Sunday, January 20, 2013

Great Smokey Mountain railway of America

Let me take you to Great Smoky Mountain Railways.
Journey begins at Bryson City, North Carolina. Bryson City is one of the scenic village in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. It is an excursion train and departs at 10:30AM and returns at about 4PM

All abroad and train begins its journey.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (reporting mark GSM) is a freight and heritage railroad in North Carolina with a depot in Bryson City. The railroad operates over the western leg of the “Murphy Branch”, a former branch line of the Southern Railway.
The route of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad passes through fertile valleys, through a tunnel and across river gorges in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.

Train ready to roll.
In addition to running tourist excursions year-round, the railroad also moves freight on its own tracks between Dillsboro and Andrews. GSMR interchanges with Norfolk Southern Railway in Sylva near Jackson Paper Manufacturing.
Step onboard for a passage through time as the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes you through a remote corner of Western North Carolina into river gorges, across fertile valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. You may choose from a variety of train adventures departing from our Bryson City, NC depot. Ride in vintage 1940’s railroad cars while dinning in First Class. Let us be your guide through the breath-taking scenery while you kick back and relax. All First Class tickets include a delicious meal served by your private car attendant, a souvenir tumbler and a special gift.
The Nantahala Gorge Excursion is 4 ½ hours and travels 44 miles with a one hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The four hour Tuckasegee River Excursion travels 32 miles round trip, past The Fugitive movie film site, to the town of Dillsboro for a 1 ½ hour layover.
We were camping at Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville NC and to catch this train we had to drive 50 miles so arrived at Bryson City at 10AM. Train departs at 10.30 so we were in hurry and grabbed sandwiches from the Subway and bought the tickets and got on the train.
As train begun moving instantly it left the small town and crossed a scenic river and in a minute we were in the meadows.
Each moment scenes were changing. Meadows turned into valleys, then train rose from valleys and to the lush woods and then to the mountains. Once a while train entered in a tunnel.
We were in the high mountains and sky was also changing colors and it was the beginning of fall season and foliage was also very colorful.
The Carolina mountains border the entire western edge of North Carolina, comprising some 52 percent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautiful area also includes the southern crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pisgah, Cherokee, and Nantahala National Forests. Hundreds of years ago, glacial and volcanic movement left etchings still visible on the land. In more recent times, roads and flood controls have added accessibility, stimulating the growth of commerce and then tourism. Early in the century, the railway played a major part of the story of the development of the region. Today, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad provides visitors a way to explore the mountains and enjoy the natural beauty of Western North Carolina.
After passing meadowlands train is now rising towards mountains again.
Train passing a railroad crossing. Railway crossings are not gated in USA like in India because people have patience and discipline here to wait for the train to pass and then cross the tracks.
Lake Fontana.
Another view of Lake Fontana.
Lake Fontana; you can see the growth by the tracks. These are invasive plants of kudzu that United States planted beside the Mississippi river to stop the landslides. Now this plant is invading all over USA. In India this plant is naturally controlled because animals eat it and it can also be cooked. USA government is promoting the idea to use it as vegetables. I cook it and it is delicious.
Last of the lake Fontana
Lake Fontana ends and turns into scenic Nantahala river.
Nantahala River, you can see people doing white water rafting.
Last point of this train journey is at Nantahala outdoor center where one can do whitewater rafting. As you have seen in several pictures; river runs alongside the rails. There are several other rivers and Nanthala outdoor center is where one can arrange rafting packages. Or if you have your own canoe or kayak then you can enjoy for free. There are restaurants and train stops here for one hour before making return journey to Bryson City.

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