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All Aboard Carolina Dinner Train

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ABERDEEN, N.C. — A new kind of "meals on wheels" is coming to Moore County. It's called the "Carolina Dinner Train" and it begins lunch and dinner service on December 10.

The train cars that will carry patrons through the Sandhills countryside arrived in Aberdeen in mid-October.

Bells, whistles and rattling rails are part of everyday life in Aberdeen -- but this train is getting stares. Its cargo is full of nostalgia.

"There's a lot of railroad history in this town. In fact, it actually had three railroads running and still does to this day have three railroads running through it," says Robert Menzies.

Menzies owns the Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railway Company, a regional freight operation. He decided the time and place were right for branching out into the restaurant business.

"And after the U.S. Open...I mean, it's amazing how much this area has changed," he declared. "You know, we are on the map now!"

Menzies knows trains. He hired Page Bloedorn to handle the food end of this new venture.

"I did a train in Pawpaw, Michigan, a small rural community in northern Michigan that had a winery. When the train came into there, it brought a lot of tourism from surrounding states and cities. The town just flourished."

The diner cars are due for a makeover before the first meal is served December 10. The object is to create a fine-dining experience with an ever-changing view.

"They will go up through the golf courses that made the Pinehurst area famous. And then they'll get out into the rural area of North Carolina. We'll have things like murder mysteries and winetastings on the train, and maybe a beerfest, and all kinds of ideas that will make this a fun experience for whoever rides the train," Menzies said.

Two-hour lunch trips will cost $36 per person. Three-hour dinner rides will be $59.

For further information, call 910-944-3040 or, toll-free, 877-944-RAIL(7245).

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