Passenger-train excursion from Pulaski to Bristol on coal-fired steam locomotive is Saturday, July 7
For the first time since 1994, you will have the rare chance to ride behind a real coal-fired steam locomotive on mainline tracks of the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum will host passenger-train excursions July 7-8. As part of the 21st Century Steam program, the trips are being offered in cooperation with Norfolk Southern Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
On Saturday, July 7, there will be a one-way train trip from Pulaski to Bristol, Va., and a returning motor-coach ride back to Pulaski. Passengers will board the train at the former Norfolk & Western Depot in Pulaski.
The train will arrive in Pulaski at 1 p.m. and depart Pulaski at 1:45 p.m. After leaving Pulaski, the train will then climb Pulaski Mountain through Max Meadows, Wytheville, Rural Retreat, Marion, and Emory and Henry College as it winds through the Virginia Highlands. Then it will pass through historic, charming Abingdon, home of the world-famous Barter Theatre and the Martha Washington Inn. The train will arrive at the Bristol train station at 4:45 p.m. where passengers will unload and board motor coaches for the return trip back to Pulaski.
Motive power will be a genuine Southern Railway steam locomotive, No. 630, built in 1904 and once used to pull freight trains in North Carolina. The engine pulled freight between Johnson City and Elizabethton from 1952 to 1968.
These will be the only such public trips offered in Southwest Virginia and upper East Tennessee in 2012 and are not expected to be repeated.
Coach seating (air-conditioned coaches with restrooms) is $80 per seat per trip for Trip 1 from Pulaski to Bristol. Trips include a box lunch and bus return. Kids ages 2 and younger who will ride on the lap of a parent or guardian do not need a ticket. Tickets are available at wataugavalleyrrhsm.org or tvrail.com or by calling (423) 894-8028. Do not miss this special opportunity to ride behind Steam Locomotive # 630, order your tickets today.
– Submitted by John Hawley