Get Spooked on One of These Haunted Vintage Train Rides

Skip the haunted house and climb aboard one of these trains instead

Several railroads around the country are offering spooky train rides just in time for Halloween. (Diego Torres Silvestre - Flickr/Creative Commons)
smithsonian.com

Haunted houses have long been an ubiquitous part of Halloween, but what about haunted train rides? From California to Pennsylvania, a number of railroads across the nation are swapping out their typical scenic train rides in exchange for scary adventures along the rails. Here are four sure to send a shiver down your spine just in time Halloween.

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, New Hope, Pennsylvania

As the nights grow longer and a bone-tingling chill fills the air, the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad morphs into the Bootlegger Express, a Prohibition-themed adventure that takes passengers on a 30-minute journey through the rambling landscape of New Hope, a riverside town 40 miles north of Philadelphia. After a nip or two of “the deadliest embalming cocktails” at the Undead Speakeasy, passengers exit through the bar’s secret back entry to travel the same tracks laid out by the North-East Pennsylvania Railroad in 1891. Onboard a vintage train, they’re accompanied by a gang of rum runners delivering an illegal shipment of booze. The event takes place now through Halloween with multiple engagements each night.

Rock River Thresheree, Edgerton, Wisconsin

Expect spooks aplenty aboard the Rock River Thresheree’s annual Haunted Train Ride in Edgerton, located 35 miles southeast of Madison. Each diesel-locomotive-pulled train ride departs the station after dark, right when the ghosts and goblins come out to play. Rides are approximately 20 minutes in duration. The event takes place every weekend now through Sunday, October 28.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown, California

Known as one of California’s heritage railroads, the Sierra Railway has become a popular filming location over the years, earning the moniker “The Movie Railroad” and appearing in such films as 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Wild Wild West, starring Will Smith. One look at the picturesque stretch of railroad and rustic train depot located in Jamestown, a town situated about 100 miles southeast of Sacramento, and it’s easy to see why. For the annual Harvest Haunt Express taking place each weekend now through October 28, a “skeleton crew” of entertainers will whisk passengers away on a haunted journey throughout the California countryside. Every weekend there’s a different theme, with October 27 and 28's being “Witches and Wizards.”

Midwest Old Threshers, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

Climb aboard this train ride if you dare. Called the Midwest Haunted Rails Train of No Return, the annual excursion takes place on weekends through October 27 and includes a frightening ride aboard a train pulled by one of the Midwest Central Railroad’s collection of vintage diesel locomotives. In addition to the spooky journey (visitors can ride an unlimited number of times), admission includes carnival rides and a spin on the Haunted Steam Carousel.

About Jennifer Nalewicki

Jennifer Nalewicki is a Brooklyn-based journalist. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, United Hemispheres and more. You can find more of her work at her website.

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