Fifteen minutes south of Cincinnati in Latonia, Kentucky, a group of rail enthusiasts have been acquiring vintage railcars since 1975. The collection began while privately-owned passenger cars were still allowed to be run on Amtrak trains. When regulations tightened during the late 1980s, the rail enthusiasts needed a new outlet for their vehicles. The goal of the organization changed from excursions to preservation of equipment that belonged to the seven railroads that passed through Cincinnati, thus creating The Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati.

Currently, the Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati maintains over 80 units of railroad equipment and acquires several new pieces each year to their home in the Latonia Rail Yard. Visitors are welcome to explore the museum on a self-guided tour every Saturday. Maps and descriptions of the railcars are highlighted in a pamphlet available at the welcome booth.

Chesapeake & Ohio 40-foot box car built in 1930 to transport finished automobiles

The museum displays several classic, well-known vehicles, as well as rarities that will impress rail experts. Most of the collection stems from the 1930s-1950s, while other railcars date back to as early as 1908. Some vehicles are designated as "climb aboard," which welcomes guests to walk through a passenger car, or sit in the engineer's seat in a locomotive.

Look inside the locomotive's engine
Multi-directional locomotives designated the front end of their vehicle with the letter F.

Climb aboard the locomotive.

Favorites included the Pennsylvania Railroad Post Office car, which in addition to transporting mail, had a slot for locals to drop letters mounted on the exterior. Pullman passenger cars have always been a sleek symbol of the Art Deco era. Chesapeake & Ohio trains are also fun to spot, as their branding included the face of a cat in the C&O logo, representing their slogan: "Sleep like a kitten on the C&O."

Post Office Railcar

Old luggage cart in front of the Pullmans

Can you spot the Chesapeake & Ohio car?
The napping kitten logo of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway

Prepare to spend a few hours browsing the vast collection of trains at the Railway Museum, and be sure to wear sturdy sneakers as you are walking around uneven terrain on an old railroad line. Though the tour is independently guided, museum volunteers are on site and will gladly answer any questions. You may even catch a glimpse of a CSX train traveling past the museum en route to Louisville on the old Lousiville & Nashville tracks. And yes, they will blow the horn!

CSX passes by as seen from the engineer's seat of the locomotive

Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati is open every Saturday from 10:00am - 4:00pm.