Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

January 20, 2014

Steam train excursion planned in Appalachia

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Appalachia are gearing up for what they are describing as a one-of-a-kind steam train excursion.

The Appalachian News-Express reports that officials from Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia met in Pike County, Ky., last week to discuss details for the 2014 Tri-State Rail Excursion that is planned for April 12-13.

Officials say the steam train journey will begin in Grundy, Va., and pass through Pike County and Devon, W. Va.

Pike County director of Energy and Community Development Charles Carlton said the Norfolk Southern train will pass land associated with the Hatfield-McCoy feud and passengers will have an opportunity to see coal mining activities.

Officials hope it is a major tourist attraction for all three states. Tickets are being sold on the website of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum at www.tvrail.com.

“What an opportunity it is to fill up our hotels in Grundy, Williamson and Pikeville during these days,” Pike Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “And we know that they will fill up.”

Pike County Tourism Director Tony Tackett said all three states can capitalize on the uptick in visitors by planning ahead and working together.

“Our big goal is a two-night package,” Tackett said. “If they’re here on Friday evening to catch the train on Saturday morning, then have activities later Saturday afternoon and evening, then, of course, Sunday — Hatfield and McCoy tours ... crafts out in your hotel lobbies, people selling their wares, getting that Appalachian feel.”

He said many visitors might be coming to the area for the first time.

“They know us, but they don’t know us,” he said. “Every community needs to be displaying your arts and your crafts and your Appalachian culture, whether it’s music in the foyer of the Hilton Garden Inn early that evening ... you’ve got to cater to these people because we need them again.”

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