The entrance to Misty Mountain Model Railroad in Blairsville, Georgia
July 7, 2009 - Lionel Operating Train Society visits Blairsville, Georgia
When it comes to model trains, Union County is considered a world class destination. Every year thousands of people travel to Blairsville, Georgia for one singular purpose. They love model trains and want to see what Blairsville's local 0-gauge train "engineers" have to offer.
The Blairsville area is home to two large collections of 0-gauge trains - Charles Griffin's Misty Mountain Model Railroad Museum located on Town Creek Road, and Jim Steed's Lionel collection, located off of Fortenberry Road. Both are in Union County.
The Lionel® Operating Train Society (L.O.T.S.) recently met in Chattanooga, Tennessee for their annual convention. During the convention, a day long outing was scheduled to Blairsville, Georgia. Over 100 members of this national society traveled to Union County (by tour buses) to enjoy the model trains, beautiful scenery, and friendly hospitality.
Vice President Herb Kern said, "This is our 30th Anniversary Convention and we wanted something really special to offer our members. What could be better than a side trip to Blairsville? You have two avid collectors who love to show off their extensive train lay-outs."
L.O.T.S. Founder Larry Keller explains, "These pins that I am wearing commemorate every city where we have held our conventions. We try to go to different cities but sometimes we go back to the same ones. Our society has over 2000 members. People with us today are from Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, Michigan, Indiana, Canada, and lots of other places."Both of Blairsville's train collections are privately owned.
Misty Mountain Railroad Holiday Tours to benefit Blairsville, Georgia residents
Come see the trains! All money collected during tours of The Misty Mountain Railroad on November 28, 2008 will be donated to the Friends of the Library. These funds will help to purchase furnishings for the new Union County Library addition. Money collected during the December 23rd, 26th, 27th, and 30th tours will go to the Union County Historical Society.
Over 20,000 people visit Misty Mountain 0-Gauge Railroad every year! Groups come by bus from Atlanta and many train enthusiasts drive from across the country to see Charles Griffin's trains.
Griffin 's layout includes a mile of track where twelve trains can run at one time. The miniature world at Misty Mountain Railroad is filled with trains, tracks, roads, buildings, cars, and hundreds of other model figures. The landscape includes streams, mountains, valleys, bridges and realistic murals for added effect.
Visitors to Misty Mountain Railroad actually walk through the working exhibit. Trains run at floor level so that the children can get a good look. It is the perfect place for a family outing (especially during the holidays)!
The Misty Mountain Railroad is free, although a donation is requested of all visitors seventeen and older. Misty Mountain Railroad is located one mile north of Alexander's Store on Town Creek Road in Blairsville, Georgia. Tours begin promptly at 2:00 p.m. For more information call (706) 745-9819.
20,000 people visit Misty Mountain Railroad in Blairsville, Georgia every year
Over 20,000 people visit Misty Mountain 0-Gauge Railroad every year and the number is growing. Groups come from Atlanta and some train enthusiasts drive for hundreds of miles to see Charles Griffin's trains.
Griffin 's layout includes a mile of track where twelve trains run at one time. There is a 55 by 72 foot room full of realistic scenery including roads, buildings, vehicles, and model figures. Natural landscape features such as streams, mountains, valleys, and even the Tallulah Gorge are represented.
Visitors to Misty Mountain Railroad actually walk through the working exhibit. Trains run at floor level so that the children can get a good look. There is lots to see at every turn including Blairsville, Gainesville , Dahlonega, Blue Ridge, Gainesville , historic Atlanta , Stone Mountain, and even Tara from "Gone with the Wind."
Trains chug around Brasstown Bald, enter dark tunnels and cross eloborate bridges. Some haul logs and other carry passengers. It is an amazing site.
Tours start downstairs with a presentation by Griffin . He tells about building the railroad as a hobby. It took a team of three men working full-time for seven years to get it this far. Griffin says, "Misty Mountain Railroad was not intended for the public but is becoming a big attraction." He reminds everyone to look for special features. "Don't miss the Georgia Mountain Fair with working amusement park rides. We added a circus, so it's not exactly correct in every detail. The big tent is an added bonus. "
Griffin adds, "When you get to Brasstown Valley Resort, be sure to notice the golf course. That's Zell Miller on the green." He credits Don Morris and Ken Kluth for their part in building the layout. "I couldn't have done it without them." Griffin also recognizes local artist, Jim Flemming, for painting the backdrop mural that spans the layout room. "The mural really helps bring everything to life. Jim's artwork ties the whole railroad together."
Griffin conducts the electric trains from a sophisticated control panel located off to the side. "Everything can be controlled from right here." Says Griffin .
The North Atlanta Railroad Club recently visited Misty Mountain Railroad. Twenty-five club members and their children met in Blairsville for lunch and then headed over to see the trains. "We really enjoyed the tour. It was well worth the trip."
The Misty Mountain Railroad is free, although a $5 donated is requested of all visitors seventeen and over. The donations go to local charities including the Union County Historical Society.
An award-winning documentary was recently made about the Misty Mountain Railroad and the CD makes a great souvenir. Cameras were mounted on the moving trains to capture the feel of the miniature world.
Misty Mountain Railroad is located one mile north of Alexander's Store on Town Creek Road in Blairsville, Georgia. Tours begin promptly at 2:00 P.M. on most Saturdays. The railroad is also open on Wednesday and Friday during the tourist season. Bookings are available for private tours upon request.