Tickets on Sale for Daytrips to
Asheville Oct. 31 and Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 1
(from press release, 2015)
SPENCER, NC--Now in its ninth year, 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. Autumn Train Excursions offer the rare opportunity to take a daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside. Trips typically sell out, so those wishing to purchase are urged to act quickly.
These excursion trains will carry nearly 1,000 people to Asheville Saturday, Oct. 31, and to Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 1. Excursions are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum, and act as fundraisers for both organizations.
The Blue Ridge Autumn Special will travel through the western North Carolina Piedmont, into the foothills and on to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Departing Spencer at 7 a.m., the train will roll through the cities of Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa, climbing the famed "loops" of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the way. The train will pass through several tunnels and by the Andrews Geyser, a spectacular sight, before arriving in Asheville at noon.
Passengers will have nearly three hours for an outing at Biltmore Village. Established in the late 1890s as a planned community near the entrance of the Biltmore estate, Biltmore Village offers shopping in unique, locally-owned boutiques. Passengers can dine in restaurants and walk along brick sidewalks that parallel tree-lined streets. All of this will be enjoyed alongside spectacular views of the North Carolina Mountains. Departing Asheville at 3 p.m., the Blue Ridge Autumn Special will return to Spencer at 8 p.m.
Departing Spencer at 7 a.m., Sunday's Virginia Autumn Special will offer a second passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station at 8 a.m., allowing for a more convenient boarding opportunity for those living in the Triad. Passing through the North Carolina cities of Thomasville, High Point and Reidsville, and the Virginia cities of Danville, Lynchburg and Oak Ridge, passengers will experience the Piedmont countryside and rolling hills of Central Virginia. Spectacular views of the Dan, Roanoke and James Rivers will also be seen as the train crosses above. The train will even pass by Schuyler, the mountain town fictionalized in the television show "The Waltons."
At noon, the Virginia Autumn Special will arrive in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. Travelers will have nearly three hours to explore the historic downtown area. A short walk takes you to the Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, considered one of the most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls in the nation. Unique shopping and dining opportunities can be found in boutiques, specialty wine, coffee and tea shops and outdoor dining spots.
Departing Charlottesville around 3 p.m., the train will drop off Greensboro passengers shortly before 7 p.m., and will arrive back in Spencer around 8 p.m.
There are four different seating options for the Autumn Train Excursions, with specific amenities offered with each option. Pricing is the same for each trip.
Dome tickets have already sold out for the trip to Asheville, N.C., but are still available in limited numbers, for the trip to Charlottesville. Dome Class passengers are seated in the upper level of a glass dome-topped car and enjoy outstanding panoramic views. Dome passengers will need to be able to climb a short set of stairs to reach their seats. This seating class includes breakfast and dinner on the dining car. Amenities include morning newspaper, light snacks and beverages onboard. Dome tickets are $299/person.
First Class Premium seating is available onboard a selection of beautifully-restored vintage parlor, lounge or business cars. Seating configurations vary between cars and may include table seating, club chairs and compartment seating. This seating class includes breakfast and dinner on the dining car. Amenities include morning newspaper, snacks and beverages onboard. First Class tickets are $270/person.
Deluxe Coach passengers ride in comfort with spacious seating, adjustable seat backs, leg rests and large windows to view the scenery. This seating class includes lunch on a vintage dining car, as well as complimentary light snacks and beverages onboard. Deluxe Coach tickets are $195/person.
Tourist Class seating features the comfort and convenience of modern Amtrak passenger cars. Two seats, with adjustable backs, are on each side of the center aisle, with a window at each row. The Souvenir and Cafe cars are located near the Tourist Class section. Tourist Class tickets are $160/person.
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.
Commemorative T-shirts will also be available. Featuring the unique Autumn Rails logo, these shirts can be added to the ticket purchase and received as passengers arrive for the journey. T-shirts are available in sizes from adult small to XXXL. T-shirts are $20/each for all sizes.
Ticket handling fees of $7.50 to $10 are applied to each ticket sold. Due to a change in state law, state sales tax will also be applied to ticket purchases at a rate of 7%.
Tickets sales begin at 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 22 for N.C. Transportation Museum members and members of the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum. Ticket sales begin for the general public at 9 a.m., Thursday, July 23. More information and tickets can be found at www.nctrans.org
# # #
About the N.C. Transportation Museum
The N.C. Transportation Museum, located in historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway repair facility is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C., and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. The museum is part of the Division of Historic Sites and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state's communities. NCDCR's Divisions of State Archives, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina's rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR's State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.
NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state's creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.