Blue Ridge Mountains Rail Heritage Tour

Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia
101 Shenandoah Ave.
Roanoke, VA 24016
Region Shenandoah Valley
Locality Roanoke City
Visitor Info Center: (540) 342-6025
Toll Free: (800) 635-5535
Director of Tourism

Day One:

Start your day off with a welcome and tour of the 1905 historic Norfolk & Western Railway Passenger Rail Station, which now houses the Roanoke Valley Visitor Information Center. Located in the same building, the O. Winston Link Museum offers a first hand look at Link's most famous and breathtaking photographs, as well as information and videos on his remarkable life and career. Then use the Market Square walkway for an up close view of the active freight trains as they roll through the downtown area. Historic placards illustrate rail heritage sites along the walkway. This takes you to the Downtown Historic District area including the Historic Farmer's Market, local shops and an array of restaurant options for a fantastic lunch on your own. After lunch take the Railwalk lined with rail artifacts to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, where you can see the two most powerful steam locomotives in existence, the historic Class A 1218 and Class J 611. These engines were built in the Roanoke rail shops. Be sure to explore the other exhibits that include and automobile gallery, bus exhibit and the most recent addition - aviation gallery. Plan for an evening tour and dinner at the historic Hotel Roanoke, once owned and operated by the railroad.

Day Two:

Start your day with a step-on guided tour of Roanoke. Visit the Roanoke Star and Overlook on top of Mill Mountain for a spectacular view of the Valley and learn about the rich rail history of the area from your guide. Return to the downtown area for a tour of St. Andrew's Catholic Church described as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Virginia. The church was first founded in a railcar. Spend the rest of your tour exploring Center in the Square with the History Museum of Western Virginia offering more displays on the beginnings of our railroad heritage in the region.

Last Updated: 4/8/2013 10:59 AM