Frequently Asked Questions

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

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?

Yes, restrooms are available in each passenger car.

How does the seating work?

During the ticket booking process, guests are given the option of choosing their seating from our seating maps, or choosing which description best fits their party needs. When viewing the seating map, tables are labeled by number, 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 train climate-controlled?

Yes, the passenger cars are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

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

All rides are round-trip excursions, and passengers do not deboard until the ride is complete.

How fast does the train go?

The train will be traveling on average 25-30 mph. These speeds may fluctuate as our train is on an active rail line handling other train traffic including Amtrak commuter trains and freight trains. Our train crews will do their best to ensure you get the full length of experience and may need to adjust as needed.

How long is the ride?

Our excursion experiences are approximately three hours. Train speed and duration may fluctuate during your adventure 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 three-hour ride on an active rail line, our train crews will do their best to ensure you get the full duration of experience. All trains are round-trips – you will end up where you started.

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 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 bikes, strollers, or car seats allowed?

At this time, no storage is available for these items.

Is smoking allowed?

No smoking is permitted on the train.

Does my child need a purchased ticket?

Infants aged two and younger do not require a purchased ticket, but the child must remain seated in an adult’s lap during the excursion. All other ages require a seat purchase.

Is there a dress code?

There is no dress code, but please dress in a way that will not make others uncomfortable. This is a chance to sit back, relax, and unwind.

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 passenger cars, stairs, narrow hallways, and other limitations make them inaccessible to persons utilizing walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, etc. We apologize for this inconvenience, and we are making strides to improve our accessibility options.

May I bring alcohol or any other food aboard this train?

Neither alcohol nor any other food/beverage may be brought on board the train.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

Any changes or cancellations must be made a minimum of seven (7) business days prior to the day of your departure. Cancellations may be processed through the confirmation email by simply clicking on the blue hyperlink located under the passenger car photo “Cancel Booking.”

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, no refunds will be made. 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 Staunton platform 30 minutes before your selected train schedule. Boarding begins 10 minutes prior to departure time. parking is often 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?

Our train excursions are three-hour round trips, and street parking in downtown Staunton is provided free of charge for only two hours. The City of Staunton offers several reasonably-priced downtown parking locations; we recommend parking in nearby parking garages or parking lots.

How do I receive my ticket?

After you have completed the purchase on the reservation software, you will immediately receive a confirmation email from Virginia Scenic Railway that identifies the date and time of your experience and the passenger car name in which you are booked. Prior to your ride, click on the “Go to your ticket” button in the confirmation email to open up your unique QR code. This code must be scanned at the time of boarding.

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 have more news on this coming later in the year!

May I bring my pet along?

Pets (including emotional support animals) are not allowed. Documented service animals are allowed on the train; we recommend booking in the Arvonia passenger car (specifically tables 2, 3, 8, or 9) as it allows a close location for a service dog to rest.

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.
  • It is illegal to access private railroad property anywhere other than a designated pedestrian or roadway crossing. For everyone’s safety, keep off the tracks at all times.
  • Prior written authorization is required for all commercial filming, no matter the size of the crew or the type of equipment.

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 4:00pm Monday through Friday and can be reached by calling 434-391-9772. Our booking agents are able to assist in making alterations to already made reservations, reschedule an existing reservation, or answer any questions that may not be included in our FAQ’s. We highly encourage you to make your initial reservations online by clicking our “Book Now” button in the top right of the page.

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.