Last year’s first Railroad Day at Natural Tunnel did not disappoint. The event was a huge success. People of all ages traveled for hours to get there. If you missed last year, you have another chance.
The young and young at heart love trains.
I came to Virginia State Parks after the tunnel had been closed to the public. So, last year’s event was my first excursion into the tunnel. Wow, it was incredible! The cool temperature of the tunnel was an added bonus since it was in the 90’s outside that day. The sound of the creek running through echoed off the tunnel walls. Just thinking about that creek craving out the tunnel is mind-blowing. Something that seems so ordinary when we are playing, wading, and fishing in it has the strength to be used to create such a wonder as an 850 feet long and 10 story high tunnel. That is the power in nature.
Pure power of water
Railroad Day at Natural Tunnel is the only opportunity to see inside the tunnel.
One thing I never gave much consideration was the size of the engines that was needed to pull all those loaded cars; that is until I stood beside one. It’s huge! When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that they would need to be huge. The engine is the lead in pulling tons of cars made of steel, not to mention the tons of goods carried in those cars.
The engine is the powerhouse for the train
A special waiver has been obtained for this event only, which will allow guests to explore the tunnel!
The event will begin when the chairlift opens at 10:00 a.m. The train schedule has been adjusted so no trains will actually be passing through the tunnel between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day. Although, the chairlift will operate regular hours of 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. for guests, the tunnel is only open to foot traffic until 3 p.m.
Other activities include guided tours of the tunnel, a Norfolk Southern engine onsite, and a free train photography workshop hosted by Casey Thomason. A Norfolk Southern Lifesaver Unit and staff will be promoting railroad safety. Author Tony Scales will also be available with his book about Natural Tunnel. Light refreshments will be available for purchase.
This special event is free to the public, although all regular park fees do apply. For more information about Railroad Day at Natural Tunnel State Park, please contact the park office at (276) 940-2674 or email here.