Courtesy Alaska and Missouri Railroad
Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
From the comfort of vintage railcars on the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad, groups can enjoy history and scenery throughout the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks on round-trip journeys lasting from one to eight hours.
“Our newest car, the Silver Feather, is a California Zephyr that John Wayne and Mariel Hemingway used in a movie,” said Brenda Rouse, operations manager.
The Springdale-to-Van Buren route includes a layover in historic Van Buren, where lunch, shopping and gawking at the architecture are on the itinerary.
“You are also welcome to enjoy meals, from peanut butter to prime rib, on any of our first-class cars,” Rouse said.
On the Van Buren-to-Winslow excursion, Rouse promises breathtaking scenery over three valley trestles and through a 1,700-foot tunnel.
“With conductors dressed in period costumes telling tales along the way, we also provide entertainment,” she said. “Bonnie and Clyde once crossed these tracks, and Jesse James used to rob on this train line. In fact, we manage to have your train robbed on one of our train events.”
Groups can take advantage of many special train events ranging from fall foliage trips to excursions for Mother’s Day, arts-and-crafts events and “blues, bikes and barbeque.”
Mountain Rail Adventures on Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad
Elkins, West Virginia
Bank directors can choose from a number of Mountain Rail Adventures trips on the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Although all of the excursions showcase West Virginia mountains and rivers, Two Trains and Two Meals is the most popular group option.
“Departing from Elkins or Durbin [just an hour away], this round-trip rail trip, with shopping at the Rail and Trail Store and sights at the High Falls of the Cheat in between, can include a ‘hobo lunch’ aboard the train and dinner at the Railyard Restaurant,” said group sales manager Naida Vonne.
Highlights include High Falls, a 150-foot-high waterfall and Cheat Mountain wilderness, where sightings of bears, bobcats and eagles are common amidst the unspoiled mountain scenery. The route also passes through a 1,800-foot-long tunnel built on an “S” curve. Part of the trip includes time on the Cheat Mountain Salamander, a vintage passenger train featuring restored railcars and the Durbin Rocket, a rare steam locomotive.
After any excursion, Vonne suggests enjoying a show at the American Mountain Theater located in the Elkins rail yard.
“This Branson-style music, comedy and patriotic variety show is the perfect way to end your day,” she said.