Missouri,  Travel,  United States

Branson Scenic Railway -Branson, Missouri

All aboard! Take a passenger car ride on a unique collection of passenger cars through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The ride lasts an hour and 45 minutes, and it will take you through tunnels, over trestles, and through the southwest Missouri or northwest Arkansas wilderness. This area is still home to wildlife and to the ruins of long-ago communities now named only on railroad maps. Your trip will begin at the historic 1905 depot in downtown Branson just one block west of Lake Taneycomo (formerly the White River) at the intersection of Main Street and Branson Landing Boulevard. Here you will find a restroom and light refreshments.

The northern route goes as far as Galena, Missouri, to the James River Valley, and the southern route extends into Arkansas to the Barren Fork Trestle. There are multiple trips daily, depending on the season. Branson Scenic Railway explores territory inaccessible by automobile and offers views that are unattainable by any other means. A lively narration points out the landmarks, some dating to the early 20th century, and a description of the wildlife and landscape and an outline of the railroad’s role in shaping the Ozarks. The routes take passengers about 20 miles from Branson before reversing directions and returning on the same tracks. We took the southern route into Arkansas. Although there is plenty to see through the broad windows and the three dome cars with their panoramic views, visiting each car can occupy much of the excursion.

Seating is unassigned, and passengers are invited to tour the entire train. Since boarding numbers are issued in the order the reservation is made, it is suggested that reservations be made as early as possible. The cars have been restored and refurbished to offer the same first-class experience and ambiance to today’s passengers as to those they carried over fifty years ago. There is also a concession area aboard that offers refreshments for purchase. April through October, on Saturdays at 5:00 PM, a dinner train is offered. A three-course candlelight meal is served, and guests are treated to traditional-style dining that was the ultimate experience long ago when riding on the rails. During November and December, the train transforms into the Polar Express—each car with its elaborate themed decorations. Santa Claus visits with all children, and they receive the First Gift of Christmas and a silver sleigh bell as passengers travel and eat cookies and hot chocolate. We arrived early so we walked down to the lake and enjoyed the view. We eyed an excellent restaurant for lunch and spotted some beautiful wind chimes to take home for souvenirs. The Railway is located at 206 E. Main Street in Branson, MO 65616.  To purchase tickets to the Branson Scenic Railway, click here. For more Travel articles, please visit our blog. 

Helpful Tips: 

Branson Scenic Railway is a daytime Excursion Train from March through November.

Branson Scenic Railway is an evening Dinner Train on Saturdays, April through October.

Branson Scenic Railway is “The Polar Express,” after dark, November and December.