Branson Scenic Railway Tips: Hop Aboard A Missouri Icon
Ever wondered what it was like when train travel was the most common means of transportation? There are few places throughout the U.S. where visitors can experience life when steam engines, proper dining cars, and close quarters were a way of life. The Branson Scenic Railway© offers one of those rare adventures. The train takes passengers into the Ozark Mountains through tunnels and over bridges. Sound fun? Get some Branson Scenic Railway tips here.
Branson Scenic Railway Tips for a Family Adventure
Riding Branson Scenic Railway
Starting at the historic depot, built in 1905 in downtown Branson, Branson Scenic Railway rides through southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas on a 40-mile trip through the region and former mining towns.
Passengers travel either north or south, and hear a lively narration of the area’s history, natural landscape and wildlife. Travelers learn about the bygone towns in mountain valleys and what life was like at the turn of the century. Most people also enjoy hopping seats for different views.
April through October, guests have the option of riding the dinner train on Saturday evenings at 5 p.m. Riders dine on a four-course meal, including appetizer, salad, main course and dessert. During the winter holiday season, book the Polar Express option.
History of Branson Scenic Railway
In such rugged Ozark terrain, the railway’s construction was laborious and dangerous. Workers spent years creating miles of flat terrain, stretching tresses across valleys, and blasting tunnels out of ancient rocks. While the labor was arduous, the work provided employment opportunities for struggling Ozark pioneers who were paid $1.25 to $3.00 per day, which was a good wage for those days.
Before the railroad, Branson consisted mainly of a country store surrounded by rural log cabins and families living off the land. With the advent of the White River Railways in the early 1900s, the area became accessible to tourists, opening up a new economy. The town quickly grew to accommodate visitors — with many residents opening homes as boarding houses for people coming to view the beautiful Ozark scenery.
Present Day in Branson
The spirit of this tamed wilderness remains alive in this Ozark town, and a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway provides one of the best ways to capture the history. Today, the city celebrates heritage through other attractions as well. Live shows, theme parks, religious sites and nature tours welcome everyone to enjoy small-town living and big entertainment.