Railfan Motels

Motels & Hotels with a railroad view

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harrisburg, PA - Staybridge Suites

Address:    920 WILDWOOD PARK DRIVE                                        Phone: 717-233-3304

Location/ Directions: I-81. Take exit 67 A Cameron St. At light onto Wildwood Pk Drv.

Average Price (Checked Dec 2010):   $130.00+                        AAA Rated:    NO      Stars: (n/a)

About Hotel: 5-Stories, 127-Rooms, Interior Corridors, Pets allowed with nonrefundable (fee), All Rooms Non-Smoking, On-site Guest Self-Laundry (washer/dryer), Barbecue Grills, Indoor Pool, Business Center, High Speed Internet Access, Concierge Services, Ice Machine, Fitness Center, Complimentary Continental Breakfast, Color Cable / Satellite TV, DVD Player, Coffee Maker, Dishwasher, Full Kitchen, Ice-maker in Refrigerator, Kitchenette, Microwave Oven, Plates/Glassware, Pots/Pans/Serving Dishes, Refrigerator (full), Silverware, Toaster, Work Desk w/ Lamp, Direct Dial Phone with Voice Mail, Speaker Phone, Free Local Phone Calls, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Connecting Rooms, Double Glazed Windows, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning, Iron / Ironing Board, Windows Open by Guest.

Railroad View:  Excellent View...but of what??  Motel overlooks Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg Yard. (Not to be confused with Enola Yard across the river).  Harrisburg Yard is an intermodal yard.  Parked train's foul most if not all of the view of train's passing the yard.  Amtrak, and through freights use the far side of the yard. During my 3 night stay, I only about an hour when there was nothing in the yard to foul my view of the mainline.  Other scattered times, I was able to see passing trains through parked stack cars, lined up just right.   This view was achieved from a room on a high floor (room # 426) allowing me to see passing train's across the yard.  Binoculars are useful you you want a detailed look (such as engine numbers).  Tree's along the railroad also limit the view during foliage seasons.  Ask for a room on a high floor on the front side of the building.  Even room numbers are needed for the railroad view.  There are lights in the yard making it possible to see the trains at night. 

Railroads past Hotel: Norfolk Southern / Amtrak.  Motel overlooks Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg Intermodal Yard.  About 50-60 train's daily pass this yard.

Notes:     This is a brand new motel (new 2009).  The motel is very nice, well kept, and the entire staff gets two-thumbs up!  I had no problems, during my stay.  This is a centrally located motel for train watching in the Harrisburg area, and easily accessible off I-81.

Comments: 

Picture Comments:  Pictures taken from room # 426, a one-bedroom suite featuring two-double beds.  (Left Photo): A westbound Norfolk Southern train slowly pulls into Harrisburg Yard to drop its double stack train.  Trains spend many hours in the yard while their containers are swapped out.  (Right Photo):  Harrisburg Yard at night.  Lights in the yard make night train watching possible.  However, there is not too much to see, as standing cuts of cars block the mainline action across the train yard.

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harrisburg, PA - Comfort Inn Riverfront

Address:    525 South Front Street        Phone: 717-233-1611

Location/ Directions: Off I-83 Exit 43 on 2nd Street. At 3rd Traffic light turn left onto Chestnut St. At Front St. turn left hotel on right, approx. 3 blocks. I-81 Exit 66, south front street, hotel 4 miles on right.

Average Price (Checked Apr 2011):   $68.00                       AAA Rated:    N/A      Stars: (n/a)

About Hotel: 2-Stories, 115-Rooms, Interior Corridors, Business Center, Fitness Center, Free Coffee, Free Deluxe Continental Breakfast, Free Newspaper Mon-Fri, Guest Laundry, Outdoor Parking, Pet-friendly Hotel, Restaurant, Seasonal Outdoor Pool, 100% Smoke Free Hotel, Cable/Satellite TV, Free Local Calls, Free Wireless High Speed Internet Access, Hair Dryer, In-Room Air Conditioning, Individual A/C & Heat, Iron & Ironing Board, Microwave, Refrigerator, Voice Mail, Wake-Up Service, Free Local Calls.

Railroad View:  Excellent View.  Any room on the river side (rear of motel) will give you a railroad view.  The railroad view is slightly to the right, you will see a railroad bridge, you can view trains passing over the Susquehanna River.  A walking/jogging path called "Capitol Area Greenbelt" which runs between the motel and the river provides an excellent place to watch the trains from.  The path crosses under the railroad bridge, making photography possible from either side of the bridge.  At night, there is enough light to video passing trains.  During my 13 hour stay, I saw 11 trains plus I slept well between 1:30am and 7am.  Windows do not open and there is almost no noise from passing trains, so keep an eye out the window.  In daylight you can also view trains across the river.  As of this writing in 2017, this is the best railfan hotel in the area!

Railroads past Hotel: Norfolk Southern.

Notes:  The hotel is an older property but very well kept, front desk was glad to help me get a room with a good railroad view.  There is a Indian Restaurant next door, all other food you will need to take a drive or have it ordered in.

Comments:      

 Picture Comments: The aerial photo shows the Comfort Inn motel which is located on the east side of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg.  The Greenbelt trail runs along the river, and is a great place to take photo's from.