Donald M. Denlinger, founder and president of the Mill-Bridge Craft Village (now Mill Bridge Village Camp Resort), had just placed a half-hearted bid on nineteen 25-ton N-5 cabooses being sold as surplus from the Pennsylvania Railroad in the summer of 1969. Six months later, during a late January blizzard, he received a phone call that would change his life forever. 

475 tons of steel is hard to move in a blizzard, and Denlinger faced many heartaches and red tape along the way. Hard work, sweat, perseverance and prayer paid off and the official grand opening and open house was on Mother’s Day 1970. In just five hours that Sunday, over 4,500 people toured the caboose units and got lost in the nostalgic dream that was The Red Caboose. Tens of thousands of travelers, rail enthusiasts and even locals have stayed since, making The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant one of the most unique tourist destinations not just in Lancaster County, but in the United States!

Today, the Red Caboose Motel features 38 cabooses, a baggage car, mail car and The Shady Rest Hotel. That’s right, you can actually sleep in a caboose! Accommodating everything from 2-6 people, each room features a private bathroom, heat/AC, a microwave/mini-fridge, free WIFI and television. Guests looking for a home away from home with additional amenities can stay in our on-site farmhouse, The Shady Rest Hotel (NOT a caboose), which features four beautiful suites. There’s no other place like it in the world – The Red Caboose Motel boasts the largest privately owned collection of cabooses anywhere! Surrounded by thousands of acres of Amish farmland and the Strasburg Rail Road steaming right past our front door, you just can’t get this experience anywhere else.
Dine in one of our two P70 80-ton 1920’s era Pennsylvania Railroad cars at Casey Jones’ Restaurant! Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, our food is made to order and hand-crafted with our guests in mind. Little Engineers always eat for $4.99 and kids are sure to be entertained by the stunning views of the railroad, Amish buggies, and our train layout in the Red Caboose Gift Shop. We’re the perfect spot for your holiday gathering — featuring our annual Thanksgiving Buffet on Thursday, November 28, 2019 from 11am-4pm, and loads of fun during the Christmas season! And yes, the dining car still “shakes”, a nod to founder Don Denlinger. It’s a don’t miss!
Explore 9 acres of fun on The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant property. Featuring two playgrounds, a petting zoo, viewing tower, expansive gift shop, two player pianos and seasonal entertainment, there’s plenty to keep you and your family busy when you visit. Don’t miss a buggy ride offered by A is for Amish! And, you can’t miss running up to the tracks to watch the historic Strasburg Rail Road engines steam by. Check out other great stops within just minutes of our property: The National Toy Train Museum, The Choo Choo Barn and The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania; world-class entertainment at Sight & Sound Theatres and American Music Theatre; and loads of shopping both in town and on Route 30!
For the full history of The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant, pick up a copy of “How It All Started” in The Red Caboose Gift Shop. 
For more information about The Red Caboose Motel & Casey Jones’ Restaurant, please visit our website at