STAUNTON — The brand new Virginia Scenic Railway has been within the works for a number of months, in keeping with Staunton Tourism Director Sheryl Wagner.
Buckingham Department Railroad, who’s pioneering the brand new enterprise, gave a presentation to the Staunton Tourism, Financial Improvement and the SDDA in March about their plan to create this new tourism product.
“Our departments provided Buckingham Department some recommendation, however they made the Virginia Scenic Railway come to life on their very own in a comparatively quick period of time,” Wagner stated.
“Such a expertise doesn’t exist anyplace else in Virginia,” Wagner added. “If our preliminary promotion of the scenic prepare rides is any indication, it is going to be extremely profitable. Our Fb announcement of the service has organically reached nearly 1 million individuals already.”
The Buckingham Department Railroad is now providing passenger automobile rides by means of the Shenandoah Valley with a brand new enterprise enterprise known as the Virginia Scenic Railway. The railroad is providing two separate routes — one by means of the Blue Ridge Tunnel and one other by means of the George Washington and Jefferson Nationwide Forests.
Rides begin Aug. 4.
Passengers can take a three-hour journey in a modernized Forties passenger automobile by means of the mountains. The ticket value of $110 per particular person features a meal, dessert and selection of espresso, soda, tea or water. The three-hour spherical journey departs at 10:30 a.m. and three:30 p.m. each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The addition of alcohol for these meals continues to be being thought of, however they at present don’t provide it now, in keeping with Steve Powell, president of the Buckingham Department Railroad.
Beforehand, a prepare journey like this could not occur earlier than, in keeping with Powell.
Buckingham Department was leasing the railroad line from CSX. By means of CSX, they weren’t allowed to have passenger tour trains — it was fully forbidden, Powell stated.
Then, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority bought the road, which they now lease by means of, and together with that buy, Buckingham Department has the suitable to run tour trains, he stated. Though Amtrak makes use of this portion of observe for the Cardinal Line, they fall beneath completely different rules, Powell stated.
The trains that at the moment are in use for this new line have been initially designed for the Chessie System trains that have been to run within the Fifties, Powell stated. The observe vehicles have been constructed, however have been by no means used. At one cut-off date, the vehicles have been used for Amtrak’s autotrain. Earlier than Powell’s firm bought them, the vehicles have been used as a break station for the North Anna energy station. Powell stated they bought them about 15 years in the past.
Buckingham Department had formulating the thought for these scenic rides since final 12 months. As soon as the road was bought by Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, it gave them the inexperienced mild.
The 2 prepare routes will run alongside the opposite trains that usually take that line.
“It is truly that is one of many neat issues about this passenger tour expertise,” Powell stated. “Most passenger excursions occur on strains which have little or no visitors, if any freight visitors on it. However in our case, it is not that in any respect. This tour prepare is operating amongst Amtrak’s Cardinal line, is operating alongside of the Buckingham Department’s common freight trains and CSX overhead empty trains.”
These taking the scenic prepare could have a number of sightings of different trains, Powell stated. Because the scenic prepare passes, different trains will go into the siding to allow them to move.
Buckingham Department is accountable for coordinating and directing all of the routes for each prepare alongside this rail together with Amtrak, their very own freights, CSX and now the Virginia Scenic Railway.
The Blue Ridge Flyer, which departs at 3:30 p.m. Thursday by means of Sunday, heads east permitting riders to undergo the Blue Ridge Tunnel. On this route, you will notice Staunton, Fishersville and Waynesboro ascending roughly 1,000 ft as much as the doorway of the almost one-mile lengthy Blue Ridge Tunnel, the web site stated.
The Alleghany Particular, which departs at 10:30 a.m. Thursday by means of Sunday, will head westward from Staunton traversing the farmlands of the Shenandoah Valley heading in the direction of the George Washington and Jefferson Nationwide Forests. The journey will present views of working farm and the Alleghany Mountains. The prepare will flip round in Goshen and head again.
The announcement, which got here simply over per week in the past, has prompted the general public to grab up tickets extraordinarily quick. In keeping with Powell, 94% of all tickets for journeys from August to the third week in November.
“It is thrilling for us as a railroad to have the ability to share the railroad with different individuals,” he stated. “I feel it is simply an thrilling factor for Virginia.”
And Staunton is prepared for the brand new expertise to tug into the station.
“The scenic prepare expertise is an ideal match for Staunton,” Wagner stated. “Our railroad historical past dates again to 1854 and we’re the one metropolis in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley the place guests can nonetheless entry common prepare journey. The prepare station can also be conveniently situated downtown so guests to Virginia Scenic Railway can simply stroll to buying, eating places, or lodging. This new tourism expertise is a win for Staunton and I’m wanting ahead to Virginia Scenic Railway increasing sooner or later.”
Laura Peters is the trending subjects reporter at The Information Chief. Have a information tip on native traits or companies? Or a very good characteristic? You’ll be able to attain reporter Laura Peters (she/her) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe her @peterslaura. Subscribe to The Information Chief at newsleader.com.