Fall train excursions set for November

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2012

SPENCER – One of the N.C. Transportation Museum’s most popular offerings combines the romance of rail travel, a great destination and the convenience of a day trip.
This year’s Autumn Train Excursions will travel to Appomattox, Va. on Nov. 3 and Toccoa, Ga. on Nov. 4.
These excursions provide the opportunity to take a daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside during the autumn leaf-peeping season.
These one-day trips are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Chapter Railroad Historical Society and Museum and act as fundraisers for both organizations.
Travelers on both trips will experience the thrill of a daytime journey by rail, enjoying the beauty of the southeastern countryside in the fall. The trains will be powered by Amtrak Engines but feature restored first-class seating, lounge cars, a commissary car and the comfort of Amtrak’s regular passenger rail cars.
Civil War history will be all around for those traveling to Appomattox. Departing from the museum grounds in Spencer with additional passenger pick-up in Greensboro, passengers will arrive in one of the nation’s most historic towns around noon.
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 Appomattox Visitor Information Center. 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 reunite 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 Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, or the Museum of the Confederacy’s newly-opened Appomattox site. Shuttle buses will provide transportation to both sites.
The Georgia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer with additional passenger pick-up at the Spartanburg Amtrak Station. 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 about three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 200 vendors, as well as regional foods, entertainment on two stages, children and youth activities, buggy rides and 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.
Some seating options have already sold out, but seating remains for the following two options:
• 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.
• Premium First Class seating is still available for travelers to Toccoa, offering travel 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.
Inquire about lunch options when ordering tickets.
A commemorative T-shirt is also available for $20.
Tickets are available by calling Sara Gettys at 704-636-2889 ext. 237 or visiting www.nctrans.org .