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2015 Rail Excursions


The April 11 trip has sold out; however, we're looking into scheduling another trip.
Check back often for an update.

train crossing Hiwassee River

Photo used with permission of TVRM.

The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum is pleased to announce its Spring 2015 Rail Excursion through the Scenic Hiwassee River Gorge in East Tennessee. Excursion date is set for Saturday, April 11, 2015. The excursion offers an opportunity to ride the rails through the one of the most beautiful river gorges in the United States as the railroad tracks travel along the Hiwassee River. The rail trip will take a 50-mile, 3-1/2 hour round trip rail excursion along this beautiful river to the famous "Hiwassee Loop".

The special attraction of the trip is traveling through the Narrows, where the Hiwassee River flows through rock channels, and the Bald Mountain Loop. The track actually passes over itself on a high trestle during a corkscrew climb up the mountain near Farner, TN. Tracks along this route parallel the river for most of its length, providing views of the lower gorge.

The railroad was originally built to haul ore from the copper basin in Copper Hill, TN. Regularly scheduled passenger trains operated over this line until 1968; the last freight train traveled the "Old Line" in 2001. The Tennessee Overhill Association took over ownership of the rail line in 2004. This will be a very unique opportunity to ride on this historic railroad.

General seating is offered on this excursion, providing passengers with comfortable cushioned seats with large windows. Historic 1950's-era diesel locomotives will pull the vintage enclosed climate-controlled coaches with rest rooms. Passengers will be asked to move from one side of the aisle to the other before the return trip to ensure that every passenger will be able to view all the scenery in secluded areas along the line.

Our trip will begin in downtown Johnson City, TN at 7:15 am on the morning of April 11 at The Big Burley Parking Lot at 104 Legion St. (corner of State of Franklin and Legion St.) where passengers will board a motor coach to Etowah, TN. We will also pick up passengers at the former Century 21 parking lot at 2040 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy, Greeneville, TN, at 7:45 am as well as passengers in Morristown, TN at 8:15 am at the Expo Center Parking lot near the exit of I-81 and US 25E. A map will be included with tickets to your designated parking area. Lunch will be on your own at restaurants in Athens, TN before we get to the train boarding site at 12:45 pm for a 1:00 pm departure. The train will arrive back in Etowah at 4:15 pm. Our motor coaches will depart Etowah at 4:30 pm with expected arrival back at Morristown at 7:15 pm, Greeneville at 7:45 pm and Johnson City at 8:15 pm. The motor coaches will make a food stop during the return.

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