Enjoy a Train Excursion Through the Great Smoky Mountains

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee — 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 12, 2017, the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum will sponsor its “Summer 2017 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. Passengers can choose to ride in comfort in Coach Class, Crown Class or First Class. Ticket prices for adult Coach Class seats are $83 and $69 for children (2 to 12 years). Adult Crown Class seats are $96 and $79 for children (2 to 12 years).  First Class seats $152 for adults over 21.

The trip will begin in the parking lot of the Liberty Bell Middle School in Johnson City, Tennessee, where passengers will board a motor coach departing 9:15 a.m. We will also pick up passengers in the Asheville area at the Weaverville,   Walmart Super Center , 25 Northridge Commons Parkway, Weaverville, NC at Exit 19 off of Interstate 26 at 10 a.m.. Upon arriving Bryson City, passengers will have time to shop, snack, and visit the Smoky Mountain Train 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 in Weaverville at 7:30 p.m.  and to Johnson City at 8:30 p.m.

To order tickets (and lunch for Coach and Crown Classes, 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 2017 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 our web site at 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.

For questions about the trip, visit our web site at www.wataugavalleynrhs .org; phone 423-753-5797; email wataugavalley@embarqmail.com; or write us at Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN 37605-0432.

About Shelby Harrell

Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.