Frequently Asked Questions

We've got answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about traveling on the Virginia Scenic Railway.

Interested in learning more about the Shenandoah Valley Limited experience? Shenandoah Valley Limited FAQs

Frequently asked question about Virginia Scenic Railway’s other routes are listed below.

How far in advance do I need to make reservations?

The sooner the better! We recommend booking your trip at first opportunity for availability as seats are filling up fast and we anticipate strong demand for this new and exciting experience! We release our schedule three months at a time, so if the date you are looking for doesn’t show up as available, just know that it will become available in the following months!

Are reservations required?

Yes, prepaid reservations are required for all our trains. We accept Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. Reservations can only be made online or via our customer support line, 434-391-9772.

Are restrooms available on the train?

We have a spacious and comfortable bathroom near the entrance to the train.

How does the seating work?

During the ticket booking process, guests are given the option of choosing their seating from our seating map, or choosing which description best fits their party needs. When viewing the seating map, tables are labeled 1 through 11, with the number of passengers able to sit at the table shown as red squares around the table. We offer tables of two or four, and suggest those with larger parties to book on days where multiple tables of four are available side by side. Any table shown with a red X in their surrounding squares have been booked by other passengers.

Is the car heated or air conditioned?

Yes! Our passenger car is climate controlled, comfortable and inviting no matter what the weather may bring.

Are guests allowed off the train at any point during the trip?

We do not offer any deboarding during our trips. The train will come to a stop once it’s reached the designated turn around point, at which time our train engine will perform a “runaround”, moving from one side of the passenger car to the other for its return trip to Staunton.

How fast will the train be going?

On average, the train will be traveling at 25 to 30 miles an hour. These speeds may fluctuate as our train is on an active rail line handling other train traffic including Amtrak commuter trains and freight trains.

How long is the ride?

Our excursion experiences are approximately 3 hours long. Train speed and duration may fluctuate during your ride as our train operates on an active rail line handling other train traffic including Amtrak trains and freight trains. While we cannot guarantee an exact 3-hour ride on our active rail line, our train crews will do their best to ensure you get the full duration of experience.

How will we get back to the Staunton train depot?

All trains are round-trips, so your ride will both start and end at the Staunton Amtrak Station.

Is seating assigned?

Yes, seating is based off of table reservations, meaning that while you may sit at any seat at your reserved table, you are not able to move to another table at any time. We offer seating options for parties of one or two at our tables for two, and offer options for parties of two, three, or four at our tables of four. Parties that are larger than four are encouraged to book on a day with multiple tables of four available side by side.

Are strollers or car seats allowed?

With the limited space available in train cars, and for the safety of all passengers, strollers and car seats may not be brought on board the train.

Is there a smoking car or is smoking allowed?

We currently operate one passenger car that does not allow smoking of any kind including electronic cigarettes and vaping. Smoking is allowed at a distance from others at the Staunton Amtrak station before you board the train.

Are there any discounts for veterans, seniors, healthcare workers, etc.? Is there different pricing for children?

We currently do not offer discounts of any kind for tickets on our excursions. Children ages 2 and under whom can be held for the duration of the trip do not need to have tickets purchased for them.

Is there a dress code?

Standard public dress code applies, No shirt, no shoes, no boarding! Dress to your own comfort, as long as it doesn’t affect the comfort of your fellow passengers.

Is there a ticket processing fee?

Ticket processing fee is 1.5% and subject to a 5.3% Virginia Sales tax fee.

Is this train ADA accessible?

Due to the age and history of our car, stairs, narrow hallways, and other limitations make it inaccessible to persons utilizing walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, etc. We apologize for this inconvenience, but we are making strides to improve and allow for improved accessibility in other passenger cars coming in the future.

Do we allow outside food or beverages aboard the train?

We do not allow outside food or beverages to be brought aboard the train.

Is alcohol served on the train, if not can we bring our own?

Starting in October, adults over the age of 21 may purchase from a limited menu of wine and beer options. Guests are limited to two servings per person.

What is the cancellation policy?

Any changes or cancellations must be made a minimum of 7 business days prior to the day of your departure. Special event tickets such as for the Santa Express are final sales – no refunds or date changes are available. Tickets are transferrable.

What if inclement weather is predicted on the day of my trip?

Our trains operate rain, snow, or shine. The decision to run is based on weather conditions at the railroad. If the train runs, we do not issue refunds for those unable to make the ride. We will reschedule if able.  If a train is cancelled, a gift card will be issued – no cash refunds will be made.

When and where do I board the train?

The train departs from the Staunton Amtrak Station located at 12 Middlebrook Ave., Staunton, Virginia, 24401. Plan to arrive at the station 30 minutes before your selected train schedule.  Boarding begins 10 minutes before departure time, or the time listed for your excursion.  Parking can be challenging in the downtown area so leave plenty of time to walk to the loading platform from a parking lot or parking structure. Our train cannot be held for late passengers.

Where should I park?

While we have a few parking spots available at the Staunton Amtrak station, you may need to find parking on the nearby street or one of the nearby parking decks or lots. During weekdays, Staunton street parking is free of charge for only two hours and will not be enough for the duration of your trip.  We recommend planning to arrive early so that you are able to find parking and be ready to depart when our train arrives.

Will my tickets be mailed to me?

We do not provide physical tickets for any of our excursions. You will receive an email confirmation of your order as well as your tickets at the email address you provide during the booking process. There will be a link that reads “Go to your Ticket” that you need to select in order to open your digital ticket. This will appear as a QR code or barcode, and will need to be printed off and brought or shown on your mobile device for entry onto the train.

Does your business have a physical address we can visit when not riding on the excursion?

While there is a Buckingham Branch railyard located in Staunton, Virginia, we ask that you do not visit here as it is where we primarily do maintenance and preform critical duties for our freight division. Keep an eye out though, we will more news on this coming later in the year!

Are pets allowed on the train?

“Service Animals” – Virginia Scenic Railway is in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and permits services animals in the facility. Emotional support, comfort and companionship are NOT covered tasks defining the function and use of a service animal under the law.

Please answer these two questions regarding the use of your service dog:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?


  • The service animal must be harnessed or on a leash, house broken, and under control of the owner at all times.
  • The service animal must remain on the floor and is NOT allowed on any furniture at any time. The service animal cannot be held by the owner.
  • If the service animal disrupts the journey for anyone else, we will have to consider alternative seating options for the service animal and owner.

What is your policy on photography or filming at Virginia Scenic Railroad property?

  • The use of drone photography/video filming is strictly prohibited aboard the Virginia Scenic Railway.
  • There is no access allowed to the train tracks.  Train tracks are for trains. Please stay off!
  • Photography for commercial use, or financial gain, requires prior authorization. Contact _____PRIOR to arriving at train depot.  This includes engagements for commercial gain or profit such as movie films, commercial television productions, photography for commercial advertisements and wedding or group staging.

Train Passenger Photography Consent and Disclaimer

If a Train Passenger (PAX) creates, uploads, posts or sends any photography or video footage depicting or relating to Virginia Scenic Railway (VSR), PAX grants VSR and its affiliates the irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable right and license to use, display, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish and distribute for any purpose in any media, collateral or promotional effort. PAX also agrees to not exploit any photographs or video footage of VSR for any commercial purpose without VSR’s prior written consent.

What time are your booking agents available by phone?

Our booking agents phone lines are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday and can be reached by calling 434-391-9772.

Get Your Ticket To Ride

Aboard the Virginia Scenic Railway, you’ll get a front-row seat to some of Virginia’s prettiest views, including the legendary Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Depending on the excursion you choose, you’ll roar through tunnels, speed over bridges, race past scenic fields and forests, and climb over mountains.