On our recent trip to Bardstown, Kentucky we stopped at the Kentucky Railway Museum for a few hours. My son, just like most 5 year old boys, loves trains. We have ridden a few trains, but no two train experiences are the same. Gabe was excited to tour the train museum, but the highlight of the stop was to go for a ride through the beautiful central Kentucky countryside.
The Kentucky Railway Museum is located in New Haven, Kentucky; we actually passed by there on our way to our destination. The museum is small, but it has a variety of exhibits. It’s actually a great way to spend time while you’re waiting on the train to board. Gabe really enjoyed watching their model train. He enjoyed it so much we’re considering getting him some model steam engines for home. He already has a miniature train station, which looks very realistic may I add, so I think a model steam engine will fit into the scene quite nicely. He really does love trains so he’ll be really excited to add another one to his collection.
When they called for boarding, we quickly realized that they boarded groups first. I also noticed that many people were carrying food. I didn’t know that you could take your own food and drinks on board. They just request that it isn’t anything messy. The Museum doesn’t offer food for purchase, so don’t go hungry! You do have an opportunity to purchase things from a small country store midway through your train ride while they are repositioning the engine for your return trip. The options from the store are limited, so don’t expect anything fancy. The family next to us had packed a nice picnic style lunch which was easily eaten in our seating in the dining car. Jeremy picked up some sandwiches, drinks, and chips from the store during our stop.
At the midpoint stop, we traded seats with the family sitting across from us so that we could all see the scenery on the other side of the track. The train doesn’t make a loop, so you’ll see the same sights on the trip back if you don’t relocate.
My favorite part of the day was checking out the old trains. You can’t board them, but they’re still interesting to observe. I tried to image what it was like to primarily travel long distances by train, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the lives of those passengers were like in years gone by. Today it is the reality of historic train excursions that you can expect to be powered by a diesel locomotive. The tremendous expense of repairing and maintaining steam locomotives means that they are rarely used. The Kentucky Railway Museum is home to the official steam locomotive of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, L&N 152, and the museum is currently raising funds to restore the engine to service. You can donate to the project on their website here.
The Kentucky Railway Museum also offers themed excursions and special events such as:
- Day Out With Thomas (Thomas the Train)
- Pumpkin Patch Express
- Christmas Trains
- Mystery Theatre
- Dinner Train Excursions
- Bourbon Train Excursion
You can check out their schedule here.
If you’re traveling very far, I recommend you plan your train ride coinciding with another excursion in a nearby town. The museum isn’t large, and you can easily explore the museum, ride the train, and check out the grounds in under 2.5 hours. The town of New Haven isn’t large either, but Bardstown is just a short car ride away. You can browse the Bardstown Tourism website for ideas.
When was the last time you took a train ride?