Saturday, July 9, 2016

Train Day welcomes visitors to ghost town at Thurmond

Thurmond in the early 1900s
Walking tours, educational programs, and activities for children will highlight the third annual Train Day in the historic ghost town of Thurmond July 16 in the heart of the New River Gorge National River.

Bluegrass music and a hike along the wall of the gorge will also be features of the 10 a.m.-to-2 p.m. celebration of life along the rails, according to Dave Bieri, a supervising ranger for the southern district of the national park.

One of the most accessible ghost towns that remains along the New River in West Virginia, the town was long a commercial and railroading center along the route of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Now a national historic district, little is left of the community of five permanent residents that boasts its standing as the smallest incorporated community in the Mountain State.

Activities for kids include stories and lessons about trains and read-aloud programs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. hosted by the The Center for Railway Tourism from Davis & Elkins College. Children are encouraged to participate in art activities and will have an opportunity to earn a special Historic Preservation Junior-Ranger Badge. They may also have their picture taken on a railroad handcart and will receive a framed photo to take home.

The national railroad-safety program Operation Lifesaver will provide materials and presentations that emphasize the value of rail transportation and promote rail safety.

Walking tours of the town's commercial row are scheduled for 10 and 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. and convene at the visitor center.

Guided by rangers, the easy, three-mile hike along the Rend Trail convenes at the Rend trailhead along Thurmond Road (CR-25) and leads participants along a former railroad grade that features scenic overlooks of the gorge and town.

The Thurmond Depot Visitor Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Labor Day. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the Duffy Boyd Band will perform traditional music near the center.

The event is being sponsored by the national park service and Operation Lifesaver, the Thurmond Performance Team, and the National Coal Heritage Area.

See also: Scale Drawings of Thurmond Depot; New River Gorge Railroad Heritage Sites; Thurmond Depot Photo Gallery

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