The NRHS's annual RailCamp program offers a unique opportunity to high school students providing hands-on training in one of America's oldest and most important industries. During the one-week program campers will learn about railroad history, preservation, maintenance, operations and experience firsthand how to couple rail cars together, to inspect equipment and help to maintain steam and diesel locomotives.

About RailCamp

RailCamp is an educational experience for high school students who have an interest in railroads and railroading. The program is designed to teach students about 21st century railroad operations, dispatching, and maintenance while providing a simultaneous experience in the early history of U.S. railroads in the development and settlement of our country. Students will learn both modern and historic elements of America’s most vital transportation mode, including how diesel, electric, and steam locomotives function, how track is built and maintained and how early freight and passenger cars were constructed.

With a focus on the ways in which revolutionary technical changes in modern railroading affect today’s business, students will attend a week-long camp where they will participate in railroad operations, interact with railroaders, learn about preservation techniques, experience railroad history, career opportunities, and work with real railroad equipment. Camp opportunities are offered in both Newark, DE and Tacoma, WA during the summer months.

Here is a link to the article Amtrak did on RailCamp, as published in the August/September 2016 Amtrak Ink.

2019 Session Schedules

RailCamp East (Newark, Del.): June 30-July 6, 2019. Please note, these dates have changed.

RailCamp Northwest (Tacoma, Wash.): July 28-August 4, 2019.

About the Programs

RailCamp East - Newark, Del. - Amtrak, a longtime NRHS partner, will host campers at its High-Speed Rail Training Facility and National Operations Center in Wilmington, DE. Students will be exposed to the daily operations of America’s intercity passenger railroad. Students will also spend two days in Strasburg, PA at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Strasburg Rail Road, where they will learn about the daily operations of a historic steam railroad and the restoration of steam locomotives and vintage passenger equipment through hands-on experiences. Students will explore the railroad museum’s extensive displays of railroad equipment and artifacts, and campers will learn about the unique history and culture of Pennsylvania’s railroads and the influence they had on the growth of the United States. Lodging and meals will be provided at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE.

RailCamp Northwest - Tacoma, Wash. - Amtrak will host students for a day at the newly-renovated King Street Station in Seattle, WA and its adjacent maintenance facility. Students will visit the operations center of Tacoma Municipal Belt Line (Tacoma Rail) and participate in a working intermodal operation. The Northwest Railway Museum at Snoqualmie, WA and the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum at Mineral, WA will also host the students for historic railroad experiences, where campers will help with preservation activities, physical plant maintenance, and train operations. Additional time at Seattle’s Sound Transit commuter rail facility will provide students with insight into commuter and light rail transit operations. Lodging and meals will be provided at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.

Applying to RailCamp

The program is open to high school boys and girls who are currently freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors (class of 2019). Individuals who enter their freshman year in 2019 will also be eligible to participate.

The cost for attending either camp location is $1,390 per camper, including a non-refundable $50 fee when an application is submitted. Transportation arrangements and expenses are the responsibility of the camper. Scholarships are available, but do not cover transportation. Applicants do not have to be NRHS members to attend.

The deadline for applying to RailCamp 2019 is past. Materials for applying to RailCamp 2020 will be available later this year.