Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of our common questions! If you still can't find what you are looking for feel free to contact us!
Where do your trains depart from? All of our general excursions, special event trains and activities are located at the Depot in Bryson City North Carolina.
Are restrooms available on the open air cars? Most open air cars do not have restrooms, but there are restrooms available throughout the train. Our car attendants will point out the locations for the closest restrooms, concession car, etc.
What amenities are included with First Class seating? In First Class seating, you’ll travel in comfort and style in 1940s-era bar, lounge and dinner cars that feature seating at well-appointed tables and lounge/restaurant style chairs. First Class passengers receive an all inclusive, delicious lunch served by the car’s private attendant, a souvenir tumbler with a fountain soda and an embroidered tote bag gift from GSMR. (One tote bag per couple) First Class cars are climate controlled with restrooms available. Full bar service is also available in our First Class Cars (cash or credit card). Adults only, must be 21. First Class passengers receive their tumbler at the depot by depot personel and may fill it at the Cafe located on the depot deck. There’s also our option of Family First Class for selected months! Adults and children can all ride and dine First Class. Children receive a tasty kids’ meal, souvenir tumbler and special amenity.
I was planning on taking the Nantahala Gorge Excursion, could you tell me what is served in your on board lunch choices? Passengers on the Nantahala Gorge Excursion may visit the concession car for snack items such as hot dogs, hamburgers, nachoes, pretzels, chips, cookies, crackers, candy, Coca-Cola® products, beer, wine, and coffee. We also offer two lunch choices:
CONDUCTOR’S HOT DOG LUNCH - $9.00 per adult
Two Black Angus 100% Beef Hot Dogs, Chips, Cookie and Beverage
LIL’ CONDUCTOR’S HOT DOG LUNCH - $6.50 per child
One Black Angus 100% Beef Hot Dog, Chips, Cookie & Child’s Beverage Vegetarian option available.
Is the train accessible to guests with special needs? On vintage rail cars, accommodations for passengers with special needs are limited. We have an open car gondola (Fontana) on the Bryson City Nantahala Gorge Excursion which is equipped with a hydraulic lift for wheelchair boarding and deboarding assistance. The Fontana open air gondola also has a handicap accessible restroom. Based on the varied coach train consist at times we are unable to operate the hydraulic lift to de-board guests at the one hour layover in the Nantahala Gorge, as the terrain is not wheel chair accessible. Guests are invited to remain on the train at this time.
Boarding assistance with golf carts is available to accommodate guests who have limited walking or standing capabilities. Please call 800-872-4681 to speak with a GSMR representative who can assist in arranging and making reservations for your visit. Once arriving at the depot, please make the ticket office staff aware of you need for assisted boarding.
Is alcohol served on the train? Yes. Daytime excursions have a full bar option available in our First Class Seating ticket holders. Beer and wine service is available for purchase in the Conductor's Cafe Car. Cash and all major credit cards accepted.
Can you bring your own lunch and are facilities available to eat (i.e. picnic tables)? After careful consideration of park policies across the nation, consultation with health and safety experts and much consideration of the welfare of our guests and employees alike, we are unable to allow coolers, food or drinks into GSMR. Although we do not allow food or drink to be brought into GSMR, we offer a wide variety of delicious foods available for purchase. (Special dietary needs should be addressed with our Reservations staff prior to arrival.) We also have a cafe at our Bryson City Depot. Most excursions have a full service Concession Car offering a wide selection of snacks and lunch items, hot and cold beverages and alcoholic beverages for purchase. There are a limited number of picnic tables at the Bryson City Depot and at the Nantahala Gorge.
Do you have discount rates for AAA members? We offer a 10% discount on upgraded seating to AAA members with the “Show Your Card & Save!” program. No other association discounts are available. We do not allow double discounts. GSMR does offer seasonal pricing that is significantly discounted during our One-Star Season. Discounts are not valid Saturdays in October & during special premier events. We offer a special discount to those veteran and active military who are active duty or retired military personnel.
What is the difference between Coach and Crown Class? Coach Class passengers enjoy restored vintage coaches that date back as early as 1920 and feature windows that open for fresh air viewing, ceiling fans and heat for cooler days. Coach Class Seating also offers Open Air Gondola cars created from retired baggage and flatbed cars. These open cars feature long padded outward facing seats, perfect for the panoramic views.
Crown Class passengers enjoy the same vintage coach as Coach Class passengers, and also receive a souvenir tumbler at the depot by depot personel, that they can fill with a fountain soda at the depot café. Reills are available onboard in the Conductor's Cafe.
How can I find out if a trip is available without making online reservations? Please call our Reservations Office and they will be glad to check on available seating at 1-800-872-4681.
How can I purchase gift certificates? To purchase gift certificates please call 1-800-872-4681. You can purchase gift certificates in whatever face value amount you wish and they are good for one year from date of purchase.
Do you have any special rates for groups? We have special rates for groups of 20 or more paying passengers on many of our excursions. Please call 1-800-872-4681 x 7021 and speak with group reservations for details.
Do I absolutely need advanced reservations? We sell tickets at our depot on a space available basis up until 5 minutes before departure. We recommend advance reservations because some days have special excursions and sometimes certain seat classes or whole trains are sold out. BOOK NOW!
Are pets allowed on your excursions? Sorry, no pets are allowed on the train--Service Animals only
Is there a kennel nearby to lodge our dog for a 1/2 day trip? Call 1-800-872-4681 for information regarding local pet services and contact numbers.
On Raft ‘n’ Rail or the Rapid Transit excursions, what type of seating is provided? All seating for both the Raft 'n' Rail and Rapid Transit excursions is in the open car seating.
How long does your Nantahala Gorge excursions last? The Nantahala Gorge Excursion is 4.5 hours in length and has a one hour layover on the river in the Nantahala Gorge, at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
When you make an online reservation is the credit card charged immediately or is it simply to hold tickets? All reservations must be prepaid, therefore, if we are able to confirm your reservation, we charge your credit card within 48 hours of submitting the on-line reservation request.
Do you have season passes? Yes read all about them HERE
What hotel accommodations are available in or near your depots? Please call us for details about our packages or view the hotel packages here with convenient lodging establishments in the area. You can also refer to the links section of our website for information regarding area lodging that we recommend. Also, for information on area lodging you can call the Smoky Mountain Host for a guide book 800.432.4678, or call the respective Chambers of Commerce; Jackson County (Dillsboro) 800.962.1911 and Swain County (Bryson City) 800.867.9246.
What is the closest airport to Bryson City, and how can I get to Bryson City from there? Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, GA is 3 1/2 to 4 hours south of this area. There are also regional airports at Knoxville, TN (2 1/2 hours north west) and Asheville, NC (1 1/2 hours east), and another international airport in Charlotte, NC (3 1/2 hours east). When you find the airport that best suits your needs call 1-800-872-4681 for driving directions or print directions directly from our website
What is the minimum age requirement for children to do the rafting/train combo? Children must weigh a minimum of 60 pounds or be at least 7 years of age. This is a NC Forest Service regulation. Rafting companies may weigh them at the depot if weight is suspect. Find out all abour our rafting packages here
What are the ages for a child's ticket? For most excursions there are two groups of children's tickets. In standard seating class, children ages 24 Months and under receive a ticket, but ride for free. On Peanuts - The Great Pumpkin Patch Express & The Polar Express excursions, children 23 months and younger receive a ticket, but ride for free. We also offer a child rate for our Nantahala Gorge Excursion in both Standard and Crown seating classes.
When a ticket is purchased over the internet, is it mailed out? If not, where or how are we expected to pick it up? For all excursions tickets are printed and ready for pickup when the depot opens. Arrival one hour before the excursion departure time is recommended.
Does the Nantahala Gorge Excursion have views of the mountains? Our train route is located in the mountains of western North Carolina. Depending on your route of travel, you must travel across The Great Smokies, Blue Ridge or Balsam Mountains. Therefore, all train excursions have distance views of these beautiful mountains.
How long is the Tuckasegee Excursion? Trains depart from the historic Bryson City depot. This 4 hour, 32 mile round-trip travels along the Tuckasegee River, through the historic Cowee Tunnel, and past The Fugitive movie film site. Arrive in the quaint village of Dillsboro for a 1½ hour layover for shopping and dining.
How far is it from Gatlinburg to the Bryson City Depot? Normal travel time from Gatlinburg to our Bryson City Depot is 2 to 2.5 hours. Travel time during peak periods (usually July, October and holiday weekends) may be significantly longer.
What is the status of the Murphy-Andrews segment of the line? Are there any plans to restore freight/passenger service? We have no plans to restore passenger excursions at this time. That section of track is owned, not by GSMR, but by the State of North Carolina.
What is the Nantahala Outdoor Center? The Nantahala Outdoor Center is an outdoor adventure destination consisting of a complex of shops and restaurants located on the banks of the Nantahala River in the Nantahala Gorge between Bryson City and Andrews, NC. It caters to outdoor sports such as canoeing, rafting, kayaking, hiking, cycling, etc. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Nantahala River at this point. Visit them here on the web
Where do we park? Great Smoky Mountains Railroad provides all day parking for a cash fee of $5. Parking is conveniently located across from the GSMR Depot on Mitchell Street.
Where can I find information about your sister railroad, the Durango & Silverton? You can visit the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad web site at http://www.durangotrain.com to find information about schedules and rates. You may also call Durango directly at 877.872.4607.
Once the 1702 & 722 trains are restored, what operational changes do you plan on making?
The expected date for the completed restoration of 1702 & 722 is still tentative. As of now, there is no operational schedule in place for the 1702 & 722. Our intention is to offer additional steam service for some excursions.
What kind of maintenance do you perform on 1702 or 722 when they are not running? The 1702 is currently in maintenance to have an interior firebox replacement. This includes the rear flue, sides, crown, and door sheets.
How long has the railway had locomotive 1702 and what railroad cars were used in the movie My Fellow Americans?
The railroad acquired the 1702 approximately 1996. The Royal Palm crown coach was used in the filming of My Fellow Americans. The film aalso used a baggage car which showed up again later in the film Forces of Nature.
What kind of freight products do you haul?
We haul freight products according to demand. Please call for further information.
Is your line standard 56.5 inch track or narrow gauge 36 inch?
The Murphy Branch on which the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates is a full gauge working railroad that provides both passenger and freight service over 53 miles of track. Our sister railroad, the Durango and Silverton in Colorado is a narrow gauge railroad.
Is the 1702 coal fired or oil fired?
The 1702 locomotive was originally coal fired. It has been converted to operate off a mixture of heavy diesel fuel and recovered motor oil.
What is the difference between diesel and steam engines?
The steam engine has the sights and sounds of the old time railroad. This engine requires more personnel and significantly higher maintenance costs. The passenger cars and routes are the same regardless of the locomotive pulling the train.