Empire State Railway Museum, Phoenicia

4.5
#3 of 7 in Things to do in Phoenicia
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
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Established in 1960, the Empire State Railway Museum is a non-profit railroad museum currently located in the historic Ulster & Delaware Phoenicia Railroad Station, Phoenicia, New York. The station was built in 1899 by the U&D, and is one of the few surviving examples left along the line. The museum owns a small collection of historic railroad equipment. The museum was formerly the publisher of the annual Steam Railroad Directory until the 2006 edition, when the title was taken over by Kalmbach Publishing and now released as the Tourist Trains Guidebook.
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Empire State Railway Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
30 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The staff were very knowledgeable with the history, and there is a nice mini module of the area. But it's quite small and not much to see. The trains in the area are off limit. 
    The staff were very knowledgeable with the history, and there is a nice mini module of the area. But it's quite small and not much to see. The trains in the area are off limit.  more »
  • No ticket required to enter although they do appreciate donations. Docents on site happy to share their knowledge. 
    No ticket required to enter although they do appreciate donations. Docents on site happy to share their knowledge.  more »
  • This small museum is staffed by a few volunteers - only open on Sat/Sun 10 AM to 4 PM. But learning a bit about the Catskills early vacation history and how important this rail line was to the local....  more
    This small museum is staffed by a few volunteers - only open on Sat/Sun 10 AM to 4 PM. But learning a bit about the Catskills early vacation history and how important this rail line was to the local....  more »
Google
  • I had actually planned to take more pictures while I was here but I became so enthralled with the history and information the volunteers had during their tour. This museum is free but has the option to give donations. They have a little gift shop as well. They have a lot of original parts of the building, and a great little recreation of what the train station(s) looked like back in the day, it is made with as much accuracy as was possible, so it is really neat to look at. You certainly learn a lot from here, including about how trains used to stay on time, money security in the old building, and an overall history of the area. Although this is not at all by fault of the museum, we had asked if we could look at the trains and were given permission as long as we stayed on the grass but when we were on the grass, a girl from the business next door yelled at us that we weren't allowed over there, so come communication with that business may be needed.
  • Staff very nice. Interesting building. Beyond that, something happened here. No trains to go on, no trains that run. Basically a museum in what was a former train station. And a train museum that seems to have lost access to actual trains. If you’re in the area, It is interesting to see. They give a nice little tour with some history. hopefully they get access to some actual trains again soon
  • This is a great little historical site. The volunteer on staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We really learned a lot.
  • Fascinating place near the Catskills mountains. Hand cranked individual rolling stock running on a dedicated railroad track, with some old carriages and memorabilia . To avoid disappointment book your ride in advance as it’s very popular
  • Written in winter 2020: I’m sure it’s a great museum, but it’s only open during the summer months. There is no indication on their web site (or I missed it) or here, that they’re closed all winter and will open in May. Update in Summer 2022: Wonderful experience. Seriously. We took the children for the Rail Explorers ride, and it was a blast (for young and old alike.) Suggestion: if you decided to do the rail explorers ride, bring a snack or a small picnic so you can relax and pass the 25 minutes or so when they turn around the rail cars to return back to the starting point. You'll have beautiful views of the Catskills, and get to pedal across Route28 !

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