Aboard the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve been transported back to a different time. A simpler time.
The train winds its way along the hills and hollers along the Potomac River, just another element to the dynamic, wild landscape. With its comforting rattle, pleasantly vintage look and feel and breathtaking views, the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad has remained a tourist favorite and destination, all nestled into the mountain paradise that you find along the river.
As you board the train at Wappocomo Station, there’s an energy of anticipation and excitement. What sights await you in the valley? An untamed river, guiding your path? Brilliantly verdant foliage, waving lazily in the spring breeze? A bald eagle, the proud symbol of this nation, swooping your way to say “hello”?
As the train pulls out of the station and the symphony of its comforting rattle meets with the peaceful sound of the river that flows along the tracks, you become a part of the landscape’s splendor. And you understand that this, truly, is “Almost Heaven.”
The Trough, where the train runs through the gorge, is where you will catch your glimpses of the eagles. Trough Tours are offered every weekend beginning in May, and, new this year, Sunset Trough Tours. One weekend a month, the train departs from Wappocomo at 6 p.m., allowing passengers to admire the glow of the setting sun bathing the West Virginia wilderness in gold. Both the regular and sunset Trough Tours are 3-hour excursions in which passengers can relax and enjoy becoming one with the scenic countryside that surrounds them.
Four classes of service are offered on these one-of-a-kind excursions: Superior Club, First-Class, Premium Coach and Standard Coach. Superior Club, for passengers age 13 and up only, offers a three-course meal on china in a luxurious, climate-controlled setting, complete with restored loveseats and tables. Reservations are required, and passengers choose their entrees at the time of reservation. First Class also requires advanced reservation and offers meal service as well. These vintage passenger cars boast both two-top or four-top tables, as well as climate control.
Premium Coach provides passengers with a boxed lunch in our table cars, and while heat is limited in cooler months, the windows open to the fresh mountain air in the warm weather, adding to the all-encompassing scenic experience. Advanced reservations are required for this class as well. Standard Coach is the perfect class for families or groups, offering an affordable, comfortable seating option: cushioned, high-back, bench-style seats with reversible backs allow free movement for passengers to face either direction. These seats are steeped in history, reminiscent of 1920s era coaches that resemble commuter train seating. Windows can be opened to the sights and sounds of the landscape, providing a pleasant, open-air element to your trip.
With the expansion from two seating classes to four, passengers have more options to choose from than ever. The addition of the Sunset Trough Tour excursion and the updated classes of service are tweaks that add more flexibility for our passengers, as well as more opportunities to enjoy the powerful grandeur of the surrounding hills and countryside. With tourist favorites still available like the All-Day Trip (a longer version of the Trough Tour, taking passengers even further south to the end of the line in Petersburg) and the Green Spring Special (a northbound trip along the Potomac where passengers can take in sweeping views of idyllic farmland and stunning rock cuts), we allow passengers to become one with the beauty of the land and, upon its return to the station, step off the train changed.