-95. Thanks to the vaulted ceilings and elegant banquet hall, this is a popular venue for private events; but, Main Street Station is also an opportunity for train fans to learn the history of the train station and catch a glimpse of trains coming and going at the station. The second floor of the station tells the story of Main Street Station’s history through various relics and photos. Having survived a hurricane and two fires, this 120 year old station is nothing short of magnificent. Train fanatics, be sure to check the Amtrak schedule before your visit to ensure seeing a train pass through. Main Street Station is free to visitors.
Ashland, Virginia: (112 Railroad Ave., Ashland, Virginia, 23005) is a quaint, charming town about twenty minutes from Richmond. Here, you will find the Ashland Train Depot right along the railroad tracks. Grab a treat from Homemades By Suzanne and watch for trains. In between trains, take a break to visit The Red Caboose and Ashland Museum. Inside The Red Caboose, visitors can actually sit in an authentic 1926 caboose, and imagine taking an exciting adventure in the 1920s. The Ashland Museum houses artifacts pertaining to Ashland’s history; thereby, train history. Little train aficionados will be thrilled with the Thomas the Train table at the Ashland Museum. Ashland also hosts the annual Ashland Train Day, which typically includes model trains, scavenger hunts, kiddie train rides, and more. Bonus: Ashland Museum and Red Caboose are free.
Science Museum of Virginia: (2500 West Broad St., Richmond, VA, 23220) was originally Broad Street Station. Outside in the former loading area, there is both a business car and a steam locomotive. An annual tradition at the museum is the Model Railroad Show, typically held in November. This is an ideal event for families who love trains. Children will love taking a ride on the Teddy Bear Express and learning how trains work, while grown up train enthusiasts truly take in the intricate detail in the miniature cities and locomotives. Wednesday – Sunday 9:30-5:00
Whether looking for trains to see, learn about, play with, or sit in, Richmond offers something for every train fanatic. With its rich train history, locals are fortunate to have many opportunities to visit and learn more about trains.
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate from Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow the Garrison’s family adventures on Instagram: @thegarrisonsrva
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