'21st Century Steam' takes riders on a train trip to Bulls Gap

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Hundreds of people from the Tri-Cities got to experience travel on the railroad tracks this weekend.

News 5 spoke with passengers just before they boarded the '21st Century Steam' for a trip into the past.

30 minutes after leaving the old Bristol train station at the ‘21st Century Steam' arrived in Johnson City to pick up dozens of anxious travelers like Chuck Williams.

"I always just dreamed about it, but I'm that age in between traveling by train and automobile. It's kind of nostalgic trip," Chuck Williams, a train passenger.

And Williams is also passing on along his fascination of traveling on the tracks to his grandson.

"It will maybe give him a taste of what I'm thinking about. It's truly an experience for him. It's his second trip," said Williams.

The round trip 156-mile ride to Bulls Gap along the old Southern Railway is called the Lonesome Pine Limited.

The steam locomotive built in 1904 is provided by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and it wasn't just a hit among those abroad.

"I love it, I've been following trains for most of my life," said Joseph Schauer, a train enthusiast.

Schauer didn't make the train ride, but he came from Pennington Gap, Virginia to see it roll by.

"People used to depend on the trains. Years ago they used to just depend on the train to go just a few miles from town to town. It's just one of the things that's amazing about it, like today seeing this stream engine was impressive, now that they've preserved and kept it going," said Shauer.

And more than a hundred years later the train is still amazing people on and off the tracks.

"Train travel sets your spirit free and you get to sit and look out of these big window and you see farms and fields," said Williams.

Saturday the train took riders to Radford, VA.

If you'd like more information about the ‘21st Century Steam' click here.

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