After wrapping up a record season in 2015, New Hope Valley Railway is gearing up for another year of one-hour train rides through southwestern Wake County.
Last year, nearly 16,000 people climbed aboard the Railway's passenger cars, pulled by diesel or steam locomotives; walked through historic train cars; and enjoyed the garden railroad - a favorite for kids. This year, even more rides days are planned - including new special events and some Wednesday morning ride days, according to the railway's website.
The season opens April 10 with an event that's part of the N.C. Science Festival. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 10, the day will include train rides, along with live demonstrations of rail replacement, train safety and more.
New this year: a Strawberry Festival on April 30 and the Brew 'n' Choo Oktoberfest on Sept. 24. The schedule also includes new 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, rides on May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14.
During the season, ride days are usually the second Sunday and last Saturday of each month. Weekday ride days also are on the fourth Friday of each month from April to September. The season ends in December after the Santa Train, which runs Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 10 and Dec. 11.
Other special events include reenactment ride days, an ice cream social, grandparent's day, Halloween train and more.
The railway is located in Bonsal, about 30 miles from Raleigh. Tickets can sell out for many of the special events so it's best to buy them before you go. The hour-long rides take place in open-air cars with no bathrooms, so just be prepared before you go. (Portable toilets are on site). I featured the destination on Go Ask Mom last year.
Tickets are usually around $7 to $17, depending on the age of the rider, the train you're riding and whether you're buying tickets for a special event. During ride days, food trucks are on site to sell concessions.