The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is a volunteer-run historical railroad that runs from Nelsonville to Logan in Ohio. It’s a straight piece of track, ending just short of Logan itself, then reverses and repeats the journey in the other direction.
It runs on Saturdays and Sundays and lasts a couple of hours. You can sit in an enclosed carriage, or in an open carriage, depending on the weather. We would suggest sitting in the open if you can as it’s a much more exciting experience.
The train itself is a 1950s diesel locomotive, the GP7 No.5833. It pulls a variety of carriages, some from the 1920s up to the 70s. The variety makes for an interesting experience, although it’s a shame there’s no steam engines to add that extra character.
The group who runs it, Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, are a non-profit outfit who spend their free time maintaining and restoring old railway equipment. All money made in this venture is poured back into the scheme to pay costs and buy parts for the collection. The stock is a tribute to their time, skill and dedication.
The journey begins in Nelsonville and runs along a scenic part of Ohio, past historic towns, working sawmills, past Hocking College to the end. It then travels back down the same piece of track in the other direction. This time, the train stops at Hocking College to allow you to take in a historic town and railway station that recreates life as it was in the 1800s.
All the while through the trip, a narrator talks you through what you’re seeing, the history of the line, trains in general and the specific train and carriages you’re on. It adds color to the trip and is worth listening to. As the train goes fairly slow, there is a lot packed into that script, which is ideal if you’re here to learn a little more about railways and Ohio in general.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway makes for a good day out if you’re after something more educational and relaxing. Considering the outfit is made up of volunteers, the quality is good and the entire experience a positive one. Whether you like trains or not, it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours.
To add a little more flavor to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, the volunteers run special events, such as fake train robberies, wine trips, Ohio in the Fall and the upcoming Easter Bunny Train. It takes something quite predictable and adds an exciting, interesting edge that is well worth a try.
If you’re in Hocking Hills and are looking for something a little different to try, we would suggest Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. It’s educational, interesting and teaches you quite a lot in the bargain. At $20 a head, (Feb 2013) it’s well worth a try.