The Dairy State is home to some cool and quirky railroad wonders. Whether you’re looking for an efficient, earth-friendly way to travel, a unique dining excursion, or a little train-themed trivia, Wisconsin trains are always on the fast track to fun.
Where to Ride
All aboard this 90-minute historic train ride! The Wisconsin train tour includes a 15-mile stretch of the old Chicago & Northwestern track between Spooner and Springbrook, laid more than 100 years ago, and features historic diesel locomotives and vintage Pullman passenger cars. Overnight train ride options are also available and complete with 1950s vintage sleeping cars providing the perfect backdrop for rekindling romance or a trip with the family. Be sure to check their website for special events and pricing options.
Electric Railroad Dinner Train - East Troy
For a unique and gourmet dining adventure, we’ve got your ticket. Experience a bygone era aboard the award-winning art deco cars of the East Troy Electric Railroad. Featuring flawlessly restored coaches of the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad, you’ll wine and dine in what is actually the last remaining electric interurban dining car train in North America. But it’s not all fancy cheeses and tapenade. For something more casual, grab the kids and hop a ride on their family-friendly pizza train. Voyages start in June, but make your reservation early, because they sell out quick!
Amtrak – Various Depots
Planning your summer vacation? Travel by train to avoid traffic and get a scenic view of the state. (Plus it’s recognized as one of the more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.) The long-distance Empire Builder Train has six Wisconsin stops and traverses some of the most gorgeous parts of the state, including Milwaukee, Portage and La Crosse. The state-operated Hiawatha Service also makes for a painless, even enjoyable trek from Chicago to Milwaukee with 7 round trips daily. For the latest routes and schedules, visit Amtrak’s website.
Where to Learn
Riverside and Great Northern Railway - Wisconsin Dells
Get off your caboose and learn a little! This living museum is dedicated to preserving and operating the locomotives and passenger cars built by the Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works from 1950 to 1980. Watch the action as trains enter and leave the depot or ride the live steam trains through panoramic canyons, beautiful wooded areas, and majestic rock cuts beside the Dells of the Wisconsin River. Free admission to the museum, plenty of parking, plus a picnic area for the family!
Little Falls Railroad & Doll Museum - Sparta
Located midway between Sparta and Black River Falls, the museum showcases railroad memorabilia and operating model trains. It features a garden railroad, window caboose, a 40ft train built specifically for the little ones to play on and a 12” scale train. Make it a true family fun day by packing a lunch and enjoying it on the scenic picnic area. See the website for tour dates and times.
Fortunately, that’s not the end of the line! Check out these upcoming train-inspired festivals for some more fun:
Fireworks Express Train Ride in Osceola - July
Rails & Ales Brewfest in Green Bay - September.
Lumberjack Steam Train Fall Festival in Laona - September
Mid-Continent Railway Pumpkin Special in North Freedom - October.
Christmas Express Train in East Troy - November and December