In many cases, the listed railroads do not operate every day. Many are operational only during the summer and fall, and some will operate only on a few selected weekends or at special events. Also, some railroads will alternate diesel locomotive operation with their steam operations. So always call to check with the railroad for a current schedule of operations and to verify steam will be operating, before planning a trip All of the operating steam locomotives listed below will allow photos that look as if they were taken in the 1950s or earlier, but some operations will be easier than others to capture this look. Some of these trains operate with vintage (original or authentic looking) passenger coaches and through rural settings, but others operate with open air tourist cars or in amusement parks or other non-authentic settings, so techniques to hide the modern surroundings, such as tight compositions, letting a line-side bush or embankment hide open tourist cars, or utilizing water tanks and other historic railroad structures as backgrounds, will have to be used to obtain authentic looking photos. As most of these operations are regularly scheduled tourist trains, they will not feature "photo run-bys," so time will have to be spent line-side or in the rail yards when switching moves are being performed as the train is readied for the day's run(s). However, riding the train can also provide good photos from a coach window, of the locomotive rounding a curve up ahead.

Pictured: Strasburg RR, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

Steam Train Diary         Steam Photo Trains for Photographers
Rail Serve (choose EVENTS then Railfan events & Excursions and Steam Specials and Charters links.)

Steam train operations in U.S. and Canada. Click on a state or province, or scroll down:
Alaska       Arizona       Arkansas       California       Colorado       Connecticut       Delaware       Florida       Hawaii       Illinois
Indiana       Iowa       Kansas       Kentucky       Maine       Maryland       Michigan       Minnesota       Missouri       Montana
Nevada       New Hampshire       New Jersey       New Mexico       New York       North Carolina       Ohio       Oregon       Pennsylvania
South Dakota       Tennessee       Texas       Utah       Virginia       Washington       West Virginia       Wisconsin       Wyoming

Alberta      British Columbia       Manitoba       Ontario

SKAGWAY: The White Pass & Yukon operates a 1947 steam locomotive through the Alaskan mountains in addition to diesel powered trips, May through September, including the "Fraser Meadows Steam Excursion."

WILLIAMS: The Grand Canyon Railway operates steam locomotive pulled trains between Williams and the Grand Canyon. Operates year around.

EUREKA SPRINGS: The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway operates trains with 1906 vintage locomotives several times daily on a 5-mile round trip outside historic Eureka Springs. Railyard features turntable, historic depot and other historic equipment.

READER: The Reader Railroad operates a 1907 Baldwin 2-6-2 locomotive on a 7-mile round trip.

BUENA PARK: Knott's Berry Farm amusement park features the Ghost Town & Calico Railway with daily trains using historic steam locomotives from the Denver & Rio Grande Western and Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge lines in southern Colorado. One of the original Galloping Goose rail cars (#3) from the Rio Grande Southern also is in operation - the only Galloping Goose outside Colorado. Railroad operates year around.

FELTON: The Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroad operates circa 1900 steam logging locomotives on a 6 1/2 mile trip through Redwood forests and a recreated 1880s logging town. A special annual event each Memorial day is a Civil War reenactment and address by "President Lincoln." Operates daily April-October, plus weekends November-March.

FISH CAMP: The Yosemite Mountain-Sugar Pine Railroad operates early 1900's "Shay" (geared) steam locomotives over an old logging railroad in the Sierra Nevada. Operates daily May-September, plus weekends April and October.

Ft. BRAGG / WILLITS: The California Western RR operates the "Skunk Train" excursions between Ft. Bragg and Willits with 1924 Baldwin locomotives.

FREMONT & SUNOL: The Niles Canyon Railway offers steam train operations on selected weekends through the year.

JAMESTOWN: The Sierra Railway features steam train trips operating out of an 1897 rail yard used in many western movies. Operates weekends April-October, plus Saturdays in November.

PERRIS: The Orange Empire Railway Museum operates steam trains and other vintage rail equipment during special events, including "Railfest" and a Civil War reenactment.

POWAY: The Old Poway Park operates a 1907 Baldwin 0-4-0 steam locomotive and a replica 1900 passenger car.

SACRAMENTO: The California State Railroad Museum operates the Sacramento Southern excursion line using 1920's - 1940's vintage steam locomotives. Steam trains operate on weekends Spring - Fall plus other selected dates.

SAN BERNARDINO: The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society runs occasional excursions behind former Santa Fe steam locomotive #3751, a 4-8-4 Baldwin built in 1927.

ALAMOSA: The Rio Grande Scenic RR operates a steam passenger train over LaVeta Pass May to October.

ANTONITO: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR operates original 1920's steam locomotives over a 64 mile section of the original Denver & Rio Grande Western's 1880's narrow gauge railroad through wildly scenic mountain terrain in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, between Antonito and Chama, New Mexico. Operates memorial Day weekend through mid-October, with one train each day from each end of the line. Special events include chartered photo excursion freights with photo run-bys.

CRIPPLE CREEK: The Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge RR operates early 1900's 2-foot gauge mining locomotives several times daily mid-May through mid-October. The passenger cars are very un-authentic, but the little locomotives are fascinating to observe and photograph. The trains operate along a piece of the original railroad grade past many remnants of historic mines and mining camps in what was one of the richest mining regions in the world in the late 1800s.

DURANGO / SILVERTON: The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad operates original 1920's vintage steam trains through the scenic Animas River Canyon between these two old mining towns, over a portion of the original Denver & Rio Grande line that has been in continuous operation since 1881. May-October: Operates several trains daily Durango-Silverton. Winter schedule November-May: One daily trip from Durango to Animas Canyon and return. Special events include "Railfest" with visiting steam locomotive Eureka & Palisades and Galloping Geese motor cars, and a photo excursion train with photo run-bys in September.

GEORGETOWN / SILVER PLUME: The Georgetown Loop RR operates an ex-West Side Lumber steam "Shay" locomotive over a restored section of the original Colorado & Southern line between these two old mining towns, that crosses the spectacular "Devil's Gate Viaduct" trestle. Operates several round trip trains daily Memorial Day-October.

GOLDEN: The Colorado Railroad Museum operates former Denver & Rio Grande 1881 locomotive #346 on several "steam-up" weekends each year, around the museum grounds which include a reconstructed roundhouse, turntable, and other vintage rail equipment. Also operates several of the Galloping Geese rail cars at these events.

ESSEX: The Valley Railroad's Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride features 1 1/2 mile excursions using early 1900's steam locomotives and authentic coaches. Operates daily mid-June-Labor Day, plus Wednesday-Sundays in spring and fall.

WILMINGTON: The Wilmington & Western RR features a dinner train of early 1900's vintage steam equipment. Operates weekends April-December.

TAVARES: The Orange Blossom Cannonball offers steam train rides behind a 1907 steam locomotive that has appeared in several well known movies.

LAHAINA: The Lahaina, Kaanapali & Pacific RR offers steam train rides around 1900 era sugar cane plantations. Operates year around.

FREEPORT: The Silver Creek & Stephenson RR features steam train trips on a 4-mile route through the Illinois countryside. Operates selected weekends only, May to October.

UNION: The Illinois Railway Museum features a 5 mile train trip that may be pulled by a steam locomotive, plus an annual Civil War reenactment. Operates weekends April-October.

HESSTON: The Hesston Steam Museum operates steam trains on 2 1/2 mile trips on their grounds. Operates weekends Memorial Day - October, plus on special events.

NEW HAVEN: The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society operates Nickel Plate Berkshire locomotive 2-8-4 #765 built by Lima in 1944 on special steam train excursions each year.

NOBLESVILLE: The Indiana Transportation Museum operates 2-hour steam train excursions behind former "Nickel Plate" locomotive #587 on selected weekends April-October, plus special excursions.

BOONE: The Boone & Scenic Valley RR offers a 22-mile round trip behind steam locomotive #8419. Operates May-October.

MT. PLEASANT: The Midwest Central RR operates a steam train on dates of special events in June, Labor Day weekend and October, including the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion's large annual steam tractor and antique gas engine show each Labor Day weekend.

ABILENE: The Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad Association operates diesel powered excursion trains, but occasionally with Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe steam locomotive #3415.

NEW HAVEN: The Kentucky Railway Museum operates a 22 mile round trip through the Kentucky countryside behind steam locomotive #152. Operates Tuesday-Sunday June-September, plus weekends March-May and October-December.

ALMA: The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum operates steam trains on original 24 inch gauge trackage on selected dates.

Portland: The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum runs steam trains during special events.

CUMBERLAND: The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad runs 32 mile long steam powered trips through mountain terrain between Cumberland and Frostburg. Operates weekends May-December.

DEARBORN: The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village Railroad operates an 1876 steam locomotive around an early 1900's vintage village setting, including a recreated operating 1884 roundhouse.

FLINT: The Huckleberry Railroad operates a narrow gauge steam train in an 1800's living history village setting. Operates mid-May through November.

OWOSSO: The Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation operates 2-8-4 Pere Marquette steam locomotive #1225 on special events and excursions.

WHITE PIGEON: The Little River Railroad operates a steam train on a 25 mile round trip between White Pigeon and Sturgis. Operates Memorial Day - October.

DULUTH: North Shore Scenic Railroad operates steam train excursions between Duluth and Two Harbors on Fridays and Saturdays, mid-August to mid-September.

MINNEAPOLIS: Railroading Heritage of Midwest America and Friends of the 261 operate 1944 4-8-4 steam locomotive #261 on special excursions.

BRANSON: Silver Dollar City Theme Park operates several 2 foot gauge steam locomotives built in the 1930s, April-December. The passenger cars are very un-authentic, but the little locomotives are genuine and make for good photos.

NEVADA CITY: The Alder Gulch Shortline operates with a 1910 2-8-0 steam locomotive between the old mining/ghost towns of Nevada and Virginia Cities. Operates 7 trains a day Memorial Day-Labor Day.

CARSON CITY: The Nevada State Railroad Museum operates Virginia & Truckee and other historic steam locomotives from the late 1800s-early 1900s around the museum grounds. Operates spring through fall on weekends.

EAST ELY: The Nevada Northern Railway Museum operates steam trains using original steam locomotives and coaches, operating out of an authentic 1800s' rail yard setting. Operates May-September, with a special steam excursion and photography workshop in November.

VIRGINIA CITY: The Virginia & Truckee Railroad Co. operates early 1900's steam locomotives on tourist trains between Virginia City and Gold Hill, through the old Comstock mining territory. Operates late May-late October.

NORTH CONWAY: The Conway Scenic Railroad offers easy authentic looking steam train photos. It operates a 1921 steam locomotive and authentic coaches through mountain scenery between North Conway and Bartlett. Operates daily mid-May to mid-October, plus weekends mid-April to mid-May and November-December.

FARMINGDALE: The New Jersey Museum of Transportation operates a steam train on the Pine Creek Railroad at Allaire State Park.

FLEMINGTON: The Black River & Western RR operates a steam train between Flemington and Ringoes. Operates weekends April-December, plus Thursday and Friday July-August. Special events include a train robbery reenactment in May.

CHAMA: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR operates original 1920's steam locomotives over a 64 mile section of the original Denver & Rio Grande Western's 1880's narrow gauge railroad through wildly scenic mountain terrain in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. Operates memorial Day weekend through mid-October, with one train each day from each end of the line. Special events include chartered photo excursion freights with photo run-bys.

ARCADE: The Arcade & Attica RR operates an early 1900's era steam train. Special events include a Civil War reenactment. Operates weekends Memorial Day - October, plus Wednesdays July-August.

BLOWING ROCK: The Tweetsie Railroad operates a 3-mile train trip in an amusement park setting behind original early 1900 era narrow gauge steam locomotives.

SPENCER: The North Carolina Transportation Museum / Historic Spencer Shops operates a steam train around the museum grounds. Train operates on weekends, April-Labor Day.

SANDUSKY: The Cedar Point & Lake Erie RR operates several narrow gauge steam tourist trains around the Cedar Point peninsula.

BAKER CITY: Sumpter Valley Railroad operates narrow gauge steam trains on 10 mile trips through a historic mining area. Operates weekends and holidays, Memorial Day - September.

PORTLAND: The Pacific Railroad Preservation Association occasionally runs excursions with 1938 Baldwin locomotive #700.

PORTLAND: The Friends of the 4449 operate former Southern Pacific 1941 Lima GS-4 streamlined 4-8-4 steam locomotive #4449 on special occasions and excursions.

TILLAMOOK: The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad runs steam trains along the beautiful Tillamook Bay on the Oregon Coast.

ASHLAND: The Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train features a train pulled by a 1927 narrow gauge steam locomotive. Train operates in May, September, and October.

GRANTHAM: The Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association operates Ex-Pennsylvania RR 0-6-0 steam locomotive #643 on a few occasions each year.

KEMPTON: The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern may run a steam locomotive in addition to diesels. Operates weekends, May-October.

NEW FREEDOM: Steam Into History Inc. operates a replica Civil War era 4-4-0 locomotive and train between New Freedom and Hanover Junction to present the role York County played in the Civil War.

NEW HOPE: The New Hope & Ivyland RR operates several trains a day with very authentic looking locomotive and coaches. Special events include train robbery reenactments.

SCRANTON: Steamtown National Historic Site features the steam era Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR roundhouse and locomotive shop, and steam train excursions between Scranton and Moscow. Trains operate Memorial Day weekend through early November.

STRASBURG: The Strasburg RR features steam train rides through scenic Pennsylvania countryside, using authentic passenger coaches and locomotives. Operates weekends February through December, plus daily April - October and the last week of the year.

HILL CITY: The Black Hills Central RR operates a steam train between Hill City and Keystone, with early 1900's locomotives and coaches. Operates mid-May to early October.

MADISON: Prairie Village living history town features buildings and farm equipment from a century ago, including a steam train that operates around the museum grounds, and steam era roundhouse, turntable and depot. Operates daily June - August, plus on special events.

CHATTANOOGA: The Tennessee Valley Railroad www.tvrail.com operates several steam train trips a day through scenic countryside. Operates daily April-November. (Or www.21stcenturysteam.com)

KNOXVILLE: The Three Rivers Rambler usually runs diesel powered excursions on weekends and holidays, but on some Sundays in November and December will operate behind an 1890 or 1925 steam locomotive.

PIGEON FORGE: The Dollywood Entertainment Park operates the steam powered "Dollywood Express" around the park grounds, which features replicas of early 1900's towns.

CEDAR PARK: The Austin Steam Train Association operates a very authentic looking steam train through scenic countryside.

GRAPEVINE: The Grapevine Vintage Railroad operates steam trains between Grapevine and Ft. Worth using late 1800's locomotives and early 1900's coaches. Operates year around.

RUSK: The Texas State Railroad operates a steam train on 50 mile round trips between Rusk and Palestine. Operates weekends March-November, plus Thursdays & Fridays in June and July. Special events include Civil War and WWII reenactments.

HEBER CITY: Heber Valley RR operates several steam trains a day with authentic coaches through scenic Utah countryside. Operates daily June-Fall plus weekends in winter.

PROMONTORY: The Golden Spike National Historic Site operates replicas of the mid-1800s locomotives that were in use when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads were joined here in 1869 when building the first transcontinental line. The locomotives operate to the site and back once a day from May to mid-October.

NORFOLK: Norfolk Southern runs periodic steam trains and excursions over its system using historical society and preservation groups' locomotives.
CHEHALIS: The Chehalis-Centralia RR Association offers a 14 mile trip behind a 1916 steam locomotive. Operates Late May - early September on weekends.

ELBE: The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad operates steam locomotives.

CASS: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park operates early 1900 "Shay" type (geared) steam locomotives from late May to late October (fall operations may be weekend only).

ELKINS: The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad operates steam excursion trains April-December.

GREEN BAY: The National Railroad Museum operates a steam train on short trips around its grounds daily during the summer. Special events include a Civil War reenactment.

LAONA: The Camp Five Museum Foundation operates the steam powered "Lumberjack Special" with authentic passenger coaches through scenic countryside. Operates mid-June through Labor Day.

MARSHALL: The Whiskey River Railway operates a steam train on a 2-mile route through Wisconsin countryside. Operates daily Memorial Day through Labor Day and in December; and on weekends in October.

NORTH FREEDOM: The Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society operates steam trains with authentic coaches on 7-mile trips through scenic countryside. It operates from an authentic railyard with water tank, 1894 depot, and historic rail equipment. Operates daily mid-May through Labor Day, plus weekends through October. Special events include a winter steam up, Civil War weekend, and a WWI weekend.

CHEYENNE: The Union Pacific Railroad maintains several historic locomotives, including large steam locomotives #844 and #3985 (the largest operating steam locomotive in the world), in operating condition for use on promotional trains, special rail events and also charter excursions by railroad clubs. Both the excursion runs and also "ferry" moves to get a steam locomotive to an event town offer several opportunities for photography each year. Or use www.up.com and do a search for “steam program.”

CALGARY: Canadian Pacific runs occasional "roving ambassador" excursion steam trains behind 1930 Hib Hudson 4-6-4 #2816. (Search 2816 Excursions and events on the web site.)

EDMONTON: Alberta Railway Museum operates steam locomotive #1392.

EDMONTON: Fort Edmonton Park features the steam powered Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway with locomotive #107, as well as living history of 1846 to 1929 with staff in period dress.

STETTLER: Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions offers steam train excursions – some which may feature a wild west train robbery - behind 1920 Baldwin #41 or locomotive #6060, built in 1944.

FORT STEELE: The Fort Steele Steam Railway operates with steam locomotive #1077.

KAMLOOPS: Kamloops Heritage Railway operates steam locomotive #2141 built in 1941.

PORT ALBERNI: The Alberni Pacific Railway operates 1929 Baldwin steam locomotive #7.

SUMMERLAND: The Kettle Valley Steam Railway runs a 1912 steam locomotive #3716. Special events include train robbery re-enactments.

WINNIPEG: Prairie Dog Central Railway operates steam locomotive #3 through rural Manitoba.

TOTTENHAM: South Simcoe Railway runs steam powerd excursions through the scenic Beeton Creek valley.

WATERLOO: Waterloo Central Railway is a diesel powered railroad that may soon be running a steam locomotive.

(On the web site, click on "Special Events" or similar link.)

A double headed steam photo freight performs a "photo run-by" on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR out of Chama, New Mexico.

Durango: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, photographers' steam excursions in February and September.
La Veta: The Rio Grande Scenic RR operates 1911 steam locomotive #18 on an annual photographers' train and chartered photo excursions. Events may include night shots, vintage automobiles posed by the tracks, and photo run-bys.

MARYLAND, Cumberland: Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

NEVADA, East Ely: Nevada Northern RY Museum, steam excursions and photo workshops, usually in February, September and November.

NEW MEXICO, Chama: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, steam photo freights with the tenders relettered for the historic Rio Grande RR are usually run in the fall. Triple headers (three locomotives) at times are a feature of one of these events. Also the Narrow Gauge Dead Goat Saloon will list upcoming freight charters.

New Hope: New Hope & Ivyland RR.
Rockhill Furnace: East Broad Top RR, steam photo trains at the Columbus Day Weekend Fall Spectacular.
Scranton: Steamtown National Historic Site, features an annual Railfest.
Strasburg: Strasburg RR, runs occasional special photo events.

TEXAS, Rusk: Texas State Railroad, features an annual Railfest with steam photo trains.

UTAH, Heber City: Heber Valley Railroad, runs steam photo trains in February.

WASHINGTON, Elbe: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad

WEST VIRGINIA, Cass: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, photographers' steam log trains, usually in May.

Back to Top      Back to Index Page