Rail excursion will roll through Smokies, Western N.C.

Published 7:58 am Thursday, June 19, 2014

Train buffs and nature lovers will be on a roll in August when an excursion carries them through the Smokies, across rivers and over a 780-foot bridge.
The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society And Museum’s “Summer 2013 Excursion” – Saturday, Aug. 16 – will carry riders through the Smoky Mountains and through Western North Carolina, following the former Southern Railway’s Murphy Branch line.
Riders can choose from three classes: Coach Class, Crown Class or First Class coaches.
Each offers seating in vintage, restored passenger cars.
Coach Class features ceiling fans and windows that open and close for fresh-air viewing; Crown Class offers larger windows for better viewing (windows do not open) and climate control; and First Class offers a restored 1940s-era bar and lounge cars that feature seating at well-appointed tables and lounge and restaurant-style chairs.
First Class passengers will also enjoy lunch (included with ticket purchase) at their seat. Ticket prices for adult Coach Class seats are $79 and $58 for children ages 2 to 12 years. Adult Crown Class seats are $93 and $71 for children (2 to 12 years). First Class service Club Car seats are $139 for anyone 21 years and older.
The trip will begin in downtown Johnson City, where passengers will board a motor coach leaving at 9:15 a.m. from the Legion Street parking lot across the street from the Johnson City Recreation Center. Once at Bryson City, N.C., passengers can shop, snack, and visit the Smoky Mountain Train Museum before boarding the excursion train at 1:45 p.m. for the 4.5-hour round trip to the Nantahala Gorge. A layover at the Gorge will allow sightseeing. Travelers are expected to return to Johnson City at 8:30 p.m.
To order tickets – and lunch for Coach and Crown Classes, if desired – send check or money order along with the number of tickets, the class of car and lunch choices to Summer 2014 Excursions, Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN,37605-0432.
A printable ticket / lunch order form is available by going to web site www.wataugavalleynrhs.org and clicking on the “Excursions” link. 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.
Lunch options include:
• Bring your lunch (small coolers only);
• Box lunch meals available for purchase at $9 per meal, which must be pre-ordered with your train ticket. Box lunches can be picked up in the concession car once boarded;
• Dining in historic dining cars. A choice of meal will be available for selection. All dining car meals must be pre-purchased when ordering train ticket. These dinners include a choice of drink (unlimited coffee, tea or soft drink); and a special dessert. The cost is $14 per person; and
• A meal is included with a First Class ticket but menu selection must be made at time of ticket purchase.
For questions about the trip, visit the web site at www.wataugavalleyrrhsm.org; phone 753-5797; email wataugavalley@embarqmail.com; or write us at Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN 37605-0432.

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