The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a legacy railroad in northern Georgia which began operations in 1998, and commemorated its 10th centenary in 2007. The rail line has lots of old history that dates back to pre-civil war era. Two engineering accomplishments happened on this line that gave it the nickname of the Hook and Eye Line. The initial was the “Hook”. The “Hook” was a taut double reverse bend at Tate Mountain, flanked by Whitestone and Talking Rock, GA. It has been believed that if the Engineer’s cigar died, all he had to do was wait pending the next caboose approaching up on the other side of the hook and subsequently get a light from the conductor. The next was known as the “Eye”. The “Eye” was an 8000-foot ring up Bald Mountain next to Farner, Tennessee. At the Eye, better identified as the Hiwassee Loop, the tracks bordered the mountain almost twice prior to crossing back over each other via a 60 foot trestle. A 1.50% grade loop was erected in 1898 to substitute a set of switchbacks.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is sited in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North West Georgia and trails the length of the Toccoa River between Blue Ridge, GA and McCaysville, GA. on tracks owned by the Northwest Georgia Railroad Company. It previously ran all the way to Murphy, North Carolina, but service to that area was in the end stopped and the track detached, however the line persisted to haul cargo and commuters on the profitable Atlanta to Knoxville road. In the 1970’s customer service was stopped, and at last the line was put up for auction in 1990.
Subsequent to the line being put up for auction, a set of investors stepped in and bought the line and renovation of the line from Blue Ridge ending at McCaysville was finished by hand with the aid of unpaid assistants after about 8 years of disuse.
This Scenic Railroad functions from Mid-March pending the end of December and offers a fantastic narrated excursion along the section of this historic procession from Blue Ridge, GA to McCaysville, GA, using traditional diesels and passenger cars.
The renovated train carries commuters on a 3.5-hour, 26-mile course to McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill, Tennessee. The train operates Monday to Saturdays from 9:00AM - 4:00PM and Sundays from 11:00AM - 3:00PM. An unusual Christmas train runs Thanksgiving weekend, the subsequent weekends, and the full week before Christmas itself. Usual trips recommence for the final week of the year.
It has services such as Gift Shops, Public Restrooms and self-guided Tours, and you can squander time browsing in the shops, having lunch or dinner, or taking photographs throughout the trip. During the trip places of interest are pointed out over a speaker system that runs through all the coaches. The open car's conductor improves the presentation with his own pleasant description. There is a 45 minutes break to visit the town on the Tennessee boundary prior to commencing the return journey.
The Blue Ridge scenic railroad ride is deemed as one of the must see appeal spots on the northwest corner of the state.