The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has become a favorite of film producers over the years. The railroad was used in the filming of the 1996 comedy, My Fellow Americans, starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner, when they stumble onto a charter train full of UNC-Chapel Hill fans headed for the NCAA Final Four. Train scenes in the 1998 movie, Forces of Nature, starring Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, also were filmed on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
On Saturday, May 4th, 2024, the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum will sponsor a Spring Blossom Train Excursion - a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through the majestic mountains and beautiful countryside of western North Carolina from Bryson City, NC and on to the Nantahala Gorge, NC and return back to Bryson City, NC. This trip covers a lot of the current operating trackage of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Patrons will have two choices in getting to the Bryson City, NC Train Station. They can either drive directly to Bryson City, NC, or board a motor coach out of Johnson City, TN. For many passengers, it's closer to just drive from their location to Bryson City. Check to see which is closer from your location. Please make your selection on the order form when purchasing your tickets. All locations have free parking. Maps to parking locations in Bryson City and for motor coach pick-up in Johnson City, TN will be sent with your confirmation form, along with lodging information.
Our scenic rail excursion covers a lot of the current operating trackage of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The track follows the route of the former Southern Railway's "Murphy Branch Line". The line was established in 1891, with a maximum 5.8 percent grade and many bridges. From Bryson City we rise to Fontana Lake as we follow the Little Tennessee River and cross the Fontana Lake Trestle. We pass the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and enter the breathtaking Nantahala Gorge, following the shoreline of the exciting Nantahala River. At the end of the gorge, we trace the tracks back to Bryson City, stopping for a short break at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Click Below to Watch Sample Footage of Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum Excursions
Located 10 miles from the famous Cherokee Indian Reservation, Bryson City is a laid-back, non-touristy easily stroll-able town of 1,300 with many shops, a surprising variety of restaurants, and more stop signs than stoplights. There are local bookstores and arts and crafts galleries with working artisans, a bike shop, two fly fishing shops, a historical museum, a fly-fishing museum, an aquarium, a scenic train, and two breweries. All excursion ticket holders receive complimentary admission to the Smoky Mountain Lionel Train Museum, which boasts a collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout, and children's activity center.
[IMPORTANT NOTE: THOSE ORDERING TICKETS SEPARATELY, BUT WISHING TO BE SEATED TOGETHER, MUST SPECIFY THIS ON THE ORDER FORM]
FIRST CLASS passengers will enjoy club car (lounge car) seating in climate-controlled comfort, where large windows provide wonderful viewing [windows do not open]. A FIRST CLASS ticket includes a meal with drink and dessert.
FIRST CLASS ENTREES: [make selection on Meal Order Form]
Grilled Chicken Lunch - Grilled chicken served with two seasonal sides, dinner roll, and dessert.
Southern Pork Lunch - Southern-style pork served with two seasonal sides, dinner roll, and dessert.
Roast Beef Lunch - Roast beef served with two seasonal sides, dinner roll, and dessert.
Vegetarian Salad Lunch - A colorful symphony of farm-fresh veggies in a delightful medley.
Salad with Grilled Chicken Lunch - A colorful symphony of farm-fresh veggies in a delightful medley topped with grilled chicken.
Grilled Chicken Lunch
Southern Pork Lunch
Roast Beef Lunch
Vegetarian Salad Lunch
Your Choice Included with First Class Ticket Purchase!
Salad with Grilled Chicken Lunch
CROWN CLASS cars offer climate control for passenger comfort and large windows for great viewing [windows do not open].
TOURIST COACH CLASS cars feature ceiling fans and windows that open and close for fresh–air viewing.
OPEN COACH CLASS is great for taking pictures and seeing the beautiful scenery.
Save money by planning ahead and dining onboard by pre-purchasing one of our boxed lunches! Great food for a great value! You can purchase these lunches during your reservation process online. Packaged picnic-style, boxed, and ready to enjoy on the train. The boxed lunches are available for pick up with proof of purchase on the depot deck at the Cafe at the depot. (NOTE: All box lunches must be pre-purchased.)
BOX LUNCH OPTIONS: [make selection on Meal Order Form]
Ham Sandwich. Hearty portion of sliced ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a soft brioche bun. Mayonnaise and mustard on the side. Chips, cookie, and a 24 ounce bottle of water included. No substitutions.
Turkey Sandwich. Thinly sliced roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a soft brioche bun. Mayonnaise and mustard on the side. Kettle style chips, cookie, and a 24 ounce bottle of water included. No substitutions.
Chicken Salad Sandwich. Tender chunks of all-natural white meat chicken mixed with mayonnaise and a touch of olive oil, hint of sweet honey, cranberry and pecan pieces on light ciabatta bun. Kettle style chips, cookie, and a 24 ounce bottle of water included.
Vegetarian Wrap. A thick layer of roasted red pepper hummus topped with a vibrant blend of Arcadian blend spring mix, kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, red onion, diced tomatoes, and creamy vinaigrette dressing wrapped in a tomato basil tortilla. Kettle style chips, cookie, and a 24 ounce bottle of water included.
Adult Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Two grape Smucker's Uncrustable® chips, cookie, and a 24 ounce bottle of water. *Peanut Allergy Warning. No substitutions. Speak to Agent about allergens.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Adult Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
CONCESSIONS CAR – sandwiches, drinks, chips, etc., will be available for purchase on the train.
A small cooler is acceptable if you wish to bring food with you on the train.
FOR YOUR SAFETY:
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, in accordance with federal, state, and local government guidelines is safely operating all Passenger Scenic Rail Excursions departing from Bryson City.
Some Safety Rules:
Our train is a SMOKING/VAPOR-FREE train, which means, nowhere on the train, at all, is there a place to smoke/vapor. Once you board the train, you will not be able to smoke again to the end of the train trip back in Bryson City. Please do NOT wear any high heel, or open-toe shoes on board the train. When the train moves, high heel shoes may cause someone to lose their balance and open-toe shoes are unsafe to wear on the train due to gaps between railroad cars. Appropriate clothing is strongly suggested. Safety is our number-one concern.
**This trip will be handicap accessible. On-board restrooms may not accommodate all passengers. We will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate differently abled passengers who desire to ride this train. Please email us with your request if needed.
The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and its representatives act only as agents for the passengers with respect to rail transportation, food service, and other services offered, and as such hold themselves free of any liability for any injury, delay, loss, equipment failure, substitution, or damage from any cause whatsoever. This includes schedule changes due to weather problems or any other factor. Railroad equipment may be substituted at anytime for some unforeseen reason.
The sponsoring organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is operating the train trip to help fund restoration of railroad equipment, maintain its museum, and associated railroad historical projects. No part of the ticket cost is tax deductible. No refunds are allowed, but we will attempt to connect you with someone on the waiting list wanting to purchase tickets.