Friday, October 21, 2011

The Potomac Eagle Train...and Ultrarunning

Photo credit: Gary

Just went on another tourist train, the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, in Romney, WV.  Love those things!  Romney is located in the Potomac highlands of WV's Eastern Panhandle.  This summer we also went on another excursion train, the Durbin Rocket, in which we actually stayed overnight in a caboose outfitted like a comfortable camper.  I posted about it here.

Back to the Potomac Eagle: it's claim to fame is its route through "The Trough," a narrow gorge through which the South Branch of the Potomac River flows north, and the resident population of bald eagles there.

Of course, Mister Tristan (the 3-year old human being, not the blog) was along, the bride, and daughter's boyfriend's 13 year old son, who also loves trains, geography, and geology.  The day was a magnificent October Sunday with the leaves here in the northeast beginning to turn.

Oh, and did I mention the eagles?  We took turns back at the open air observation car, and the train went through The Trough twice (outbound and return), so the eagle count is very soft.  I personally saw about 5 identifiable individuals.  I did not count silhouettes of raptors coasting way up high, which just as easily could be turkey vultures.  The others in our party saw a similar number, and the bride is still gushing over the one she saw up close (maybe 50' away) in a tree immediately adjacent to the tracks.  No good photos, however.

Mister Tristan loved the 3 hour round trip and was never bored.  We had packed some train playthings so in between looking out the open windows he was happy to puff his trains around on the seats of the coach.

And the link to Ultrarunning?  There are no roads (other than the railroad) through The Trough, and no foot trails.  I've posted before about the fact that running on railroad tracks sucks, but I think this run would be a winner: remote, beautiful, and wild.  Probably the act of running on the stones and ties would be no worse than the infamous rocks of the Massanutten 100 miler, of which I have firsthand running (and finishing!) experience. 

Might even be easier.



  1. I realize it's a bit of a haul from PA, but have you ridden the Durango-Sliverton Narrow Gauge Railway? You might get a kick out of it and, if you want to do a bit of backpacking, you can ask the train to drop you off in the Chicago Basin - reportedly one of the most scenic locations in Colorado.
    I myself have never shelled out the fare, but it's on the bucket list...

  2. My only tourist trains west of the Mississippi were in Iowa, the Boone and Scenic Valley RR ( and in CA, the Napa Valley Wine Train ( Both were very cool and memorable in their own way.

    Would love to do this CO train and will add it to the list as part of a Wild West vacation.

    (for some reason Google keeps IDing me as Anonymous rather than as owner of the blog)

  3. Test post by Gary, blog owner, who is having trouble posting to his own blog!