If your little boy (or girl) is in love with trains and you are looking for somewhere to see them, here are a few suggestions.


Main Street Station      

1500 E. Main Street,  Richmond, VA  23219 – Phone:  804.646.MAIN – Main Street Station is located downtown in the Shockoe Bottom area.   The station has only a few trains that run daily, but if you stop in between 10am and 10:30am, you and your little one(s) will see two Amtrak trains arrive and depart (as long as they are on time!).  And if you are lucky, a freight train will roll by too.

Enter through the main entrance off Main Street, go to the second floor and sit on the balcony directly above the entrance.  You will have a unique view of the street, highway underpasses and rail lines.  The balcony faces south, so it receives sunlight most of the day, which helps you stay warm even in the cold months.

Parking:  There is a fee to park at Main Street Station, so take advantage of the 2 hour off-street parking around the17th Street Farmer’s Market if it is available.

Restrooms:  Are located inside the building.

After your trip to Main Street Station visit the 17th Street Farmer’s Market  (see their website for a schedule of days open) and River City Dinner (on 17th Street) they have a great kids menu! They are both located one block east of the station.


Ashland-Hanover Visitors Center/Old Train Station 

112 Railroad Ave,  Ashland, VA  23005   Phone: 804.752.6766.  If you are looking for an up close and personal train experience this is the place for you!  40-50 passenger and freight trains run through the center of Ashland each day.  There is no timetable to follow, but morning and evening activity is most concentrated.  Benches are situated outside the station about 6-8 feet from the tracks, (they travel through at 35mph and are loud!).  Kids really enjoy walking across the tracks and watching the road signs close off traffic before the train arrives.

Helpful Hints:

  • Bring an activity and snack for the kids while you wait.
  • If you have little ones consider watching your first train from afar and/or keeping hands on little ears while the engine roars by. Or, if you want to really avoid the noise  you can park along the tracks and wait for the trains to roll through from the safety of your car.  While you are there stop by Ashland Coffee and Tea or Homemades by Suzanne for a snack, located next to the visitor’s center.  If you prefer ice cream, venture back over England Street to The Club Car, which has a big picture window where you can continue to watch for trains.

Parking:  Free Parking is located along the street around the Visitors Center.

Restrooms:  Are located in the Visitors Center when open.

Ashland also has several events that center around their railway heritage- including a Railroad Run, Train Day Celebration and Santa Train Ride.


Old Dominion Railway Museum

102 Hull Street,  Richmond, VA  23224   Phone:  804.233.6237. The Old Dominion Railway Museum is currently closed while the renovation of the Southern Railway station is underway!.  It will re-open in 2010.

In the current location, kids can walk through the express car, look at exhibits, and walk into the caboose.   The space is tight, but kids can learn a lot from the displays, exhibits, and especially the volunteers that work there.   Freight trains move along the working track next to the museum during the day.

The museum is best suited for kid’s elementary school age and up, but that will change drastically once the permanent location opens up.  The Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society that operates the Museum plan excursions on the Buckingham Branch Railroad.  Visit the website and get on their mailing list for advance notice and to get more info.   These trips are generally in the fall, at Christmas time and in the spring.  They fill up early so don’t delay registering. Visit the website for information on hours and admission fees.

Parking:  Free parking is available in the lot outside the museum.

Restrooms:  Are not available on-site.


Humphrey Calder Community Center Park

414 N. Thompson Street  Richmond, VA 23221. This city park is different from most because it is covered with sand and overlooks I-195 and a major railway artery.  Children of all ages are thrilled when trains pass by below and they often idle, so kids can get a great look at all the train cars.  There is a toddler friendly area with swings, slide, seesaw and miniature train; and older children will love the huge corkscrew slide.

Parking:  Parking can be tricky as Thompson is a one-way street.  The best approach is from Grove Avenue, head north on Thompson and look for the brown parking signs that point to a lot behind the fire station and community center.  Or use the off-street parking on the neighboring side streets.

Restrooms:  There is restroom access at the playground and in the community center when open.

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