About the Trip
Turn the clock back to and return to the heyday of passenger railroading with the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum's Secret City Scenic Excursion Train. Trains depart from the Heritage Center (formerly K-25) near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, an historic Department of Energy facility where research and development plunged the United States into the Atomic Age. The train winds along Poplar Creek and Highway 327 in the beautiful hills and valleys of East Tennessee. The northern portion of the route was featured in the movie October Sky. Additional route and facility history is available, as are views of a typical trip. Each round trip travels approximately 14 miles and lasts about one hour. Trains are pulled by 1950's vintage diesel locomotives. Seating is in an air-conditioned coach and a dining car, both restored from the 1940's era of passenger railroading. An open-air concession car has souvenirs and snacks for sale. Ticket prices are $19 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Lap children two and under are free. Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Advance reservations for all seats are highly recommended. Tickets will be sold the day of each trip if space is available.
Additional Trip Information
Trains run rain or shine. Please arrive one-half hour before your departure time. This allows passengers time to check in.
Ticket confirmations are sent by mail when order is accompanied by a stamped envelope. Tickets are available for pickup at the boarding area.
Because of the historical/vintage nature of our equipment, for your safety, we suggest you not wear sandals or open-toed shoes.
Souvenirs, drinks, and snacks are available for purchase in the commissary car.
Firearms and explosives are prohibited. Alcoholic beverages are only permitted in the dining car during dinner train trips.
All bags carried onto the train are subject to search by East Tennessee Technology Park security personnel.
For additional information, call (865) 241-2140 for details. Please note: Because the Museum is an all volunteer effort our phone is not answered every day. Please leave a message and we will try to get back to you shortly.
Handicap and Limited Mobility Information
Wheelchair & Handicap Accessibility
The Southern Appalachia Railroad Museum operates historical artifacts that were manufactured significantly before the Americans with Disabilities Act. The coaches used on the excursion trains are not handicap accessible and cannot be converted to be handicap accessible. The museum does have wheelchair accessibility via a lift (maximum capacity 250 pounds, single user at a time) at the Wheat Station boarding area. This is used to allow access to the commissary car where museum volunteers are present. Patrons in wheelchairs cannot access any other cars due to limited space between the train car connections. Accessible bathrooms are not available on board the train, nor at Wheat Station.
Patrons with limited disability (and elderly) can be helped onto and off of the traincars with museum volunteers present to assist.
Disabled passengers requiring assistance must be accompanied by a ticketed care-giver.
If you have any questions, please call our ticket office at (865) 241-2140.
Service animals are allowed on the excursion trains. As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as, “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.” Pets are not allowed on the trains.
The Southern Appalachia Railroad Museum has a narration guide available that allows you to learn about the sights along the route. It is available upon request in the ticket office and aboard the train.
For the comfort and safety of other guests, smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not allowed anywhere on board the train, including in vestibules and restrooms.
Directions to the Train Boarding Area
Trains depart from the Heritage Center (former K-25 facility) ten miles west of downtown Oak Ridge, Tennessee. From I-40, take Highway 58 at Exit 356 and travel north (towards Oak Ridge) approximately 5 miles to the Heritage Center. Turn left into the main entrance of the plant (if you pass a stop light on Hwy. 58, you've gone too far). Take the first left inside the plant, cross the railroad tracks, and look for our small white-and-green "Wheat" station. Note: Signs are posted only on days when the excursion train operates.
Another option is to take exit 364 from I-40 and travel northwest on Hwy. 95 for 6 miles to Highway 58, then southwest (towards Kingston on Hwy. 58) two miles to the Heritage Center. (It is about a mile past the stop light.) Turn right at the main entrance into the plant, take the first left inside the plant, cross the railroad tracks, and look for "Wheat" station.
From downtown Oak Ridge, take Highway 95 south (Oak Ridge Turnpike) for 8 miles to Highway 58, then travel two miles southwest (towards Kingston on Hwy. 58) to the Heritage Center. (It is about a mile past the stop light.) Turn right at the main entrance into the plant, take the first left inside the plant, cross the railroad tracks, and look for "Wheat" station.
From Oliver Springs or Harriman, turn south off Highway 61 onto Highway 327 at Blair and take Blair Road (Hwy. 327) to Hwy. 58. Turn right on Hwy. 58 and go about one mile to the main entrance of the Heritage Center. (It is about a mile past the stop light.) Turn right at the main entrance into the plant, take the first left inside the plant, cross the railroad tracks, and look for "Wheat" station.