RVing the Rails – Excursion Trains in Oklahoma


Shelley Dennis

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Shelley Dennis is a travel photographer and writer who threw caution to the wind and gave up most of her belongings to travel the country in an RV. Her trusty sidekick for this lifetime adventure is her Golden Retriever, Sully. You can find them both at www.PhotoTrippingAmerica.com

Many times camping trips involve exploring new territory and discovering enticing attractions along the way. Passenger tour trains have that magnetic appeal for many RVers, providing a novel way to see hidden countryside not normally viewed from the road. Railroad passengers learn about local history, culture and the many colorful characters from the communities visited. Camping World wants to make sure you don’t miss the departing whistle, so we have created a series entitled RVing the Rails. You will find the most popular excursion trains to ride in each state, complete with any specialty trains they might offer.

Steam Engine on Tracks
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Today we will explore the most popular trains in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Railway Museum

Oklahoma Railway Museum Train
Photo Credit: Oklahoma Railway Museum Facebook

Begun by several train enthusiasts with a common hobby, the Oklahoma Railway Museum and its attached railroad came about their location through a series of train “trials.” When a certain train ride on existing tracks in the Oklahoma City region proved financially feasible, the group of volunteers had their seed money to purchase property for their museum.

From 2003, the museum garnered access to more than 3 miles of track and numerous locomotives and cars, running an excursion train ride of about 25 minutes in length.

Railway and Locomotive Types

The railroad has four diesel locomotives in operation, along with 10 passenger cars and several cabooses. They run from the depot in Oklahoma City on standard gauge rails.

Seating Options

Oklahoma Railway Museum Passenger Car Interior
Photo Credit: Oklahoma Railway Museum Facebook

The railroad offers general admission tickets with open seating in enclosed passenger coach cars.

Riding Options

Although the train has one route, the Oklahoma Railway Museum offers two other modes of travel on its rails:

  • Motor Car Excursions – Two weekends in October are set aside for a ride in a motor car. The travel covers 92 miles round-trip and is a unique way to experience “train” travel.
  • At The Throttle – Those who dream of driving a steam engine get their opportunity at this special event, with a 30-minute driving experience!

Specialty Trains

Oklahoma Railway Museum Car Exterior
Oklahoma Railway Museum Facebook
  • A Day Out With Thomas – Children familiar with Thomas the Tank Engine story will love this special excursion filled with storytelling, crafts, and bouncy houses. Ride the No. 1 Blue Engine and meet Thomas’ friends.
  • Halloween Train – Join this costumed ride, ready for treats and games, plus miniature golf.
  • Christmas Train – Enjoy the Polar Express, with storybook reading, characters from the book, treats and of course, Santa!

Length of Season

The Oklahoma Railway Museum runs its trains on the first and third Saturdays of the month, from April through August. Specialty trains have specific dates outside of the usual schedule, so please check the train departure schedule to select the excursion that is right for you.


Farmrail Train on Tracks
Photo Credit: FarmRail.com

When freight transportation became imperative, railroads were constructed throughout western Oklahoma, and today’s Farmrail is still one of the busiest freight trains around.

But a passenger excursion train has been added to the lineup when a lull in the freight business occurs, and the Quartz Mountain Flyer has become a popular way to experience railroad travel for many lucky riders.

Railway and Locomotive Types

Farmrail is run on standard gauge tracks with numerous diesel engines and rolling stock. When the Quartz Mountain Flyer is added to the usual freight train schedule, enclosed passenger coaches that hold up to 125 people are attached.

Seating Options

All seating is unassigned, with space available in elegantly appointed, air-conditioned coaches. Each passenger train that runs can accommodate up to 125 riders.

Riding Options

Farmrail at Grain Silos
Photo Credit: Matthew Zisi (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Quartz Mountain Flyer excursion train can only run when freight traffic slacks. When it is scheduled, passengers will be taken for a two-hour trip back in time, departing from and returning to the depot in Quartz Mountain.

There are no other alternative routes.

Specialty Trains

This passenger railway is a specialty train by definition. Only scheduled during seasons when freight traffic is slow, the train is great way to discover western Oklahoma’s rural communities and landscapes.

Length of Season

The Quartz Mountain Flyer runs on five Saturdays in July and August, although if the need for freight delivery continues to increase, the train may not run, so please check with Farmrail to see about its availability.

Heritage Express Trolley

Heritage Express Trolley
Photo Credit: Kool Cats Photography (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dating back to at least 1915, interurban streetcars have been integral to El Reno, Oklahoma’s transportation needs. And today, a 1924 Brill car has been converted from electric power to propane internal combustion engine, so no overhead wires are needed.

This historic trolley has been renovated for “shuttle” use in downtown El Reno and constitutes the only existing trolley in the state. Service began in 2001 to give shoppers a convenient way to explore the stores and restaurants at the city’s center.

Railway and Locomotive Types

The trolley is a Brill car, originally built in 1924 requiring electrical service. But it has been converted to a propane-powered engine and runs on rails set into the streets’ pavement.

Seating Options

Trolley Tracks in El Reno
Photo Credit: Heritage Express Trolley Facebook

Passengers have open seating and can hop on and off the trolley at their leisure.

Riding Options

Because the trolley runs throughout the day, passengers can board or disembark anywhere along the route, returning by trolley as long as it is still operating for the day (it has a 5pm shutdown).

Specialty Trains

Interurban Car in 1915 in Downtown El Reno
Photo Credit: Heritage Express Trolley Facebook

Being the only operating trolley in the state of Oklahoma is pretty special, and having the distinction of being converted from electric power to propane is also quite unusual, so the Heritage Express Trolley does not operate specialty trains.

Instead, it provides service to everyday riders five days a week.

Length of Season

The Heritage Express Trolley runs year-round on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm in downtown El Reno.

Join the thousands of RVers that have a love affair with trains and ride the rails on your next camping trip. Check out the other excursion trains available on a state-by-state basis in our series, RVing the Rails. And, when you’re ready to purchase your new RV, explore the option of a Personal RV Shopper to ensure every box is checked.

RVing the Rails - Excursion trains in Oklahoma

  • Comment (1)
  • Mary Brennan says:

    Are there any Train/caravans? Where you put your RV on a train flat bed and ride the train to another location and then drive your RV?

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