Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Hope Valley Railroad

A couple of weeks ago we went for a ride on a New Hope Valley Railroad. Apparently, all this time we were in the driving distance from a REAL railroad with REAL engines that one can tour. The place is not a replica, nor is it a scale model. As I said, it's a real railroad and everything is real. It only runs one weekend a month and is staffed by volunteers which is even better since they are just too happy to answer questions and show us around.

The ride lasts for about an hour - 30 mins there and 30 mins back. It's not fast and not especially scenic. Actually, I guess it can be quite boring unless you're into trains. The most exciting things along the line are

  • The train blowing a whistle at each railroad crossing
  • The train going over a bridge that is so narrow that if you look straight down from the window, it appears as if the train floats on air. (I forgot the technical name of this kind of bridge)
  • The engine getting disconnected from the train at the mid-point and then backtracking and reconnecting to the train from the other end, so that it can pull the train back to the station.
But if you're into trains like Mark is, there's a lot more excitement to be had - all the sounds and the rocking of the train car, a glimps of tracks through the floorboards and the swaying of the couplings between the cars.

And after the train ride was over, there was a giant model railroad to check out, bluegrass music to listen to and a hotdog to munch on. In short, it was a great experience!