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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
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The Potomac Eagle: A Rail Ride Through the Trough

In-Person Program

Weekend All-Day Tour

Sunday, October 16, 2022 - 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CD002
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$205 - Member
$255 - Non-Member
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Materials for this program

  1. COVID Guidance for In-Person Tours

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railway

Please Note: The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for participation on all tours; additionally, current CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines (at the time of the tour) will be followed, including but not limited to masks on the bus and indoors.

Squeezed between two Appalachian ridges, the south branch of the Potomac River between Moorefield and Romney, West Virginia, cuts through a wild, narrow, wooded canyon known locally as the Trough. Although no road passes through it, a rail line does. Built between 1909 and 1910 by the Hampshire Southern Railroad, the tracks cross the river several times as they wend their way through the dramatic passage.

Rail historian Joe Nevin leads a tour that includes a 3-hour excursion on the diesel-powered Potomac Eagle along the route of the South Branch Valley Railroad, from Petersburg to Romney. The panorama seen from the train features natural wonders such as the river’s crystal-clear water, home to some of the largest fish caught yearly in West Virginia, and eagles, deer, and other wildlife.

En route to Petersburg, enjoy a 3-course lunch.

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, October 14, 2022.
  • The tour meets at and leaves by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C St., SW (corner of 6th and C Sts.), with a stop at the Vienna Metro station south-side Kiss and Ride kiosk, at about 9:25 a.m.
  • For additional tour information:
Departs from the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C St SW (corner of 6th & C Sts)
Fringe: Vienna Metro, south side Kiss & Ride