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Texas State Railroad

Texas State Railroad Rides and Annual Events


The most verdant part of Texas is the Piney Woods region.

It may be the way the light filters through the wealth of vegetation or the rhythmic clickety-clack of the wheels on the track, but nowhere is there a heightened awareness of the past than aboard Texas State Railroad as it whisks passengers back to a simpler time and place.

  • Designated the “Official Railroad of Texas”
  • 50-mile roundtrip between Rusk and Palestine
  • Historic depots with storyboards documenting the journey, the communities and the men who built the railroad
  • Crossing 24 bridges, one over 1,000 feet long
  • Multiple historic and curious sites along the route
  • Construction in Rusk started in 1881 by prisoners and was completed to Palestine in 1909
  • Four classic accommodations of travel: caboose, presidential, first class and coach with food and beverage service
  • Food and beverage services at both depots and onboard the train
  • Since the 1970s over 30 movies or documentaries have been filmed on the Texas State Railroad

Remainder of 2018

Summer Rail Season in Full Swing
Summer means the Ol’ Gals come out to play. The rare steam locomotives of the historic Golden Age debut alongside the vintage diesel brigade for rail tours throughout the summer season.

Launching on May 26, trains depart from the Palestine depot, then alternating between Rusk and Palestine each month with departures every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Throw Papa ON the Train
Run out of ideas for Father’s Day gifts? Think no further! Throw Papa ON the train for a pleasurable day filled with nostalgia and memory-making.  Dad will be enamored on Sunday, June 17 as he waves to family and friends from inside the cab of a historic locomotive on a Ride-Along. Don’t wait too long, because there’s only one locomotive per day! It is still a great experience if he stays in a comfortable coach with the whole family as well.

Summer Means Evening Excursions
On one Saturday each month, from June through September, Texas State Railroad hosts passengers for an evening excursion on the Piney Woods Route between Rusk and Palestine. The fresh scent of the evening woods coupled with the rhythm of the rails combine to make a romantic rail journey a reality. Add in appetizers and specialty alcoholic or nonalcoholic cocktails served in a comfortable first-class setting for a memorable couples’ evening. Trains depart on June 30, July 28, August 25 and September 22 at 6 p.m. Book the babysitter and the ride today!


Dogwood Viewing at Its Finest
Spring means Dogwoods are in bloom in East Texas and they are even more vivid along the rails of Texas State Railroad. The color contrast is striking as the burly, black locomotives power the vibrant crimson passenger cars past delicate white Dogwood blossoms sheltered by the lush verdant Piney Woods. Dogwood blooms peak during March aboard this scenic Palestine-area experience.

BIG Bunny Sighting Aboard Texas State Railroad
There has been a BIG bunny sighting in Texas, and this ain’t just anybunny, it’s somebunny really special! There’s no better way to celebrate the season than with the adorable rabbit himself. The Easter Egg Express takes the whole family to an Easter Egg Park filled with games and activities for all ages. The interactive train ride, Easter egg hunt and luscious lunch, with a backdrop of great music, are eggstra-ordinary venues for a delightful springtime afternoon in the Piney Woods. These popular trains fill quickly, so book early.

Prices and dates are subject to change. Please check the Texas State Railroad’s website for up-to-date information on rates and schedules before making plans.

Piney woods

Texas State Railroad