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Excursion Travelers Can Enjoy Civil War History and a Great Harvest Festival with Trips Planned to Appomattox, Va. and Toccoa, Ga.

N.C. Transportation Museum & Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum Autumn Train Excursion Tickets Are On Sale Now, Rolling Out Nov. 3 and 4

SPENCER – An extremely popular offering from the N.C.TransportationMuseum and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum is just a few months from rolling down the tracks. This year’s Autumn Train Excursions will travel to Appomattox, Va. Saturday, Nov. 3 and Toccoa, Ga. Sunday, Nov. 4.

These excursions provide the rare opportunity to take a daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside during the autumn leaf-peeping season. Passengers can enjoy the romance of riding the rails and with great destinations. Tickets for the museum’s Autumn Train Excursions typically sell out and some options are already unavailable. Those wishing to purchase are urged to act quickly.

These one-day trips are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and act as fundraisers for both organizations.

The Virginia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer, N.C., with additional passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station. The train will travel through the northern portion of the North Carolina Piedmont before crossing into central Virginia. Passengers will be treated to spectacular views as the train crests the WhiteOakMountain and crosses the Dan and RoanokeRivers on its way to Lynchburg, where it will turn east toward Appomattox.

Passengers will disembark at the restored Appomattox Station, once a stop for the South Side Railroad in the late 1800s and now home to the AppomattoxVisitorInformationCenter. This charming small town holds claim to one of the most significant moments in U.S. history—the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to end the Civil War and reunited a divided nation.

Virginia Autumn Special passengers can enjoy the historic shops and restaurants of Appomattox’s quaint downtown, or, for a nominal additional fee, explore either the AppomattoxCourtHouseNationalHistoricalPark, or the Museum of the Confederacy’s newly-opened Appomattox site. Shuttle buses will provide transportation to both sites. We strongly recommend that passengers planning to visit either of these sites pack a lunch, pre-purchase a box lunch, or plan to purchase lunch on the café car, due to time limitations at the destination.

The Georgia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer, N.C., with additional passenger pick up at the Spartanburg Amtrak Station before traversing what was once Southern Railway’s main line, running from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, Ga. Passengers will enjoy the gala fall colors of Carolinas’ rolling foothills, before crossing the 100-foot Seneca River trestle spanning Lake Hartwell to arrive at Toccoa.

Nestled into the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the historic town will be bustling with activity during the 30th annual Harvest Festival. Passengers will have approximately three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 200 vendors, as well as delicious regional foods, great entertainment on two stages, children and youth activities, buggy rides and much more.

ToccoaFalls, named for the Cherokee word “Toccoah” meaning beautiful, is a must see. Located on the campus of ToccoaCollege, the 186-foot falls are 26 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Shuttle buses will be making a continuous loop between downtown Toccoa and ToccoaFalls.

Several seating options and pricing are available for excursion passengers. Prices are the same for each destination.

Tourist Class features the convenience and comforts of modern Amtrak cars. Each car has a center aisle with two adjustable seats and a wide window on each side. This seating area provides convenient access to the Souvenir and Cafe cars. Tourist class seating is $150 per person.

Deluxe Coach Class passenger cars feature spacious seating with adjustable seat backs and leg rests, as well as large windows for better viewing. Lunch will be served in vintage lounge and dining cars. Light snacks and beverages are also provided. Deluxe Coach Class seating is $185 per person. This option is already sold out for our Appomattox trip.

Premium First Class passengers will be seated in restored, vintage lounge or parlor cars. Each car is configured differently with a variety of seating options. Compartment seating is also available for small groups (only available with phone orders. Fare includes continental breakfast, newspapers, light snacks and dinner. Premium first Class seating is $260 per person Compartment seating is also available for groups of two, three or four at a reduced price. Compartment seating is only available with phone orders.

Featuring two levels, Dome cars offer the best views of the passing scenery. Windows stretch

across the walls and ceiling on the second level, providing a panoramic view of the entire ride.

Tickets include a continental breakfast and newspapers on the journey plus dinner on the return trip served in vintage lounge and dining cars. Dome tickets are $295 per person. This option is already sold out for our Appomattox trip.

Passengers that do not have lunch included in their ticket package have the option of a gourmet box lunch. Delivered to your seat, passengers can save time for shopping and sightseeing. Served in a souvenir tote, the meal includes chicken salad on a croissant, pasta salad, fresh fruit, homemade pound cake and a drink. Box lunches, available for $15 per person, should be ordered in advance with your ticket purchase. Those taking advantage of Saturday’s visit to the Appomattox Court House and Museum of the Confederacy are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this option.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Sara Gettys at 704-636-2889 ext. 237 or visiting online at www.nctrans.org.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum are non-profit organizations.

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A vintage train will ride the rails through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia   October 29 &  30 on its Appalachian Region tour. People from all over will have a chance to see and even ride this historic train. Our grand parents have ridden many of these restored passenger cars during the 1950’s and 60’s. This will be a train that the hole family will want to come out to ride and see.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society will host two day trip excursions to Roanoke, Va. and Toccoa, Ga. this fall. These trips allow passengers great views of the fall colors combined with the romance of riding the rails to a great destination. If you want to see the Appalachian Mountains at their peak of beauty, these trips are for you.

Now in their fifth year, the Virginia Autumn Special will travel to Roanoke, Va. Oct 29. The Georgia Autumn Special features a day trip to Toccoa, Ga. Oct. 30. While Roanoke was a destination for last year’s excursions, Toccoa is a new location and an exciting opportunity for those who take the trips each year.

Saturday’s Virginia Autumn Special departs from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer at 7 a.m. with additional passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station at 8 a.m.

The train will travel through the northern portion of the North Carolina Piedmont, including the cities of High Point and Reidsville, before crossing into Virginia. The western part of central Virginia offers spectacular views of the fall foliage, crossing the Dan and Roanoke Rivers. Moving onto the old Virginian Railway line, the train will pass through the towns of Huddleston, Moneda and Goodview, traveling through four tunnels. Passengers will also enjoy traveling over trestles that provide views of the tributaries into Smith Mountain Lake.

Arriving in Roanoke, the “Star City of the South,” at noon, the train will pass by the historic Roanoke Shops, where Norfolk Southern built their classic steam engines. Passengers will debark at the restored Norfolk & Western Passenger station, home to the O. Winston Link Museum. Passengers can enjoy downtown Roanoke or visit the museum, home to Link’s beautiful photography of 1950s-era steam locomotives. Advance tickets to the museum are available to excursion passengers at the discounted group rate of $4 per person.

Departing at 2:45 p.m., the Virginia Autumn Special will return to Greensboro at 6:30 p.m. and Spencer at 8 p.m.

Sunday, the Georgia Autumn Special will also depart from the N.C. Transportation Museum at 7:00 am with additional stop/pickup at the Spartanburg, SC Amtrak station at 9:00 am  and will traverse what was once Southern Railway’s main line, running from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, Ga. Passengers will enjoy the gala fall colors of Carolinas’ rolling foothills, before crossing the 100-foot Seneca River trestle spanning Lake Hartwell to arrive at Toccoa.

Nestled into the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the historic town will be bustling with activity during the 29th annual Harvest Festival. Passengers will have approximately three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 200 vendors, as well as delicious regional foods, great entertainment on two stages, children and youth activities, buggy rides and much more.

Toccoa Falls, named for the Cherokee word “Toccoah” meaning beautiful, is a must see.Located on the campus of Toccoa College, the 186-foot falls are 26 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Shuttle buses will be making a continuous loop between downtown Toccoa and Toccoa Falls.

Departing Toccoa at 3 p.m., the Georgia Autumn Special will return to Spartanburg, SC at 5:45 pm and back to Spencer, NC at 8 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now.
Tourist Class seating features the convenience and comforts of modern rail travel. Each car has a center aisle with two adjustable seats and a wide window on each side. The seating area provides convenient access to the souvenir and café cars. Tourist Class tickets are $145 each.

All rail cars feature air conditioning, heat and rest rooms.

For those wishing to eat on the train to provide more time for sightseeing, an optional Gourmet Boxed Lunch will be offered. Delivered to your seat, the $15 meal will be served in a souvenir lunch tote, including chicken salad on a croissant, pasta salad, fresh fruit, homemade pound cake and a drink. This option is only available in advance and can be purchased with your ticket.

Tickets will be available online now. Simply log on to www.nctrans.org and click the available links or call 704-636-2889.

The N.C. Transportation Museum, located in historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway repair facility is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C., and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum and the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society are both non profit organizations.

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train rides in north carolinaDay Trips To Roanoke, Va. and Asheville, N.C. Scheduled for October 30 and 31

SPENCER –  The N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society will host day trip train excursions to Roanoke, Va. October 30 and Asheville, N.C. October 31. These excursions, now in their fourth year, allow travelers to see beautiful fall foliage, experience a great destination and enjoy the romance of riding the rails.

The N.C. Transportation Museum and Watauga Valley NRHS revived fall excursions in 2007, offering trips to Charlottesville, Va.  Sell out crowds and satisfied passengers made those excursions incredibly popular. Last year’s addition of Asheville, N.C. as a destination created an even greater demand for tickets. The trips sold out in record time, with dome car tickets selling out in mere minutes.

This year, the “Virginia Autumn Special” will travel to Roanoke, Va. Saturday, Oct. 30.  The “Blue Ridge Special” will travel to Asheville, N.C. Sunday, Oct. 31. More dome car tickets have been added but the demand is expected to be just as strong as years past.

Departing Spencer at 7 a.m., Saturday’s Virginia Autumn Special” will offer additional passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station at 8 a.m., allowing those in the Triad a more convenient boarding opportunity.  The train will travel through the northern portion of the North Carolina Piedmont, including the cities of High Point and Reidsville before crossing into Virginia.  The western part of central Virginia offers spectacular views of the fall foliage, crossing the Dan and Roanoke Rivers.  Moving onto the old Virginian Railway line, passengers will travel westward, passing through several tunnels and enjoying the rolling Virginia countryside.

The train will arrive in Roanoke, the “Star City of the South,” at noon.  Passengers will have nearly three hours to enjoy the attractions offered. Downtown Roanoke offers an array of dining experiences, shopping and sightseeing opportunities.

Passengers will depart the train at the old Norfolk and Western Passenger Station, home of the O. Winston Link museum.  The museum offers a grand photographic and auditory history of 1950’s steam engine locomotive history. Advance tickets to the museum are available to excursion passengers at the discounted group rate of $4 per person.
Meals will also be available at the famous nearby Hotel Roanoke

The nearby Taubman Museum of Art features a permanent collection of 19th and early 20th Century American art, while the Historic Roanoke City Market has fresh food and handmade crafts.

Passengers can also take a drink from the historic Dogmouth Fountain, constructed in 1898.  Legend says those drinking from the fountain will always return to Roanoke.

Departing Roanoke at 3 p.m., the train will arrive back in Greensboro at 6:45 p.m. and Spencer at 8 p.m.
During Sunday’s trip, the “Blue Ridge Special” will travel through the western Piedmont into the foothills and on to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Departing Spencer at 7 a.m., the train will roll through the cities of Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa.  The train will climb the famed “loops” of the Blue Ridge Mountains and pass through several tunnels before arriving in Asheville at noon.  Passengers will have nearly three hours for an outing at Biltmore Village.

Established in the late 1890s as a planned community near the entrance of the Biltmore estate, Biltmore Village stands near the entrance to Biltmore Estate.  Shopping will be available in unique, locally-owned boutiques.  Passengers can dine in restaurants and take walks along brick sidewalks that parallel tree lined streets.  All of this will be enjoyed alongside spectacular views of the North Carolina mountains.

Departing Asheville at 3 p.m., the “Blue Ridge Special” will return to Spencer at 8 p.m.

Dome Tickets offer the best views of passing scenery with two levels. Windows stretch across the walls and ceiling on the second level, providing a panoramic view of the entire ride. Dome tickets are available for $280 per person.
Premium First Class fare includes continental breakfast and newspapers on the journey to both Roanoke and Asheville, plus dinner on the return trip served in vintage lounge and dining cars. Premium First Class tickets are available for $245 per person.

Deluxe Coach Class tickets feature spacious seating with large windows, lunch on the dining car and light snacks during the trip. Deluxe Coach tickets are $175 per person.

Coach seating, featuring wide windows, adjustable seats and convenient access to the commissary car, are also available for $145 per person. All cars feature air conditioning, heat and rest rooms.

For those wishing to eat on the train to provide more time for sightseeing, an optional box lunch will be offered.  The $14 meal, served in a souvenir lunch tote, includes include a half turkey wrap, pasta, chips & salsa, a cookie and drink.
Tickets will be available online at www.nctrans.org or by calling 704-636-2889 ext. 232.  Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 24.

The N.C. Transportation Museum, located in historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway repair facility is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C., and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. The museum is part of the Division of Historic Sites and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future.  Visit http://www.nctrans.org for more information.

For information on the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, visit www.wataugavalleynrhs.org.

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By: Chris Morrison

With transportation costs up, one of the oldest icons of the Industrial Age is once again coming to prominence. Trains are the object of interest in the United States at levels not seen for decades, with some of the most foresightful investors around — including the world’s richest man, Warren Buffet — placing billions of dollars on old-line companies like Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern.

The reason behind the trend is fairly obvious. Most investors have begun to believe that today’s high fuel prices are permanent (see the interview with Chris Nelder, below, for more). In addition, trains are seen as a good way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as one train can tote as much freight as hundreds of trucks, or as many people as thousands of cars.

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arra_nc4Source:
http://ncgogreen.myncblogs.com

Posted by Jennifer Wig
October 27, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Several years ago, cities and towns in the foothills and mountains of western North Carolina were anxiously awaiting the return of passenger rail service.

In March 2001, the N.C. Department of Transportation adopted a phased plan to extend passenger rail service to Asheville and western North Carolina. Travelers have often listed Asheville as the No. 1 most requested destination in the United States that does not have Amtrak service. The plan called for passenger trains to run between Salisbury and Asheville with stops in Statesville, Hickory, Valdese, Morganton, Marion, Old Fort and Black Mountain.

The plan also included the renovating or building of train stations that would also have other community uses. Both Marion and Old Fort had their depots extensively renovated and these buildings have since become community centers for special events.

However, state budget constraints prompted the state DOT to delay the return of passenger rail service to the mountains. In the meantime, the department will continue to work with communities on stations and rail safety improvements, according to the N.C. Rail Division’s Web site.

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As gas slowly creeps back up to $4.00 per gallon (I read recently where we could hit that number by August), many folks are turning to Amtrak and light rail as an alternative.

Could this completely revive the railroad industry?

Any motorist can tell you: the state’s streets and highways have become more congested over the past decade. With congestion brings increased emissions. To help address those congestion and emission concerns, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division is improving passenger rail service by improving railroad infrastructure.

The NCDOT is investing state, federal and surface transportation funds throughout the state to improve existing tracks, install new signals and build stretches of new track to improve the state’s rail system. These projects range in scope from critical freight access to statewide development of the Southeast High Speed Rail corridor.

For more information, visit: ByTrain.org

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