Monday, June 4, 2018
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
This rail adventure starts with a 9:00 am departure by coach bus just outside the Convention Hall and travel about 2 hours north to Chattanooga, TN to spend the rest of the day in Choo-Choo City!
Our first stop will be at the Tennessee River to take a Lunch Cruise on the riverboat, Southern Belle. Lunch will be a hot buffet served in real china & white linen table cloths, as we journey on the 1 1/2-hour cruise on the Tennessee River with the historic Lookout Mountain as our backdrop.
Once we return to the dock, we will hop-on back to the coach bus and take a short across town ride to the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel to tour their gardens and take photos in front of the official “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” a cosmetically restored steam locomotive on display at the gardens (made famous by the Glen Miller song).
From the gardens, we’ll take another short coach ride to the Grand Junction Depot on the property of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM). At the museum, there is a gift shop and many pieces of rolling stock on display. You will have time to look them over before we take our 7-mile round trip ride on one of the famous Southern Railway steam locomotives – either the 4501 or the 630 (or both, if we’re lucky).
This train ride will travel across a high bridge over the Chickamauga Creek and a second high bridge over the CSX mainline from Atlanta-to-Chattanooga that was once traveled by the Civil War locomotive “The General.” The train journey will also pass through the pre-Civil War 960-ft. tunnel through Missionary Ridge.
Arriving in East Chattanooga, we will disembark for a brief locomotive shop tour. We will view a turntable demonstration as the locomotive is turned for our trip back to Grand Junction.
After boarding the train, we will travel back through the tunnel and have an opportunity for a photo run-by of the train coming out of the tunnel. Arriving back at Grand Junction Depot, we will once again board the coach bus for the return trip to Atlanta.
Since it will be near dinnertime, the coach bus will make a stop at a Cracker Barrel (along the route), where passengers can have their own, Dutch treat evening dinner meal. The coach bus is expected to arrive back at the Convention Hall at approximately 8:00 PM.