Are you ready to take an unforgettable railroad trip? If so, then let me introduce you to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North West Georgia and follows along the Toccoa River from Blue Ridge, GA to McCaysville , GA. This Scenic Railroad operates from Mid-March until the end of December and offers a wonderful narrated tour along the portion of this historic line from Blue Ridge, GA to McCaysville, GA, using vintage diesels and passenger cars.
The BRSR rail line has plenty of history over the years and it dates back to pre-civil war times. The railroad was originally in the planning stages prior to the civil war and it would run from Marietta, GA to Murphy, NC and beyond, but the war disrupted progress. After the war in 1870, work on the Marietta & North Georgia RR line began with the line reaching Canton, GA in 1880. As the rail line worked its way through the communities of North Georgia progress was briefly halted as Gilmer County and the city of Ellijay had failed to come through with the funding that it had pledged. The line finally reached Ellijay, GA in 1885. The line was eventually finished to Blue Ridge, GA and onto Murphy, NC.. Eventually a junction was completed just north of the city of Blue Ridge allowing the line to go to Murphy, NC or Copper Hill, TN. to take advantage of the traffic from the copper mines there. The line into Copper Hill would eventually continue onto Etowah, TN. and then onto Knoxville, TN.
There were two engineering feats that took place on this line that would give it the nickname of the Hook & Eye Line. The first was the “Hook”. The “Hook” was a tight double reverse curve at Tate Mountain, between Whitestone and Talking Rock, GA. It has been said that if the Engineer’s cigar went out, all he had to do was to wait until the he met the caboose coming up on the other leg of the hook and then get a light from the conductor. The second was known as the “Eye”. The “Eye” was an 8000-foot loop up Bald Mountain near Farner, Tennessee. At the Eye, better known as the Hiwassee Loop, the tracks encircled the mountain nearly twice before crossing back over themselves via a 60-foot-high trestle. The 1.50% grade loop was built in 1898 to replace a set of switchbacks.
Service to Murphy, North Carolina was eventually discontinued and the track removed, however the line continued to haul freight and passengers on the lucrative Atlanta to Knoxville run. In the 1970’s passenger service was discontinued, and finally the line was put up for sale in 1990.
After the line was put up for sale, a group of investors stepped in and purchased the line and restoration of the line from Blue Ridge to McCaysville was completed by hand with the help of volunteers after about 8 years of non use.
If you plan on visiting Blue Ridge GA and the scenic railroad you should make reservations at the Serenity Luxury Suites Hotel.
For complete information on pricing, dates running, and ticket availability, visit the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway web site.