Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Hope Valley Railway

A post today from the blogger that brought you the Talking Trees Trail information. Thanks, Marney!

I am continually surprised and excited that really cool activities exist just a short distance from my house. This is how I felt arriving at the New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR) for a kids birthday party and train ride. How could I not have known about this place?

When you walk in, you can’t miss the G Scale model railroad. The fenced-in layout has over 1,000 feet of track, with tunnels, bridges, buildings, plants and trees. As you walk around the layout you can see houses, churches, an engine house and people just like you would at a real railroad. There is also a Thomas the Tank Engine” model which was a big favorite of our toddler group.

After exploring the model, we walked past several different trains that the railway operates (diesel, steam and a historic caboose) and on to the ticket booth before boarding the train. The ride from the station in Bonsal to New Hill and back is a scenic 9-mile trip lasting about 55 minutes. Kids of all ages (and the adults) seemed to love riding through the woods, listening to the wheels chugga chugga and the whistle choo choo. The conductor gave a lot of history about the area and the train but it was difficult to hear over the train and the chatter.

The New Hope Valley Railway has been in operation as a living railroad museum since 1984. They offer train rides on the first Sunday of each month from May to November and both Saturday and Sunday during the first two weekends in December. Special trains are operated for Halloween on the evening of the last Saturday in October, and with other themes throughout the year. A bluegrass or country band plays music on ride days and cool fact, everyone that works here is a volunteer!

After the ride, there is so much more fun to be had. You can learn more about the railway at their museum, an outdoor exhibit of historic and heritage railroad equipment. Admission is free and they’re open weekends from 9-5. They also have a gift shop with a good selection of railroad-themed mementos and toys.

If you have a really big railroad fan in the family, the NHVR also has an Operate-a-loco program where you can run a diesel or steam locomotive under the supervision of a train engineer. Apparently, there are only about six or seven places in the country where you can do this.


Tickets prices are $10 adult/$7 child and may be purchased online one month prior to the ride. You can also purchase tickets on site the day of the ride but they don’t guarantee you will get on if it fills. If the online system says “sold out” call the railway because they hold a small amount of tickets to sell one hour before each train departs.

Group Rides are available and operate on the third Friday of each month from May to November. Contact the railway for more information.

You have two options for a party here; rent out their stationary caboose or have your friends buy tickets and ride the train together. Check the website for additional information.

There are several picnic tables where you can have lunch or set up party food + cake.

There are no restrooms on the train so be sure and go before you hop on.

New Hope Valley Railway
5121 Daisey St
New Hill, NC 27562
(919) 362-5416 Yard Office
Email: info@nhvry.org



At September 28, 2010 at 8:58 AM , Blogger LFP said...

thanks for this review! we've been meaning to go for a few years. this will help make it happen

At September 29, 2010 at 12:01 AM , Blogger HeatherV said...

We usually go every year near our 4 YO summer birthday but are opting for the fall Halloween train this fall. Last year the train was stuck and we got an extra 30 mins and lots of excitement as they tried to push back up a hill.

At October 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM , Anonymous Heather Forgione said...

We are booked and excited to check it out. Does anyone know if there are any vendors/food/fast food options there or nearby? Thanks!

At October 2, 2010 at 8:09 PM , Anonymous Marney Whitney said...

Hi Heather! Inside the railway there is a BBQ truck called "Ole Time BBQ" as well another truck selling hot dogs and ice cream. I'm not sure if there's food in the surrounding area, you can call the NHVR or look it up on google maps.

Hope this helps and have a great ride!

At October 26, 2010 at 6:45 PM , Anonymous Alison in Chapel Hill said...

I was thinking of having my son's 3 year old birthday party here in a few weeks. Can you offer any tips from the birthday party you attended? Did they use the caboose or just go as a group (we are thinking of the latter). Did they buy everyone's tickets, just the kids, or what? It could get pretty expensive! Thanks!

At October 26, 2010 at 9:16 PM , Anonymous Marney Whitney said...

Hi Alison! Our friends had everyone buy their own tickets but recommended that we do this online so we would be assured a ticket if they sold out on ride day. I agree, it would be too expensive for you to purchase the tickets. Our friends provided food / cake at a picnic table on the premises after the ride. We all had a a great time and no one minded paying for the ride. Good luck and happy birthday to your son. Take Care.

At January 1, 2011 at 9:23 PM , Anonymous Alison in Chapel Hill said...

We did have my son's birthday party there, but in the end decided to just invite a few folks and pay for everyone's ticket. It just seemed friendlier that way. We provided cupcakes and snacks before the train time, then all rode the train together. It was great! Thanks for the idea.


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