This blog is devoted to exploring the history, historic sites and heritage tourism opportunities of the American South! A guide to new additions and updates to the expansive site www.exploresouthernhistory.com, this blog features forts, battlefields, Native American sites, architectural treasures and natural wonders.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Branson, Missouri - Reliving the Romance of the Rails
There is an aura of romance that surrounds the old passenger trains that once rolled across the railroads of the South. As we continue our St. Valentine's Day look at romantic places in the South, it seems appropriate to focus on the Branson Scenic Railway in southern Missouri.
One of the finest such attractions in the South, the Branson Scenic Railway is a rolling historic site that takes passengers for rides through the scenic Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas. Leaving from its station in downtown Branson, the historic Ozark Zepher is a beautifully restored passenger train that features observation cars, a club car and regular passenger cars. It rolls through mountain valleys and over historic trestles and provides passengers with a chance to experience a 40 mile train ride that recreates the romance of train travel in days gone by.
The Zephyr uses a historic line of track that was laid between 1902 and 1905 at a then remarkable cost of $12 million. The challenge of building the tracks through the mountains caused the construction cost to soar, but the line was eventually finished, bringing passengers by rail to the developing resort area of Branson, Missouri.
The train station from which the Zephyr departs was built in 1905 and is now 105 years old. It provides an authentic beginning for trips into the past.