RAILROADS: Magic, Mystery & Mystique

Discoveries America National Parks

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America has a long standing love affair with trains. From its yesteryears of transporting ore through the Wild West to present-day journeys, the railroads were a crucial part of the creation of the National Park System, taking early visitors to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, and other parks that were nearly inaccessible by other means. Although roads have made access easier in recent history. Today National Parks, National Historic Sites, National Historic Landmarks and Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks preserve America’s rich rail history and delight millions of people from around the world through scenic rail excursions and informative interactive exhibits.


  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
  • Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
  • Steamtown National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  • Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah
  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  • Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad National Historic Landmark and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, Colorado
  • Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad National Historic Landmark, Colorado
  • 61 minutes


NP24 REVIEW: Video Librarian 

This special entry in Jim and Kelly Watt’s acclaimed Discoveries…America National Parks series focuses on magnificent parks that also feature a train line. Here, viewers board vintage trains to witness natural beauty, starting with the Grand Canyon Railway,  The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Colorado travels an old route once used to transport metal ores mined in Silverton and brought to Durango. Gorgeous long shots of the train, with its steam engine and bumblebee-yellow cars moving through a spectacular valley, are accompanied by footage of an annual event in which people dress up in historic Western outfits amidst lots of hoopla and music. The Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah is where the Transcontinental Railroad—joining eastward and westward tracks—was completed in 1869,  Re-enactments of the project’s completion can be seen most days of the year,  Also covered here is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which originally carried coal and passengers across the Tuscarawas River Valley to Akron and Cleveland. Farther northwest, the Denali National Park—with its six million acres and tallest mountain in North America (Mount Denali)—is crossed daily by the Alaska Railroad, which has been traveling from Fairbanks to Anchorage since 1923, offering plenty to see in the way of mountains, glaciers, and wildlife. Sure to appeal to train buffs and armchair travelers, this is highly recommended. Aud: P. (T. Keogh) 


NP24 REVIEW: The Midwest Book Review 

Part of the Discoveries... America series of captivating, high-definition documentaries available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, Railroads: Magic, Mystery & Mystique is a treat for anyone fascinated by locomotives. Railroads were an important part of the creation of America's National Park system; they enabled early visitors to see Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, and other parks with their own eyes. Railroads: Magic, Mystery & Mystique offers a tour of national historic landmarks that commemorate the role of railroads, before the advent of the modern highway system eased travel to America's national parks. Locations featured include Steamtwon National Historic Site, Pennsylvania; Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah; Cumbers & Toltec Scenic Railroad National Historic Landmark, Colorado; and much more. Railroads: Magic, Mystery & Mystique is a welcome contribution to public library DVD collections, and a delight for train enthusiasts everywhere. 61 min.