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front of train at the ohio railway museum in worthington ohio

Take a Ride in History at the Ohio Railway Museum

This Central Ohio museum is on track to provide fun for the whole family!

Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington

Take a Ride in History at the Ohio Railway Museum

By Nick Dekker

Posted On: May 13, 2022

Our family loves trains, and we'll take any opportunity to explore them. Whether it's riding historic routes like the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, visiting old train depots, watching them in designated spots like the Fostoria Rail Park. One of our favorite railroading experiences lies just down the street from us: the volunteer-run Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington. And it just opened for the season!

sign outside the ohio railway museum in worthington ohio

Open May through December on Sunday afternoons from 12-4 PM, the Ohio Railway Museum houses a collection of locomotives, streetcars, interurban cars, and other railroad-centric artifacts. The dedicated group of volunteers founded the museum back in 1948 on land that was originally part of the Columbus, Delaware, & Marion Electric Company property. Directly to the east are active freight lines, so while you enjoy a bit of living history, you can spy modern rail on the CSX and Norfolk Southern lines!

There's a parking lot out front, and you enter the museum through a replica train station – it recreates the Worthington Station that once stood near the site. Admission to the museum is $9 for adults, $7 for children 4-12 years old, $8 for seniors/military, and free for children three and under. Most importantly, your admission includes a train ride.

exhibit display at the ohio railway museum in worthington ohio

Spend some time in the small museum, checking out artifacts and videos covering railroading history, before you stroll out back to see the various cars and engines in different states of restoration. The museum staff are actively restoring equipment, so over the years more and more cars are available for touring.

two people standing in front of a train engine at the ohio railway museum in worthington ohio

Follow the signage through the various cars. Some you can walk all the way through, some you can climb aboard for a quick look. The eager volunteers are on hand to share the full history of the equipment and the role it played in local, regional, and national rail history. We love seeing the mail car, the passenger cars, and the giant engine and coal tender. Helpful guides demonstrate how coal is shoveled in, how the controls work on the engine, how the mail is collected. On one of the smaller engines you can ring the bell, too.

people sitting and riding a train at the ohio railway museum in worthington ohio

And no visit is complete without a ride on the train! The museum alternates between featuring their #64 interurban car and their #5060 passenger coach pulled by their #7178 engine (nicknamed Roger). The rides are offered on the half hour at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 PM. They take you on a straight shot about a half mile down the tracks, through the railyard, on the overpass above Route 161 (wave to the cars!), and into the woods where you'll spot old boxcars and maybe a few deer. The whole ride is narrated by one of the volunteers.

We usually make at least a couple visits to the museum over the course of their season. Around Halloween they'll run spooky Ghost Trolley tours, and close to Christmas they offer special Letters to Santa days.

For more historical attractions and family fun, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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