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What's Up Magazine

The Eastern Shore Railway Museum

Aug 23, 2012 04:15PM ● By Anonymous

According to the Town of Parksley Museum, this best-kept-secret offers a 1906 New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Railroad passenger station; tools and a tool shed from the 1800s; a turn-of-the-century crossing guard shanty; rail cars; and more. Visitors can climb aboard an array of 1950s rail cars, including two—one Wabash and one Nickel—cabooses, a dining car, and a sleeping car. Currently undergoing restoration but fun to check out, is a 1927 Pullman Coach car. On site you’ll also find a 1913 box car, maintenance cars from the 1920s and 40s, and by appointment only, visitors can request to see a full train layout.

“We were given a tour as part of a school group… [aboard] several railroad, and the people working there were very informative. They told us what this means and what that does. It is right next to the railroad tracks, so the kids were able to imagine the trains that came by, and really get a mental image of what life would have been like,” says Cindy Oehm of the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, who visited the Museum with her elementary school-aged son. “Most kids today have never been on a train, but these were the real deal. They also have a station, a platform depot that’s been restored on site, lots of artifacts from bygone eras of the railroad.”

The Wabash CabooseThe Kitchen of a 1940s Dining Car

The Museum features a combination of life-sized and case-displayed artifacts, as well as model trains, hands-on Thomas the Tank Engine displays for children, and information delivered via docents on guided tours. The town surrounding the Museum offers more for visitors interested in making a full day of the trip.

“It’s in a beautiful part of the town. The whole town of Parksley was built specifically as a stop along the railroad. They knew the train would stop there, so they said ‘let’s build this wonderful Victorian town,’ and it’s a little blip of history right there, with street after street of Victorian homes,” says Oehm. “It’s a beautiful little museum, an easy afternoon, and a fun little trip.”

A Nickel Caboose

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a snack at the onsite picnic tables, or seek shade for your midday meal under the pavilion. “There’s so much to do here locally,” says Oehm. “People should take advantage.”

This year, the Museum celebrates its 14th year in operation, and welcomes visitors Thursdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Fridays and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of November, and by appointment. Admission is free and donations are accepted. Call the Museum at 757-665-7245 for more information, or to set up a tour.

Photos by Robert Lewis and Donald Hines