RMT Note: This is a post that originated in August 2011. I will continue to update and edit both that post and this page to reflect any new posts of mine or other additions to our train itinerary.
Hard to believe it’s taken me almost two months since starting my blog to put this up, but I’m finally pulling into the station with this post…
T has loved trains since he was 18 months old; it’s even remained his “thing” as we travel the world on new adventures together as a family. We fed his train love in more ways than just all things Thomas the Tank Engine; we decided that if it’s trains he loves, then it’s trains he shall get, big, small, free, rides, displays, special events, mode of transportation (domestic and international), and however else we could find it.
So here it is, a list of trains that my child has ridden so far in his five-plus years of life (as of February 2013 – re-edited to hyperlink and make some recent additions!) and/or train museums he’s attended. The list is in no particular order other than how I’ve managed to recall our visits and rides (and thank goodness for C’s help as my memory is shot most times).
I’ve included full website links below should your child (or, go ahead and admit it, you) be searching for that next train fix. Enjoy and ALL ABOARD!
Paris Metro (we’re starting out big LOL) (Paris, France) – public transit (costs vary, kids FREE)
TGV (Paris, France, and serving other major cities of Europe) – this is the train line that clocked the world record for fastest train travel, Paris to Karlsruhe, Germany (cost varies depending on time and date booked, advance discounts, length of itinerary, etc.)
Rome Metro (Rome, Italy) – public transit in Rome (costs vary, kids FREE)
RER (Paris, France)- public long-distance regional transit trains in and around the city (costs vary based on dates, times, and itinerary booked)
Kilohana Plantation Train (Kauai, HI) – old restored train on former sugar plantation; part of the farm is still operational but on a much smaller scale (check website for dates, times, and costs)
Amtrak Surfliner LAX to SBA (Los Angeles to Santa Barbara) – regional rail day-trip we took when T was one-year-old or so (costs vary depending on dates, times, class, and routes, check website for information)
Balboa Park Miniature Railroad (San Diego, CA) – ride-on model railroad in historic Balboa Park (tickets $3 each for ages 1-to-99)
El Dorado Regional Park “Caboose Corner” Train (Long Beach, CA) – ride-on model train in Los Angeles County regional park near our home (check website for details on hours and costs)
Travel Town (Griffith Park, Los Angeles) – indoor and outdoor museum with real-scale, stationary train engines and cars, along with a ride-on model train (admission to the museum is FREE; train rides are $2-3 per person 18 mos.-and-over)
LA Live Steamers Railroad Museum (Griffith Park, Los Angeles) – ride on a model train through a Disney-inspired area of the park, maintained by a railroad club and its volunteers (rides are technically free, but a $3 donation per rider is strongly encouraged)
Tom’s Farm (Corona, CA) – another ride-on model railroad; part of a rural-inspired roadside farmers’ market with several activities and attractions for families and kids (see website for train ticket costs, been a while since we’ve done this one!)
San Diego Model Railroad Museum (San Diego, CA) – one of the West Coast’s if not nation’s largest volunteer-run model railroad museum (admission for 14-and-under FREE with accompanying adult; adults $8)
Pa’s Pumpkin Patch (Long Beach, CA) – seasonal train rides during Halloween and some Christmases in a local family-run pumpkin patch and tree lot (cost varies depending on amount of rides purchased)
Studio City Farmer’s Market (Los Angeles) – wheel-operated train runs through and around perimeter of a portion of the market on Sundays (see website for prices)
San Pedro Red Car (San Pedro, CA) – restored and replica Pacific Electric “Red Car” trolleys from 1920s Los Angeles (rides still just $1 for an all-day pass; 6-and-under FREE)
Griffith Park Southern Railroad (Los Angeles) – ride-on model railroad (rides $2-3 each)
South Coast Plaza Holiday Trains (Costa Mesa, CA) – seasonal electric model and ride-on trains (model train viewing FREE; ride-on train usually $2 per rider over 1-year-old)
Dynamic Hobbies (Hemet, CA) – independent hobby shop with complete electric train display year-round (admission is FREE, check with shop for store hours but trains usually run Saturdays)
Hemet Museum (Hemet, CA) – a history museum housed in a historic train depot.
Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace (holiday train and LEGO train special exhibits) (Yorba Linda, CA) – model train exhibits on display some holiday seasons November-January (incl. in cost of admission to museum and library; call around Thanksgiving to see if the trains will be running that season as they were not in 2012)
Irvine Regional Park Railroad (Irvine, CA) – ride-on model railroad in Irvine Regional Park (parking $7; train cost varies depending on amount of rides purchased and/or other special events; generally around $2-3 per ride)
Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park (Santa Ana, CA) – model railroad for kids and adults alike (cost varies depending on amount of rides purchased; generally around $4-5 per ride, infants 12 mos. and under FREE)
World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour February 2010, (Long Beach, CA) – kids can ride a model Thomas the Tank Engine train (incl. with cost of admission)
San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly and better known as Wild Animal Park) (Escondido, CA) – a wheel-based tram through an open-enclosure African habitat (incl. with cost of admission)
Hilton Waikoloa Village Train Tram (Waikoloa, Big Island, HI) – useful to navigate the 62-acre resort (FREE for all guests and visitors of the resort)
Giant Farmers’ Market at corner of Spring/Clark (Long Beach, CA) – Sundays (rides $3 as of Summer 2011)
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, La Mesa Depot (La Mesa, CA) – restored engine and rail cars parked outdoors for public viewing and some hands-on, climb aboard fun anytime; museum house open weekend afternoons (FREE – donations encouraged)
Carney’s Restaurant (Los Angeles) – have a meal on a real (stationary) train car!
Casey Jr. Circus Train (Anaheim, CA) – amusement ride in the Disneyland park and attractions (incl. in cost of admission)
Disneyland Monorail (Anaheim, CA) – amusement ride in the Disneyland park and attractions (incl. in cost of admission)
Disneyland Railroad (Anaheim, CA) – amusement ride in the Disneyland park and attractions (incl. in cost of admission)
The Getty Center Tram (Los Angeles) – tram is FREE transportation from parking, which costs $15, but admission to the museum is also FREE
Polar Express (Campo, CA) – a holiday event put on by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in San Diego County (and don’t forget the movie either!)
Orange County Model Engineers (Costa Mesa, CA) – open to the public third Saturday-Sunday of every month (FREE – donations encouraged)
Angels Gate Hi-Railers Model Railroad Club (San Pedro, CA) – open to the public Wednesdays and Saturdays (FREE – donations encouraged)
California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento, CA) – state-run museum dedicated to all things train, one of the biggest and best!
London Underground – London’s (UK) public transit subway lines that have been in service for 150 years (cost varies depending on zones traveled and/or days traveling; please consult website for full pricing details and rules, especially as it relates to minor passengers)
National Rail – UK’s national train service (cost varies depending on zones traveled and/or days traveling; please consult website for full pricing details and rules, especially as it relates to minor passengers)
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway – Island off the southern coast of England where original, restored steam trains still have their days on the rails. If you look closely at a map, this small isle resembles that of another certain Isle of storybook and television fame (costs and schedules vary; please refer to website for ticketing information)
National Train Day – Free train fun for all-ages across America one day out of the year. Date changes annually, but is held the Saturday closest to May 10, the anniversary of the Golden Spike being driven into Promontory, UT, connecting the Transcontinental Railroad. More history of the date can be found here, and official event dates, locations, and schedules can be found on the official National Train Day website.
King’s Cross Railway Station and Platform 9-3/4 (London, UK) – A must-visit for any Harry Potter fan! Stationary monument established in honor of the Harry Potter series.
Southern California Live Steamers (Torrance, CA) – scale-model ride-on trains for the entire family!
Lomita Railroad Museum (Lomita, CA) – small but very fun museum for all-ages. Contains stationary stock the kids can climb on and “ride”!
Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM) (Perris, CA) – 25+-acre, mostly outdoor rolling stock railroad museum. Free admission; rides at additional cost.
San Diego Trolley – municipal railway that runs through San Diego County
Washington D.C. Metro – municipal railway that operates in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas
NYC Subway – underground and above-ground municipal railway in New York City
Northeast Regional Amtrak – train we took in Summer 2015 from D.C. to Philadelphia (stayed for a few hours) then re-boarded and went onto New York City (Note: Not the same as the Acela high-speed business service line, which has age restrictions on minors during set hours/times, consult Amtrak for details.)
Choo Choo! Have fun everyone!