Blue Ridge Express
By Elizabeth Mann
Imagine for a moment mountains blanketed with snow, branches dripping with icicles, and water glazed over with a sheet of ice. These visions are what you can expect to experience when you step foot on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Express during the winter and early spring months. The train runs from March to December giving visitors the opportunity to experience the shifting seasons, including mountains that transform into a winter wonderland.
The train surpasses other trains not only because it runs through the spectacle of nature, but because it offers a peek into the past. As you ride along the 95-mile-long Toccoa River and over the mountains of snow during winter, you are actually being transported by a historic train. The depot was originally built in 1905 and after being refurbished has been running ever since 1998. It goes between the towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. The four-hour excursion is 26 miles and includes a two-hour layover. This gives train riders a chance to look at the antiques and artistry in town or fit in an hourlong hike before getting back on the railway for the return journey.
The train offers a couple choices to supply optimal comfort. You can ride in a climate-controlled passenger car or in open-air cars. Your choice depends on the level of adventure you are seeking. Open air will allow you to fully experience the season, while climate-controlled cars will keep you warm or cool and allow you to still see nature's display. Whenever you choose to ride, the journey will no doubt be filled with beauty and wonder.
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