UPDATE: No excursion in 2016. They hope to return in Fall 2017.
Here's a very rare chance to ride a passenger train to Asheville! All abroad for a once-a-year excursion from central North Carolina during peak fall color. Ride in vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside and through the mountains. The all-day "Blue Ridge Autumn Special" begins at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer (near Salisbury). This trip typically sells out, so buy tickets ASAP! The last excursion was October 31, 2015.
The highlight of the trip is climbing the mountain ridge at Old Fort. To navigate the steep elevation gain, the railroad line twists and turns 13 miles to travel an equivalent air distance of three miles. Ride through tunnels through the Pisgah National Forest and around the famous "loops".
The excursion is presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum as a fundraiser. The Blue Ridge Autumn Special will take 1,000 passengers through the western North Carolina Piedmont, into the foothills and on to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Departing Spencer at 7 AM, the train will roll through the cities of Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa. The train will pass by the Andrews Geyser in Old Fort before arriving in Asheville at noon. You can only board at the starting point in Spencer.
You'll have about three hours to explore Biltmore Village, home to great shops, art galleries, bakeries and restaurants near the entrance to Biltmore Estate. The train will depart Asheville at 3 PM and return to Spencer at 8 PM.
A gourmet boxed lunch will be available for those wishing to use their time at our destination for shopping and sightseeing. Available for $15/person, lunches include includes turkey, Swiss cheese & cucumbers with buttermilk ranch dressing on a croissant with pasta salad, cookie and a drink in a reusable souvenir tote.