By MELINDA WILLIAMS
The Southern Railway 630 steam locomotive that stopped in Pulaski last summer will be passing through Pulaski in March on a round-trip excursion from Bristol (Va.) to Radford.
The 1904 steam engine drew a crowd of onlookers at Pulaski Train Station in July when it stopped briefly while en route for repairs. Although it will not be stopping at the train station this time, many enjoy watching the historic locomotive, from the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum in Chattanooga, as it makes its way along the tracks.
For those who choose to take a ride on the Bristol to Radford excursion, it leaves from the Bristol Train Station Saturday, March 9, at 8 a.m. Following an 8:30 a.m. stop in Abingdon to pick up additional passengers, the train will wind its way past Emory & Henry College and Wytheville, then pass through the Pulaski Mountain tunnel on its way to a noon arrival at Radford.
Radford Visitor’s Center will be welcoming the passengers to town and provide maps and directions to the restaurants, shops and other attractions the guests can visit before the train begins its return trip to Bristol. The train arrives back in Bristol at 7 p.m.
Tickets, which are expected to go fast, can be purchased by calling 423-894-8028 or by visiting www.wataugavalleynrhs.org. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meals are not included.
A ticket is required for all passengers ages three and older. Children under age three cannot occupy a seat. The train has rest rooms and is climate controlled.
The excursion is one of two being offered this spring by Norfolk Southern Corp., in partnership with Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. The second excursion, from Bristol to Bull Gap, Tenn., is Sunday, March 10, at 9 a.m. It includes a stop in Johnson City, Tenn. and a box lunch.
Steam Engine 630 will be assisted in pulling the 12-car train by a NS diesel locomotive.