Lake Superior
Railroad Museum

Why Do People Wave At Trains?

There is really no historic answer to that question.  It’s just always been that way.  Trains are large, impressive and in the early days they were the biggest thing to come through town and therefore very exciting.  Where they were going was an adventurous mystery.  So it’s like waving goodbye.

Trains are anonymous.  It’s not like we know the cab crew.  But, our response to them is instinctive.  When a runner crosses the finish line what do they do?  Throw up their arms in victory.  Studies of human behavior learned that even people who have been blind all their lives show emotion with upstretched arms and a smile.  It’s in our DNA.  It’s why we wave at trains.

Waving is also a sign of welcome.  When you wave at our trains along the North Shore Scenic Railroad you are saying to our guest/passengers “Welcome to our area!”  We thank you for that!