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2015 Rail Excursions

Scenic and Historic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Excursion

| Trip Description | Purchase Tickets | Lunch Options | Additional Information |

If you’re experiencing the Summer Doldrums, we have the cure for you – getting out of the house and taking a great train ride! Escape the Dog Days of Summer with a cool, refreshing and scenic train trip through the mountains of the Southern Appalachian region.

On Saturday, August 15th, 2015, the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum will sponsor its “Summer 2015 Excursion” – a train ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through the majestic Smoky Mountains and the beautiful countryside of Western North Carolina. The train follows the route of the former Southern Railway’s Murphy Branch line, established in 1891, with its five percent grade, many bridges, and the beautiful whitewater Nantahala Gorge. Much of the route hugs the banks of the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers and crosses Fontana Lake Trestle, standing 100 feet above the lake and spanning 780 feet. After crossing the lake, the train will enter the breathtaking Nantahala Gorge – a natural wonder. Play the video clip at left to see the fun, history and natural beauty that awaits you!

Passengers can choose to ride in comfort in Coach or First Class. Both classes offer seating in vintage, restored passenger cars. Coach Class cars feature windows that open and close for fresh-air viewing and ceiling fans. First Class passengers will enjoy club car (lounge car) seating, where large windows offer wonderful viewing (windows do not open) and climate control ensures passenger comfort. First Class passengers will be served dinner (included with a First Class ticket) at their seat and an opportunity to order drinks (age 21 and over).

The trip will begin in downtown Johnson City, TN, where passengers will board a motor coach at 112 North Commerce Street, departing 9:15 a.m. Upon arriving Bryson City, NC, passengers will have time to shop, snack, and visit the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum before boarding the excursion train at 1:45 p.m. for the 4.5-hour roundtrip to the Nantahala Gorge and return. There will be a layover at the Gorge for sightseeing. Expected arrival back to Johnson City is 8:30 p.m.

Ticket prices for adult Coach Class seats are $79 and $58 for children (2 to 12 years). First Class seats are $147.00 (you must be 21 years of age or over) and includes a dinner at your seat.

Coach Class First Class

Lunch Options

Passengers will have several options for lunch:

  1. Bring your lunch (small coolers only).
  2. The following box lunch meals will be available for purchase at $9.00 per meal and must be pre-ordered with your train ticket.
    • TURKEY & CHEESE WRAP
    • SMOKED CHICKEN SALAD WRAP
    Included with the box lunch are chips, cookies and a choice of drink (unlimited coffee, tea or soft drink) in a disposable cup. Box lunches can be picked up in the concession car once boarded.
  3. We’re excited to offer our passengers a truly unique, on board dining experience in the grand tradition of railroading. Coach Class passengers will enjoy a fine meal while seated in a classic railroad dining car. (First Class passengers will dine at their table in the club car.) A choice of meal (see menu below) will be available for selection. These dinners include a choice of drink (unlimited coffee, tea or soft drink) in a Souvenir Tumbler and a special dessert. The cost is $14.00 per person (included in First Class ticket) and must be pre-purchased when ordering train ticket.

    Dinner Menu

    Pulled Pork BBQ Plate Fire Braised Chicken Salad Veggie Lover Delight Pot Roast
    Pulled Pork BBQ Plate Boston roast rubbed with our special spices then slow-roasted to perfection served with slaw and cinnamon apples.
    Fire Braised Chicken Salad Our freshly made gourmet salad of cashews, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, edamame, red onion, grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, napa cabbage, and kale tossed with a light pomegranate blueberry dressing then topped with fire-braised chicken, seasoned and sliced.
    Veggie Lover Delight Our freshly made gourmet salad of cashews, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, edamame, red onion, grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, napa cabbage, and kale tossed with a light pomegranate blueberry dressing.
    Pot Roast Slow roasted, melt in your mouth, seasoned pot roast in gravy, served with carrot soufflé and rosemary roasted red skin potatoes.
  4. Purchase food from the concession car.

Ordering Tickets

To order tickets (and purchase lunch for Coach Class, if desired), send your check or money order along with the number of tickets, the class of car you choose and lunch choices to Summer 2015 Excursions, Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN, 37605-0432. A printable ticket / lunch order form is available here. Please specify if you will accept an alternate class of service if your choice is sold out; you will be refunded the difference. Money will be refunded if you do not wish an alternate service.

Additional Information

Nearby Attractions include the City of Asheville, the Biltmore Estate, the Cherokee Indian Reservation, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you have questions or need additional information about the trip, phone (423) 753-5797 8 am - 6 pm daily including Saturday and Sunday; email wataugavalley@gmail.com; or write us at Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN 37605-0432.

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