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A Ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad – Grapevine, Texas

A Ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad – Grapevine, Texas

The railroad has been such a part of American history.  It changed society and economics during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad,

And riding on them is fun!

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad is especially fun.  It definitely has a restored vintage feel, and makes you feel like you are living a tiny bit of American History. It is also a definite “must do” when visiting the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex!

The railroad is serviced by two locomotives – “Puffy” the 1896 steam locomotive (which is the oldest continuously operating steam engine in the South) and a 1953 GP-7 diesel locomotive known as “Vinny”.  Known for years as the “Tarantula Train,” the train normally travels between Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards station on the historic Cotton Belt line.   I have to assume that the current name has more appeal to children.

Children on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad

The Friday Fun Ride

Speaking of appeal to children, the Friday Fun Ride is great for a first train experience. For a smaller ticket price than the usual Grapevine to Stockyards ride, you get an hour train ride around Grapevine.

The kids had a lot of fun, but because the route was mainly in a suburban type area, the kids got a little bored. The Lil’ Engineer Kits were great help with this.  They got to dress up as an engineer, and there were train whistles included.  The whistles had codes printed on the back of the package that we were able to practice.  So much fun!   But I think next time we’ll try to maximize the educational opportunities by activities about trains and railroad history before hand and I’ll take a train book or two on board.

Fun Educational Ideas to Prepare for the Grapevine Vintage Railroad


  • Watch Thomas the Tank Engine – I’ve seen this show on several different cable channels.  Start your search with PBS Kids.  This show not only teaches a bit about the railroad and train types, but also hard work and good character.  Already have a Thomas lover?  Watch the calendar in the Spring for Thomas to be a special guest engine in Grapevine.
  • Watch The Polar Express – OK, so this isn’t all that educational.  But, it is a great railroad movie for kids.  The Grapevine Vintage Railroad even has a Polar Express themed ride in the Christmas season called the North Pole Express.
  • Take a Virtual Train Tour – BNSF Railroad’s site has a virtual train tour so that you can look at the parts of a train and learn more about them.
  • Read Books about Trains Together – Try Train Song, Steam Smoke and Steel : Back in Time with Trains  or Steam Train Dream Train.
  • Play with a Train Set – Put together a wooden train track with little kids, or let older kids engineer their own model railroad.
  • Play Ticket to Ride – This game is marketed for ages 8+, but I think that is a little high.  Most 6 year olds should be able to play this game about cross country train travel.  Not only do you have fun and learn stragetic skills, but you can see the train routes across the US and learn a little geography while you are at it.  The board game is costly ($30-50 depending on the retail outlet), but it is reviewed highly across the board.  There is a cheaper iPhone/iPad app ($7), but having played both I think the board game version has the most value for long term gameplay.
  • Learn a Bit of Railroad Slang – Kids love learning new words for things!  Here’s a list of words to choose from.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad Ticket Station

Where is the Grapevine Vintage Railroad?

Accessible from State Highway 114 or 121, exit on to Main Street and head north. The Depot will be on the right, at 705 S. Main, just north of Dallas Road. Parking is available next to the Cotton Belt Depot, along with additional lots located just a short walk from the Depot.

View Larger Map

You can also start your trip at the Fort Worth Stockyards, and buy your tickets in the center of Stockyard Station.

More information can be found at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad website.

The children and I were guests of Visit Grapevine while we rode the rails. All opinions and the jaunty way my children wore their engineer caps are all ours.

  1. Mary {The World Is A Book} 26 August, 2013

    This looks like such a fun activity despite the suburban route. It looks like your kids are enjoying it and love their adorable outfits. What a great family activity. Wonderful ideas to get kids engaged beforehand. My son used to be a big Thomas fan and still loves trains. I’ll need to keep this in mind when we make it to your area.

  2. Connie Resnik 28 August, 2013

    Trains are so much fun for kids and this one looks like a trip back in time! Thanks for this!