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The Andrews Valley Rail Tours Story

Owner with RailBike
Judy Roberson and NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell go over the operation of the RailBikes before a trip.
In early Summer 2022, Owner, Judy Roberson was in Blue Ridge, GA, and had successfully set up another (of many) RailBike venues. The Andrews Chamber of Commerce contacted Judy to ask if she would consider creating a venue in Andrews, NC. The Chamber Director had hiked the tracks to the Valley River Tunnel with friends many times and explained to Judy that it would make a unique RailBike ride destination. Judy came to visit Andrews and hiked to the tunnel, and realized it was indeed a great destination for a Rail Tour. That Fall, Judy started Andrews Valley Rail Tours in the ticket office of the old train depot in Andrews, with a Tracklery Cart that was built on an old railroad car chassis. The rides given during October and November of 2022 were similar to a “hayride” in that cart, and the reaction of the public was pure excitement! New RailBikes were ordered for the 2023 Season.

The Depot
The Historic Andrews Train Depot where your adventure begins.
In May 2023, the RailBikes arrived for a full season of fun on the rails. In a partnership with the Andrews Chamber, the venue was advertised all over the Southeastern US, and people began to come from far and wide to ride the RailBikes and explore the pretty little mountain town of Andrews, NC. Judy makes sure to refer riders to local restaurants and businesses after every tour, and Andrews Valley Rail Tours became a big hit with tourists and locals alike.

Added in 2024

Andrews Valley Rail Tours has added a Cart with 9 swiveling captain’s chairs, and a Choo-Choo speeder with 3 passenger seats. This greatly expands the number of passengers, and allows for people of all abilities to take the trip through the Valley. The venue now occupies the entire Train Depot, and this season they began offering a gift shop that sells drinks, snacks, sunscreen, wipes, tissues, t-shirts, hats, magnets, stickers and various sundries. There are also coolers available for rent or purchase (in case you forgot yours). Andrews has over 15 eateries, so you can call ahead and order some great food to take on your ride.

The Rail Tour – A Unique Adventure

This unique adventure begins at the Andrews Train Depot when you embark on your choice of an electric pedal-assisted RailBike, a Cart Ride, or a Speeder Ride. Once everyone is aboard their vehicle, the 4.3-mile trip to the tunnel begins. You will travel through the edge of town and eventually leave civilization behind for a peaceful and beautiful ride over the river and through the woods.

Curious Cows & CalvesAs you move through the tunnel at the halfway point of your trip, you will notice the temperature drop by 15-20 degrees. The tunnel was hand-carved by workers from Southern Railway in the 1890’s, and was completed in 1894. The community surrounding your destination is known as Rhodo, and legend has it that it was so named because of the biscuits served at a stop along the tracks. There wasn’t much time to cook for all of the travelers on the train, and thus more times than not, your biscuit would be slightly “raw”. It took on the nickname “Raw Dough”, which eventually morphed into “Rhodo”.

After your 30 minute stop at the Valley River Tunnel, you will re-embark for the trip back to the depot.

During your trip can expect to see lots of beautiful trees, native wildflowers, mountain laurels, rhododendrons, flame azaleas, and more. Occasionally, when we ride through the farms we will encounter curious cows and calves, as well as turkeys and chickens. The really special days are when we see great gray herons or bald eagles.

Rail tours leave daily, Wednesday through Sunday* at 8:30 am, 11:30 am, and 3 pm from the Andrews Train Depot.
*during peak season and on Holidays we run tours more often

 

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