Missouri enjoys a rich legacy of railroading. Short line mining and passenger trains crisscrossed the state and outlaws Jessie and Frank James, the Younger and Dalton brothers robbed the payrolls transported on the rails in the 1870s and 80s, absconding with a handsome take of $40,000 in 1879 from the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis train raid in Glendale, Missouri. Rail travel in the state today retraces some of the same routes taken by the original railroads.
Amtrak Missouri River Runner
30 W. Pershing Road
Union Station, Suite 160
Kansas City, MO 64108
The Missouri River Runner is part of the Amtrak rail system. The nearly six-hour rail journey takes riders across the state from St. Louis to Kansas City with additional stops in Independence, Lee’s Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington and Kirkwood. Trains include snack and dining cars, and passengers may hop on and off daily trains to stay overnight at any of the cities along the route with the purchase of a rail pass.
Wabash, Frisco, & Pacific Railroad Association
1569 Ville Angela Lane
Glencoe, MO 63042
The Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad operates every Sunday 25 miles west of St. Louis during May through October. Trains run approximately every 20 minutes for a 30-minute tour through the landscape of the Meramec River. The narrated tour is provided as part of the tour. The 12-inch gauge live steam railroad allows riders to sit in open passenger cars for the scenic ride. Reservations are not required.
Branson Scenic Railway
206 E. Main
Branson, MO 65616
The Branson Scenic Railway takes riders along a 40-mile excursion trip through the Ozark foothills. The travel direction is determined minutes before the train departs, due to the shared track right of way, but both directions offer scenic views not accessible by car. The diesel locomotive and luxury passenger cars recreate travel from the 1940s, including dinner car service on selected trains. Regular daily train service begins in March and extends through early December with the Polar Express service. Reservations may be made online or at the railway station.
Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad
502 E. Walnut St.
Belton, MO 64012
The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad, located just outside the Kansas City area, is a demonstration museum that also offers 45-minute scenic train excursions that take riders on 1920s passenger coaches pulled by a 1950s diesel locomotive. The tour explores the historic downtown of Belton and nature areas surrounding the museum. The regular weekend schedule operates beginning in May and extends through September. The museum offers a Pumpkin Express in October and a Santa Train at the end of November and early December. Tickets are sold at the depot and reservations are not taken.
St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway
Highway 61 & 25
Jackson, MO 63755
The modern heritage line, St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, located 100 miles south of St. Louis, features a 1950s diesel formerly run on the Pennsylvania rail line. The original railway operated as an iron ore train and experienced a real life robbery in the late 19th century by the Dalton and James-Younger outlaw gangs. The scenic train service takes riders on special rides from May through December. Rider options include short rides of under an hour, longer excursions and scenic, holiday, and theme trips that include the Santa Express and the New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery. Reservations are made by calling the depot.