I mentioned this in my Weekend Plans post, but I wanted to highlight it here in a separate story because it's a great opportunity to a lot of families in the area.
New Hope Valley Railway, the historic railway that runs through southwestern Wake County, will celebrate military personnel and their families on Sunday with a special military appreciation ride day. Active duty, reserve, National Guard, veterans and retired military personnel can get up to four free tickets for rides on the diesel locomotive, which departs at 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., Sunday.
To get the tickets, present a military ID at the ticket booth, which is located near the parking lot before you cross the pedestrian bridge to the rail yard. The free tickets can only be picked up in person. Additional tickets can be purchased for the diesel rides, but they are expected to sell out. The railway recommends getting there at least one hour before departure time to ensure you get tickets.
Steam train rides also are scheduled on Sunday, but the free tickets are only for the diesel train rides.
The railway has plenty of ties to the military, according to a press release. Much of the equipment was on a U.S. military base before arriving at the rail yard in Bonsal. All of the covered passenger cars were built from flat rail cars used to haul tanks and other heavy equipment at Camp Lejuene. And the museum exhibit car and gift shop are housed in former kitchen cars for troop trains during World War II.
Diesel tickets for non-military riders (or military families wanting more than the free four ticket limit) are between $7 and $10. Kids under two are free. Steam tickets for all guests are between $9 and $15. Food trucks, including a hot dog wagon serving a children's menu, and face painting also are scheduled to be at the railway on Sunday.