Seasonal: Hiwassee River Rail Adventure
November 4th, 2013
For Halloween this year, I got the ultimate treat and was a passenger on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure! Riding in the classic mid-1950s Dome Observation Lounge car, the “Algonquin Park,” let me step back in time and experience life at the top, literally. Surrounded by glass in the upper level, you feel as though you are riding among the treetops with 360 views of the beautiful fall foliage, wildlife, and gorge below. In the 1950s, this would have been the ultimate riding experience in railroading, and frankly, it hasn’t changed. As you sit in comfy lounge chairs you are served by a friendly porter with all the snacks and drinks your heart desires.
Stepping down to the lounge area of the car, you are met with a beautiful mural of the Algonquin Park, which the car is named after. Early in 1953, the Canadian Pacific Railway contracted the Budd Company of Philadelphia to build eighteen Vista-Dome-type-cars that were named the “Park” cars. The Canadian Pacific felt it was important to tourism to emphasize the nature of the route in decorating the cars’ interiors representing 18 different Canadian Provincial Parks. Sixteen of these cars are still in service, one being the “Algonquin,” which used on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure today. All this, a track that was completed in 1898, a beautifully restored L&N Depot and Museum in Etowah, and a ride through the Cherokee National Forest- talk about a preservationist’s dream trip!
My only complaint- that the trip only lasted 3.5 hours! But hey, that can be easily solved by taking the day-long excursion from Etowah to Copperhill with a layover for lunch and shopping. Beautiful views, wonderful company, comfy seats and all the snacks you can eat! How could you pass that up? One thing is for sure, I know what I will be doing again soon!
A special thanks to Caldwells and the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association for the wonderful experience and tireless efforts to preserve Tennessee’s history.
For more information on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure you may visit www.tvrail.com
Photo Credit: Jim Caldwell