Texas State Railroad
With a pull of the whistle and a billow of fluffy white smoke, the antique steam engine leaves the Texas State Railroad depot in Palestine and your adventure begins. The Texas State Railroad takes you on a relaxing tour of the Piney Woods of East Texas aboard a vintage train built at the turn of the 19th century. You'll wind through dense green forests, over rolling fields, and above scenic rivers that make up the Piney Woods’ beautiful scenery. Along the way, you'll find yourself seeing, touching, and feeling the same things that people experienced more than a century ago.
Established in 1881, the railroad was built by inmates of the nearby Rusk Penitentiary to bring materials in and out of the prison. Its use was eventually extended to include transport of goods and passengers. In 1976, the railroad opened as a tourist line, running sightseeing tours between Palestine and Rusk.
Today, the Texas State Railroad is the official railroad of Texas offering a range of different rides that just about anyone would enjoy. For example, the railroad’s Piney Woods Train Excursion is a 4.5-hour experience that takes you through the gorgeous East Texas countryside and offers the chance to see two historic steam trains switch tracks and pass each other at two different times during the ride. Order a box lunch in advance or feel free to bring your own. Half-way and one-way tickets are also available. The Piney Woods Train Excursion runs from March through mid-November.
In addition to the Piney Woods Train Excursion, several special event trains operate throughout the year, including holiday tours, themed trips, brunch and dinner trains, and the railroad's popular Christmas adventure, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride.
Both the Palestine and Rusk depots are located on US Highway 84, approximately 2.5 hours from Dallas and three hours from Houston.
Come aboard for an unforgettable experience at the Texas State Railroad, a great option if you’re looking to go on a train ride in Texas.