The History of Our Train

A heritage railroad, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has a significant history dating back to the early 1900s.

The Foundation of Blue Ridge

Railroads played a vital role in the development of this area between the 1800s and the early 1900s. They determined the routes of local roads, saved an ailing mining industry, contributed to the growth of small towns as resort communities, and made it possible to log the last remaining virgin timber in the area.

  • 1886
  • 1905
  • 1990
  • 2015
  • The Beginning of the Tracks

    The original tracks starting in Marietta, Georgia reached Blue Ridge and the surrounding areas in 1886. The line running east towards Copperhill, Tennessee originally made a very sharp horseshoe-shaped curve dubbed “the hook” via the Hiawassee Loop. The curve was so sharp that crews claimed that if the conductor’s cigar went out in the caboose, he could wait until the train got to the “hook” then easily lean out and get a light from the engineer.

  • The Blue Ridge Depot

    By 1905, the M&NG line had been purchased twice and was now called the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Depots in these smaller, mountain towns served as a place for shipping products, receiving mail and supplies, and gossip. In 1905, the Blue Ridge depot was built, and the railroad was in full forward motion.

  • The Restoration of the Railway

    The last passenger train departed Blue Ridge, Georgia in 1951, but freight trains continued to be shipped through the area until the L&N Railroad ceased operations in 1987. In 1990, a group of Blue Ridge citizens started working on restoring the railroad. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway opened for business in 1998 and began passenger excursions from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, Georgia.

  • The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

    During the first year of these excursions, ridership on the BRSR reached more than 17,000 passengers. Today the BRSR hosts more than 78,000 passengers annually. The train still travels its original 26-mile round trip route from Blue Ridge, Georgia alongside the Toccoa River to the sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. In 2015, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway was purchased by Patriot Rail, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

BRSR COVID-19 Update

The Health and Safety of Our Staff and Guests Is Our Top Priority.

As with any transmissible illness, risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people gather or are present. Based upon guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as other federal, state and local agencies and authorities, we have implemented – for our staff and guests – the following protocols and best practices to limit the risk:
  • Limiting train car capacity to 50% of the maximum occupancy per car
  • Where possible, “social distancing” is encouraged throughout the property
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available for guest and employee use
  • Signs, PA announcements, and staff instruction both onboard and while on BRSR property will provide
    reminders to guests and employees alike of the importance of “social distancing,” frequent hand washing, and
    mask-wearing
  • Cashless transactions are available and strongly encouraged throughout all purchasing locations, including the Gift Shop
  • Frequent sanitizing of all public areas including commonly used surfaces in the Ticket Office/Gift Shop/Concession such as door handles, countertops, seating areas
  • Clear protective barriers at all front-facing service counters – Ticket Office, Gift Shops, and Concessions Sales
OUR STAFF:
  • All employees receive daily health screenings, temperature, and symptom checks
  • Any employees exhibiting symptoms will be asked to return/stay home
  • All employees will be required to wear a BRSR-issued facemask and/or shield while on company property
  • In addition to facemasks and/or shields, front-line employees and those working in public/guest areas will be required to wear BRSR-issued gloves
  • All employees are kept up to date on CDC & OSHA guidelines regarding workplace safety during COVD-19
  • All employees must adhere to all departmental cleaning and disinfecting instructions based on CDC guidelines

OUR GUESTS:

  • We encourage awareness and adherence to CDC and state health and safety guidelines
  • We encourage you to maintain “social distancing” and to wear your own personal protective equipment, such as a facemask or shield
  • We encourage adherence to proper hand washing guidelines
  • We encourage you to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of tissue in trash
  • We encourage you to stay home if you are ill or exhibiting symptoms of flu or COVID-19 – we will work with you to cancel or reschedule your reservations without penalty when done 48 hours in advance
  • We encourage courteousness in enclosed spaces and walkways and permitting ample space for passing and “social distancing”
  • We encourage all to remain seated in your assigned passenger coach during your round trip, except for the layover in McCaysville, Ga / Copperhill, TN
We at the BRSR are adopting and encouraging the above practices for the health and safety of our guests and staff. Please follow all posted and announced instructions during your visit.
AN INHERENT RISK OF EXPOSURE TO COVID-19 EXISTS IN ANY PUBLIC PLACE. BY VISITING AND JOINING US ABOARD THE BRSR, YOU VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL RISKS RELATED TO EXPOSURE TO COVID-19.
Please contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to providing a safe and memorable experience for you!