All Aboard! South Carolina Fun for Tiny Train Lovers

By:Kerry Egan


It seems all children go through a train-loving phase, where all they want to do is watch the trains go by all day long. For some people, that love never ends. For rail fans big and small, South Carolina offers a wide array of ways to indulge your love of railroads, from museums to model trains to riding railroads to heritage rail lines.

The South Carolina Railroad Museum in Winnsboro is a treat for train lovers big and small. The train museum is filled with fascinating railroad memorabilia and photographs, but the real treasures await outside. Many old restored railroad cars, from locomotives to cabooses, and every type of car in between, await your discovery. But the highlight of the museum is the hour-long train ride on the museum’s very own railroad line, the Rockton, Rion and Western Railroad (RR&W). You can choose to ride in an old dining car, an open-air car or even the caboose. Great fun for kids of all sizes, it's a must-stop for all train-lovers.

The Miniature World of Trains in Greenville is just as promised—a tiny world encircled by model trains zipping by. A charming and highly detailed HO scale model of the city of Baltimore will soon be joined by G scale (large scale) and N scale sets. You even have a chance to control the trains zooming by yourself. In December, a Christmas train appears.

The Heritage Park Railway is a riding railroad in Simpsonville’s lovely Heritage Park. There’s just something delightful, to kids and grownups, about a shrunken train cars children can ride in, and a locomotive that the conductor rides atop.

If your little ones want to ride on a real train, they’re in luck. Amtrak stops in several cities in South Carolina. Based on the times that trains come through, however, the easiest way for a tiny train fanatic to take a ride would probably be a day trip from Charleston to Kingstree. Kingstree has a beautiful old railroad station from 1909, and the Kingstree Depot Family Restaurant and Diner is housed right in the train station. Big CSX freight trains pass by several times an hour, giving a thrill to rail fans young and old alike as they get some lunch before heading back to Charleston.

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