New passenger railroad coaches arrive at Doe River Gorge

Published 2:32 pm Saturday, May 19, 2018

Staff with Doe River Gorge Ministries couldn’t help but to break a smile Friday afternoon with two new additions arriving at their Hampton location.

Smiles were warranted. After nearly a decade of searching, the Christian camp was able to acquire two new 40-foot long railroad passenger coaches to replace carts on site.

“We’ve been looking for around 10 years,” said Terry Maughon, Doe River Gorge president. “This is a big day for us. It’s been a hard search looking for narrow-gauge coaches.”

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Bringing in the new additions came at the right time, according to Maughon. The existing coaches were built in the late 1800s and the wooden frame required “significant maintenance” over the years, the president added.

“Our other two cars, we’ve had for the past 20 years,” he said. “They came off the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.”

The pair of coaches will prove to be an asset for the camp. Both coaches were received from Dry Gulch Railroad in Adair, Okla.

“We were able to work a deal out to purchase these cars from them,” Maughon said. “This really came at a great time for us.”

According to information provided by the camp, the new additions will provide “significant advantages” over the wooden coaches. Both have all metal structure and frames, open air-construction, roofs, low maintenance costs and a larger seating capacity for passengers.

Doe River Gorge offers a variety of activities for the public, but the railroad provides some of the most scenic views in the state.

The railroad ride off by the camp follows roughly two-and-a-half miles of the old East Tennessee & Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) Railroad that was developed in the 1800s. Views that can be seen from the trip includes historic rails, narrow ledges and 130-year-old tunnels.

Doe River Gorge is gearing up for some of their busiest days of the summer with Day Quest activities around the bend.

From June until September, Day Quest gives the public an opportunity, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to take in all the activities offered to go along with the railroad, including a zip line, a swimming area, horseback riding, a climbing tower and other family-friendly events. Day Quest is $18 per person and starts in June.

“Our summer staff are here now and in training … we’re ready,” Maughon said with a smile.

To learn more about the camp, visit or call (423) 725-4010.