Wilmington and Western Railroad

Wilmington and Western Railroad

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wilmington & Western Railroad is Delaware's only operating Museum. Take a ride on this scenic line and you will be transported back to a Golden Era when passenger trains rolled majestically through the land and steam whistles echoed off the hills. The W&W operates Steam and Diesel train excursions - primarily on the weekends. Special railroading adventures are available for railroaders of all ages. Whether you want to explore history, celebrate holidays, wine & dine or just have fun, The Wilmington & Western Railroad has just the event for you.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
180 reviews
Excellent
113
Very good
47
Average
13
Poor
3
Terrible
4

Gary R
The Villages, FL578 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
This was an attraction earmarked on our cross country bus tour itinerary to partake in today. Took the scheduled train ride that departed at 1230. We had our own rail car immediately behind the locomotive assigned to haul our 50+ person group. Nice depot, gift shop, museum & visitors area associated with the ride. Rail equipment appeared to be well maintained and is run by all volunteers. Adequate parking and overflow lot available during peak times. Workers all well behaved and in uniform of the trade. Nice 45 minute one-way ride through some beautiful and somewhat secluded Delaware countryside. Train crew members interacted with passengers during the ride. All rail cars are enclosed and have functional windows. Cooler days would be a best bet vs. heat of summer days. Wonderful attraction and highly recommend for family outing and/or to take in some local railroad history.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DocChesapeake
Suffolk, VA346 contributions
Aug 2022
The locomotives and Pullman cars are meticulously maintained and manned by very friendly volunteers. There is a little gift shop and a lot of room in the train station to wait to board the trains, especially important in inclement or hot summer weather. Boarding the cars would be difficult for someone with impaired mobility because the steps up are steep and the first step is quite a reach, even with a step stool for assistance. I booked a steam engine trip, but the train was pulled by their diesel locomotive. Different esthetic, for sure, but once we boarded the train, the engine did not matter. The Pullman cars are not air conditioned, but all the windows were open for ventilation, and it was generally comfortable on a warm summer’s day. Children sensitive to loud noises will not appreciate the loud train whistle which blows at every street crossing. Our train passed through Yorklyn and went as far as Hockessin (which I think is the farthest point traversed by the Delaware and Western RR.) I’d estimate that it was a ten-mile trip which we made in about one hour. The scenery was unimpressive: although there were some pleasant wooded areas, rural streams and ponds, and two passages cut through steep rock walls, most of the excursion was through woods, some residential areas, and past some decrepit and abandoned industrial buildings. We disembarked in Hockessin for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the engineers moved the locomotive to the other end of the train for the return trip to Wilmington. I did not realize that the outward bound trip was up a very slight grade but it was evident on the return trip because the brakes were squealing on the train cars through most of the trip back, which took about 45 minutes instead of the hour it took to get to Hockessin.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Greg Harris
Yonkers, NY1,487 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
The Wilmington & Western Railroad is a major hallmark attraction of Wilmington, Delaware and a wonderful site for families and friends to visit.

In May Of 2021, I brought and treated my wife and myself for a wonderful tour on the steam powered locomotive that is operated by the Wilmington & Western Railroad.

The staff and the train crew were wonderfully accommodating, and treated us with great kindness throughout our trip.

During our journey on the locomotive, both my wife and I viewed and took great pictures of the beautiful countryside of Wilmington. Our tour narrator on the train discussed the immense history of Delaware, its notable pioneers and settlers and the major industries that developed in the 19th Century Delaware, such as the gun powder and paper mills.

My wife and I highly recommend for all travelers, both domestic and international, visit and take a tour on this impressive and comfortable locomotive. We strongly believe that you’ll find your ride very entertaining and educational, just like we did!!!
Written May 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anthony R
Wilmington, DE1,890 contributions
Jul 2021
What a great way to see some of northern Delaware’s hidden beauty! I’ve been riding the WWRR since I was a little kid, and now have the occasional delight of taking a little kid on this historic railroad. I’ve done most of their routes, and have taken rides on a lot of different equipment, and there’s no one excursion I can recommend more than another.
I recently took a late July ride (on a gorgeous day!) from Greenbank to the Mt. Cuba picnic grove and back. The crew was excellent, the passenger cars in excellent condition, and the picnic area, which is maintained by WWRR, is lovely. The train had a new car, which is open-air, that I’m looking forward to riding next time…hopefully soon!
Written July 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stephanie M
Woodbury, NJ421 contributions
Oct 2019
Attended a birthday party here which included a private train car and a stop in a small town to do some sight-seeing shopping. The train rider is picturesque and the old steam engine is fun. I do wish we had a little bit more time in town before the return ride - the stop felt very rushed. Otherwise we had a good time.
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DLP
New Jersey1,785 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
We rented the caboose for my mother’s 75th birthday. It was a beautiful ride up to Hockessin and back with some narrated history. The caboose was well maintained and plenty comfortable for our party of 15 people. The staff was friendly and helpful. It was a fun way to celebrate a milestone birthday
Written September 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robert M
Bowie, MD43 contributions
Oct 2016 • Friends
Recently, I had an opportunity to experience a wonderful ride on the Wilmington and Western Railroad through the Red Clay Valley, just outside the city limits of Wilmington, near Elsmere. The "Ride the Colors of Autumn" train excursion is offered on selected weekends in October and November, when the leaves and foliage in the area are at their peak and splendor. The tour begins at the Greenbank Station, where one picks up the boarding pass, and can purchase a boxed lunch for the excursion to either Mt. Cuba or Hockessin. Ticket prices are reasonable, ranging from $12-$14 for coach seating to Mt. Cuba; $16-$18 for the ride to Hockessin. Senior citizen discounts are available. An open air seating option is available for an additional $1, and allows one to enjoy open windows and side facing seats for a better view of the scenery along the rail line. Trains are powered by either steam or diesel, depending on the weekend chosen. My preference was to take a steam powered engine because it seemed to be more authentic, and there wasn't any unpleasant odor from the fuel. The train crosses several bridges en route to Mt. Cuba and Hockessin, includes stunning views of Red Clay Creek and the fall foliage and colors along the railway. There is an area called Wooddale, site of a former iron rolling mill that gives one an idea of the role the waterway played in the development of mills in this area. There is also an old stone quarry nearby; numerous bridges, some that are made of stone; and dams to take in along the way. The tour takes between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on which excursion is chosen ... to Mt. Cuba and back is about an hour, with a half-hour layover. While waiting for the train, there is a park-like setting where one can take in the natural beauty of Mt. Cuba and/or enjoy lunch in the picnic grove. Boxed lunches are available at the Greenbank Station, or you can bring your own. If you choose to go the entire route to Hockessin, the roundtrip takes about 2 1/2 hours. Either way, the train excursion offers expansive and scenic views of the Red Clay valley and waterway, rolling hills of the Delaware countryside (in a very urban area), and the autumnal colors and beauty of fall in northern Delaware. It is time well spent ... and after you have seen the wonders waiting to be discovered in the Red Clay valley ... you'll be glad you took the time to "ride the colors of autumn" via rail. A five star tour.
Written October 30, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LaVonya F
Virginia Beach, VA158 contributions
Jul 2014 • Friends
We arrived at the Greenbank Station to board the train for the 12:30 pm Mt.Cuba Meteor ride. We boarded the old fashion steam engine 5 minutes prior to departure time. The interior of the train was very charming ,with all original ,well preserved and maintained flip seats and fixtures. The train traveled over a bridge, past streams, past several railroad crossings where we waved at the locals, and they waved back, past the rear of homes, and through other very scenic rustic areas prior to arriving at the Mt.Cuba picnic area. The picnic area was situated along side a running stream. There were more than enough picnic tables for all guests at this beautiful tree shaded site. We were given 30 minutes to eat the lunch that we had been pre-advised to bring. At the end of our picnic time, the train whistle sounded, and the conductor called all aboard, and we re boarded the train. The train traveled in reverse back to the Greenbank Station. The return trip was equally as pleasant as the seats flipped for a different perspective . The total trip took 90 minutes. The only thing that would have been nicer is to have had a little more time at the picnic site to just relax and take in the natural beauty after having lunch.
Written August 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JHF08
Wilmington, Delaware49 contributions
The Wilmington & Western Railroad is a non-for-profit weekend and holiday tourism operation located at Price's Corner, part of Greater Wilmington, Delaware. The route runs along the historic Red Clay Creek, a lovely scenic ride from Greenbank Station to the little town of Hockessin ("HO-kass-in").

The line started serving the area since 1867 and became a tourism line in the 1960s. The RR is mainly operated by volunteers and enjoys strong community support. After having to be rebuilt as the result of two devastating hurricane-related floods (1999 and 2003), the W&W resumed full operation in July 2007. The 2003-07 rebuild cost more than $10 million and was designed to help prevent future destruction from high water.

The railroad operates two steam engines. #98 (built in 1909) is one of the very few 4-4-0 ("American") type locomotives remaining in service. Engine #58 (built 1907) is a switch engine with an 0-6-0 wheel arrangement. Both are fired with coal.

The line also has a diesel-powered, self-propelled railcar (built in 1929) that holds 60 passengers and is often used for dinner trains. In addition, there are two diesel switch engines that are mainly used for freight operations during the week.

Two passenger rides are offered (with commentary on the outbound trip). The shorter one goes from Greenbank Station about half-way up the line to the Mt. Cuba picnic grounds, which are furnished with tables that are available free to riders. You can get off the train, picnic, and then catch the next train back to Greenbank. The ride each way is about 30 minutes.

The longer ride -- offered periodically -- goes the total route to Hockessin and terminates next to the shops at Hockessin Corners -- fine gift shops, a restaurant, clothing, outdoor furnishings, pet items, etc. (BTW, there's no sales tax in Delaware.) This ride is especially nice in the fall. Reservations are recommended since these trains are frequently sold out.

Special themed rides are frequently available. The trains and railcar are available to charter for private parties, but this does not interfere with the scheduled runs.

Further info and pictures, see the W&W website: www. wwrr.com

Wilmington is located on I-95, mid-way between NYC and Washington, DC on I-95 and is about 30 minutes from Center City Philadelphia and 20 minutes from the Philadelphia Int'l Airport (PHL). Amtrak serves Wilmington. Car rental is available in the station.

Nearby related attractions:

Historic water-powered Greenbank Mill, which dates back to 1677. The mill offers many special events, some of which are in conjunction with the railroad. The historic miller's home, barn and the flock of Merino sheep are favorites with kids and adults alike.

Near Hockessin; the Auburn Heights Preserve, a new state park opening in July 2008 and home of 14 operating Stanley Steamer automobiles, as well as an operating miniature live steam, passenger-hauling railroad.
Written February 6, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Claude Call
Baltimore, MD110 contributions
Nov 2017 • Couples
My wife and I went on one of the Autumn Leaf Special rides, one of the last of the season. Because it had been unseasonably warm throughout October, there wasn't a ton of color going on in the trees, but regardless we had a fun ride.

Tickets should be purchased online if possible, because there can be lines to buy them in-station. There are a couple of different cars available: your typical train car, which is beautifully restored, then there's an open-air car, which incurs a $1 upgrade cost (you can't upgrade online but you can pay the extra in the station). The seats in the open-air cars all face the window, so that can be a little bit of a hassle if the tour guide points out something on the opposite side of the train. The open-air cars, naturally, are also subject to weather conditions and therefore aren't always available. There's also an option to rent a caboose for a flat rate, which isn't a bad deal if you've got a group of 20-25 people.

The trips come in a couple of different flavors, depending on how much time you want to spend and the time of year you're riding. For instance, some Autumn Leaf trips are 1-1/2 hours, including a 30-minute stop in a picnic area (Bring Your Own Basket), while others go for 2-1/2 hours and include a stop in the town of Hockessin. You don't get a lot of time to shop or do much else in town, though--it's also about a 30 minute layover. For another example, in December they do a 45 minute ride in the evening to check out the Christmas lights that are put up by the pockets of neighborhoods where the properties abut the train line. There are plenty of other specialty trips available, so take a peek at the website to see what's going on.

While you're waiting for your train--or if you got there just in time and now your ride is over--it's worth taking a peek at the free railroad museum that's on the same grounds, in a restored station. The day we were there, there was a gentleman inside who was very knowledgeable about the area and its history, and he wasn't limited to just the railroad. Everyone we encountered, I should note, is a volunteer. They're all doing it as a labor of love.

On the day we went, there was a little bit of discombobulation, because one of the train cars (not a caboose) was being held for a specific group of people, and the group wasn't really aligned with the car being held. So there wound up being some confusion about who was supposed to get on which car. That delayed our start a little bit, but when you're on a round-trip to nowhere in particular, who really cares. As I noted above, we opted for the 2-1/2 hour trip, and there were a bunch of children in our car. They held it together for most of the time, but I think that particular trip was just a little bit much for their attention spans; consider the shorter trip.

There are restrooms in the train cars (we didn't use them so I can't comment further), and there's a refreshment cart that comes through at least once, with cold beverages and snacks available at reasonable prices. Oh--and while the train cars themselves aren't specifically wheelchair-accessible, they do have portable wheelchair lifts that can get someone in and out of the car, so you just have to give them the heads-up that it'll be needed.

So overall we had a fun afternoon and, while it's a little bit distant from our home for us to do frequently, at the very least I'm sure we'll take another gander at the Autumn Leaves next season.
Written November 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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