RVing the Rails – Excursion Trains in Michigan 393

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.  And 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.

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World

Today we will explore the most popular trains in Michigan:

Adrian & Blissfield Railroad

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: ABRailroad.com

This railroad runs on some of the oldest tracks in the nation. Built in 1834 for the Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad, today’s dinner train saunters along 14 miles between the towns of Adrian and Blissfield, so passengers can enjoy a leisurely meal with entertainment before returning to the station. The railway still hauls freight during the week, but giving passengers a unique weekend dining experience is their ultimate goal.

Railway and Locomotive Types

The Adrian & Blissfield Railroad operates with diesel engines on a standard gauge rail.  All passenger cars are enclosed, climate-controlled coaches restored to their original grandeur.

Seating Options

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: ABRailroad.com

The railroad offers traditional rail car seating, with four to a table. There are no separate classes and all seats are assigned.  Passengers travel in restored enclosed coaches, and most trains include meals and entertainment. See the Specialty Trains section for specific descriptions.

Riding Options

The A&BRR has a variety of train schedules, but all journeys are round trip. Train travel time can range from one-and-a-half-hours to three-and-a-half-hours, dependent upon the excursion selected. Dinner trains have evening hours, but other adventures start around midday.

Specialty Trains

  • Murder Mystery Dinner Train – Help solve the mystery of murder on the train, as you travel the Michigan countryside. A five-course meal is included with your three-hour journey.
  • Grandparents’ Day Pizza Train – Grandchildren will enjoy a two-hour train ride with Grammy and Gramps, complete with entertainment including a magician and coloring activities. Both age groups are welcome to devour pizza along the way!
  • Family Excursion Train – If you are looking for a shorter family outing without a large meal, get a ticket on the Excursion Train. The trip lasts for an hour-and-a-half, just long enough to entertain everyone in your party.
  • Quiet Ride in the Country Train – Relax on a two-and-a-half-hour tour with a scrumptious five-course meal. It’s a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

Length of Season

The Adrian & Blissfield Railroad runs year-round, with trains scheduled every weekend. Specialty excursions are sometimes scheduled during a weekday, so check the schedule to plan your visit.

Huckleberry Railroad

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: Drew Jacksich (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beginning its life on the rails, the Huckleberry Railroad was first run as a part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad Company in 1857. Today the line runs a 15-mile stretch in about 40 minutes, living up to its moniker by being slow enough to jump off the train and pick huckleberries before jumping back on! You won’t have to pick berries to enjoy a trip along Mott Lake these days. Just grab a ticket and hop aboard!

Huckleberry Railroad is part of Crossroads Village, a historic rural community filled with restored homes, farm buildings and businesses resurrected from times gone by. Passengers on the train will want to inspect vintage amusement rides like the 1912 carousel or Venetian swings, and take a cruise on the Genessee Belle, a replica of a paddlewheel riverboat.

Railway and Locomotive Types

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit:
GeneseeCountyParks.org

This narrow-gauge train is pulled by a coal-fired steam engine that tows restored wooden coaches and an authentic redwood caboose.

Seating Options

Open seating is available to all, with no assigned seating. Passengers travel in restored covered cars and enclosed coaches.

Because there is only one ride on the Huckleberry Railroad, there are no spurs or one-way passes.  Passengers will venture through forestland and along the shore of Mott Lake in east-central Michigan.

Specialty Trains

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: Drew Jacksich (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Railfan Weekend – The first weekend in August brings railroad enthusiasts to town, as the Huckleberry Railroad sponsors railroad shop tours, model train displays, a hobo camp, caboose tours and demonstrations along with a summer train ride.
  • Christmas Holiday Magic – Enjoy holiday lights and cheer as Santa visits Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad.

Length of Season

The Huckleberry Railroad is open for the summer season Wednesdays through Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, with specialty trains running on specific dates in October, November, and December. Check out their schedule to find your perfect train ride.

Coopersville & Marne Railway

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: Rossograph (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The tracks where the Coopersville & Marne Railway operate were actually laid in 1848. A colorful history of freight and passenger trains ran between Oakland and Lake Michigan for a number of years. When train traffic slowed, a group pooled their funds to purchase the section of track you see today, opening the C&MRR in 1990.

The months of January and February are reserved for strictly freight trains, but the other ten months give the railroad an opportunity to treat passengers to the beautiful farmlands of western Michigan.

Railway and Locomotive Types

Diesel engines push and pull the train along standard gauge rails. Upon reaching Marne, the engine uncouples and moves to the front of the train before returning back to the depot. The passenger cars are restored enclosed coaches dating from 1919 to 1927.

Seating Options

All seating is open, with no assigned seats. Passengers can board any of the four enclosed coach cars for a comfortable ride through the Michigan countryside.

Riding Options

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World
Photo Credit: Russell Sekeet (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A round trip on the Coopersville & Marne is approximately 90 minutes. There are no side spurs or one-way tickets sold.  However, there are several specialty trains with a variety of entertainment for each.

Specialty Trains

  • Bunny Train – The Easter Bunny and his pals join kids of all ages on a 90-minute excursion, with performances in the cars. The trip draws to an end when each child picks a toy from Easter Bunny’s baskets.
  • Great Train Robbery – Train deputies take on Jesse James in a western shoot out. Hold on to your valuables, as the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday try to protect passengers from the bandits!
  • Famous Pumpkin Train – Join the Great Pumpkin, Scarecrow, and Little Crow as they ride the rails, entertaining passengers until you reach the pumpkin patch, where children can pick a jack-o-lantern of their own.
  • Santa Train – Santa and his elves enjoy a decorated train ride with you on a train named in his honor. Princesses read Christmas stories in the passenger cars, while everyone awaits their turn to tell Mr. Claus about their Christmas wishes.  Each child will leave with a special gift.

Length of Season

Excursion Trains in Michigan - Camping World

The Coopersville & Marne Railway runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June through September with regular EnterTRAINment trips. Specialty trains run on specific dates from April 6 through December 22. Check their schedule to find a train trip that is perfect for you!


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. New articles will go up every Friday.

RVing the rails - excursion trains in Michigan

Shelley Dennis Contributor
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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.