This past weekend I had the pleasure of combining two things I love: something that makes my children squeel with joy and a new, undiscovered town. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I truly liked the town of Phillipsburg and the non-profit train system that runs there through The New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society and by how much my children loved it as well.
As a preface, I have to tell you that if you have a son or daughter who loves Thomas, going to see him is a must. After spending hours on end watching the videos, reading the books, and playing train set it was really a magical sight to see a real life-size tank engine that was identical to those little train cars you have smooshed between your couch cushions. I think the zillions of 2 1/2 year old boys running around in their Thomas t-shirts felt the same way we did. It was awesome.
Aside from the train ride there were stations set up for various activities so that you would have something to do before and after your trip. There was a “real” Sir Topham Hat to pose with for photos available for purchase or you could snap your own. A juggler put on a stage side show that entertained the adults as well as the kids. A large tent was set up with various stations including wooden and plastic train sets for play, a spin-art paint station, and a stamper station where kids could use Thomas and Percy stamps to make their own artwork. There was also a miniature petting zoo with Shetland ponys, goats, bunnys, and more. Food for purchase on-site and at local eateries and a tented Thomas gift shop as well. The only station we did not visit was the TV viewing station which played Thomas videos because there was just too much else to do!
The experience overall was a joy and a pleasure and a huge part of it was the staff. I went on a weekday, just myself and kids in tow. I was a little nervous about not having another adult on hand even though it is not rare for me to be the solo adult when going on an outing. The staff were so helpful and the event was so organized that it was not an issue whatsoever. I left patting myself on the back!
Aside from the Thomas event, Delaware River Railroad Excursions holds many other events throughout the year. Year round you can ride their freight trains or the Mine train and experience the world’s only Exploding Gem Stone Mine. The Warren County Winery Train sounds like a delight for wine enthusiasts or for a date night (note: leave the kids at home for this one!). For kids, there is also a Corn Maze Train, the Great Pumpkin Train, the Easter Bunny Express, and The Polar Express. Next month on August 6th, they are hosting a fundraiser train to raise funds for Whippany Railway Museum #4039.
Excursions at Phillipsburg have a great history all to their own. “The New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society is a non-profit educational society interested in the preservation of the rich railroad history of New Jersey, most specifically that of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway.” (as per their website). Halfway between Philadelphia and New York, it is an easy drive and very scenic. I was surprised with the lack of traffic and how I could find my way there without getting absolutely lost (a feat for me in unchartered territory!). I encourage you to learn more about The New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society and all they have to offer. Stay tuned for more reviews this year!
For more information on purchasing tickets:
Delaware River Railroad Excursions
99 Elizabeth Street