Texas State Railroad – The Official Railroad of Texas
Vintage steam and diesel locomotives take passengers across the celebrated rails of the Piney Woods Route between the quaint East Texas towns of Palestine and Rusk on a 50-mile roundtrip adventure.
This quintessential daytrip, only a few hours from the metropolitan communities of Dallas and Houston, will create a memory that will last a lifetime.
In 1881 prisoners from the East Texas Penitentiary built 1.3 miles of railroad track. In 1909, the final ties were laid, connecting Rusk with Palestine.
Over a century later, the Texas State Railroad whisks passengers back in time to when steam locomotives were king and diesel power was in its infancy. Each season, with the spring blooms of Dogwoods or the autumn red of Sumacs, is more sensational because it’s viewed from a train. Passengers aboard comfortable early-1900 coaches, hosted by friendly and informative attendants, travel along gently rolling hills passing over 24 bridges … one over 1,000 feet long. Unusual railroad structures, such as the locomotive turntable located midway, dot the historic route.
Music and points of interest compliment the scenic excursion. The 4-hour train ride, including an hour layover, is just part of the journey. Passengers will have time to savor both the Rusk and Palestine depots which have upscale gift shops and historical story boards. The railroad has a beautiful park at each end of the excursion route. The Rusk depot has a vintage movie theater and overnight camping accommodations offer an experience few can boast – watching a locomotive engine run right through the campground.
Trains depart on a varied year-round schedule from Palestine to Rusk. Passengers can choose between train rides pulled by diesel or steam locomotives, depending on time of year and day of travel.
It’s a relaxing train ride through the piney woods of East Texas, enjoy unique special events with your family or relax on a romantic evening train on select dates throughout the season! This historic railroad offers steam train excursions that travel 25 miles through the scenic piney woods and hardwood creek bottoms of East Texas amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, nature and wildlife.
The Piney Woods
Our Piney Woods Excursion takes visitors on a relaxing and scenic round trip journey through the beautiful East Texas countryside. The route is flanked by a Victorian and Iron-Ore depot, each giving riders a glimpse of what it would have been like to catch a train in the golden age of rail travel.