Mainline Tour:Elkins, W.VA

Vacation Part 2 2013 101

Vacation Part 2 2013 102

Vacation Part 2 2013 119

Mainline Tour: Elkins, W.Va
By Giles Kennedy
Editor-In-Chief
The Ohio Railroader

After driving from Spencer, N.C.; the Ohio Railroader Mobile Office arrived in Elkins, W.Va.

A breath taking trip with a breath taking destination, it is worth heading to Central West Virginia.

Home base was the Days Inn and Suites Elkins. It is located on Harrison Avenue down the street from Railroad Avenue.

http://www.daysinn.com/hotels/west-virginia/elkins/days-inn-and-suites-elkins/hotel-overview

Although a Holiday Inn and Suites is right next to the Elkins Depot for the Durbin and Greenbrier; the rate of $96.23 for a double room, TV, shower was a great find at the Days Inn.
The continental breakfast however was not a value. On the back side of the property, the “Outback Café” offer great West Virginia cooking at reasonable prices.

http://mountainrailwv.com/choose-a-train/tygart-flyer

The Elkins Depot for the Durbin and Greenbrier is a great hang out place prior to departure. You are recommended to arrive 1 and ½ hour prior to departing. The station plaza offers a nice place to relax. Prior to the train departing the Station Gift Shop and Rail & Trail Shop open up.

The Cheat Mountain Salamander, a smaller ride is great.

The New Tygart Flyer is excellent. Especially for the travel value, $49 gets you a four hour train ride, a buffet lunch on the train, open air or A/C coaches, and a 45-60 minute layover at the High Falls of Cheat.
Trains do sell out quickly, advance sales are recommended.

The ticket office is open Mon-Fri most weeks 9-5 E.S.T. (1-877-MTN-RAIL, 1-877-686-7245) Refer to the web site for availability, train schedules, etc. During the main season of the New Tygart Flyer; it runs Thursday-Sundays.

Upon departing, the D&GBRR staff help you board. The PA system in the train cars plays an eclectic mix of country, rockabilly, classic rock, and bluegrass music; most songs having a train in them.

My wife Tanya, my daughter Hannah and I sat in an A/C coach dating from the 1940’s.

The ride gives you a close up view of the Southern Allegheny range that has the Tygart and Cheat Rivers call home.

Once up to the stop for the High Falls, you disembark to the trail. If you can’t hike; stay on the train.

This is not for the faint of heart. I was so blessed for my 3 ½ year old and my wife. They seemed to take the rocky shores of the High Falls like a baby and mama goat.

The buffet lunch is served prior to the Falls. So that gives you plenty of fuel to climb. Please, if you do take this trip; a good walk a day before and a good pair of cross train/hiking shoes is recommended. I retired my 2 year old New Balance shoes after this trip.

The staff was very friendly and informative. We felt like we were on a well serviced Amtrak train; the way staff was tending to all guests.

Another plus of Elkins is its “close” proximity to Durbin and Cass, W.Va. In fact, in early July; the Great West Virginia Train Race takes place. It places a Cass Shay engine against one of D&GBRR’s diesel to see who’s the best climber of the year.
Several specialty rides are throughout the year. Feel free to visit Mountain Rail Adventures’ website for more information.

If you do go to Elkins, plan a weekend or a late weekday getaway. It is so worth the investment and appreciation of the natural beauty surrounding the area.

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