BLUE RIDGE, Ga. — Nostalgia and excitement sweep through the growing crowd.
Some experience the anticipation of their first train ride.
The conductor calls out “All Aboard” and visitors climb the steps of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway as the 7th season of operation began with daily train trips from Blue Ridge, Ga., to Copperhill, Tenn., during Spring Break, April 2-10. New this year are “Half Price Mondays” for groups of 15 or more or for individuals with a coupon from The Atlanta JournalConstitution or The Marietta Daily Journal.
“This is a relaxing, oldfashioned train ride along the Toccoa River, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia,” said Wilds Pierce, president of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. “The scenery is especially beautiful in April and we encourage parents with school aged children to take their first train ride during Spring Break.”
The 3.5 hour, 26 mile round trip train ride begins at the historic depot in quaint downtown Blue Ridge, GA, then winds through the mountains and along the river to the charming sister towns of McCaysville and Copperhill. During a leisurely layover, visitors have plenty of time to take a stroll in the fresh mountain air, shop for unique crafts and antiques, snack on ice cream, or eat lunch overlooking the river.
“The train ride offers beautiful vistas as the mountain sides begin to bloom and the Toccoa River, dotted with fly fishermen, sparkles in the sunlight,” Pierce said.
Passengers take a trip back in time on vintage climate controlled rail cars. For the more adventuresome, open air cars allow riders to enjoy the fresh air and cool mountain breeze as the train gently rolls along the tracks.
The 2004 season opens with a “Springtime in the Mountains” celebration April 2-10, when the train will run daily at 11 a.m., except on Sunday when it departs at 1 p.m.
Springtime ticket prices are $22 for adults, $18 for seniors (65 and older), and $11 for children ages 2-12 through May. Tickets are half price for groups of fifteen or more and for individuals with special coupons on Mondays through May 24. Children under 2 are free if they sit on a parent’s lap.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway will be closed Easter Sunday and begin its regular spring schedule running Friday, Saturday and Monday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. from April 12 to June 7.
The train runs through the end of the year and features daily rides during the summer months as well as Fall Foliage and Christmas Express trains in October and December.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is straight up I-575 in Blue Ridge, Ga., and welcomes groups and tours.
For more information or to order tickets online, visit www.brscenic.com/bw or call (800) 934-1898.