Page 80 - The Hunt - Fall 2019
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 Across the street (Route 741) is the fascinating Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, which has indoor and outdoor collections of trains and cars. There are more than 30 steam, diesel and electric engines—some still in restoration. It’s also a research facility, although those wanting to undertake historical study must do so by appointment. The museum’s gift shop is a good place for kids and hobbyists look- ing to build their first model railways or add to their existing collections. And Strasburg offers even more for both children and model railroad enthusiasts, including the National Toy Train Museum and the Choo Choo Barn.
Farther afield to the north is Scranton, Pa.’s Steamtown National Historic Site. Museum tours are self-guided. Start at the visitors center for park orientation, then head to the 250-seat theater for a digital surround-sound movie. You’ll also find history, roundhouse and technology museums, plus a great opportunity (if you have the time) to learn about steam-era railroad maintenance, repair and restoration.
Another regional destination is the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Museum in Baltimore, Md. It’s claim to fame is having “the oldest, most historic, most compre- hensive American railroad collection in the world.” The collection’s buildings, small
Many people want to experience the stories told behind the private collections of railroad memorabilia.
objects, locomotives and rolling stock show how the B&O Railroad impacted the development of early railroading.
For those more interested in collecting memorabilia than touring or riding,
railway lanterns and pocket watches are two of the most popular—and useful—items. Brakemen carried lanterns in search of nighttime difficulties. Today, they can be
purchased for $50-$100, depending on how rare they are. They make great rustic options for farmhouse or game room décor—and if you’re looking to start a collection, there are all sorts of collectable ones. Many were used on farms long before flashlights became a common household item.
Those interested in railway pocket watches—with or without the fob and chain—should check out Ashland Watches & Jewelry ( to get an idea of pricing and availability before visiting eBay or Etsy. While there are published collectors’ guides to railway memorabilia, most are out-of-date when it comes to pricing.
And for those of you who must commute to distant cities via Amtrak, we understand if you don’t find railroad nostalgia of particular interest at the moment.
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