By Clint Parker
Woodfin – A nonprofit train and trolley line has started a fundraising drive to build a depot and passenger platform tying the past to the present. Craggy Mountain Line, a small rail line in Woodfin has launched a drive to raise $200,000 to build a depot for its educational and historic railroad.
The Asheville & Craggy Mountain Railroad was first chartered in 1889 in the area north of Asheville today known as Woodfin. In 1996, the Craggy Mountain Line, a nonprofit company, was formed to preserve a small piece of railroad history. There are about four miles of track and the preservation nonprofit uses part of that to run trolleys from Woodfin Ave near Merrimon Ave down along Beaver Dam Creek across Riverside Drive and through the old Burlington Mills complex to Woodfin’s Riverside Park.
Today, the railroad line operates a trolley ride on Saturdays during part of the year and by appointments, to keep the public in touch with a time when trolleys and trains were a dominant part of transportation for the traveling public. The effort to build a depot and passenger platform that will harken back to time past is a small part of the plan to educate the public about local history.
In addition to the trolley ride, visitors can also explore several railroad cars including several cabooses, a 1935 New York Subway car and a 1950s diesel locomotive. Birthday parties and groups are welcome to schedule events with the organization. The attraction is popular with those who know about the line, already selling out for an upcoming Dinosaur Day event they are holding that will include a replica Jurassic Park Jeep.
People interested in helping can do so by mailing a tax-deductible donation to Craggy Mountain Line, 436 Cedar Lane, Arden, 28704. Just add in the memo line “Depot.” Those who still want to help but are unable to donate are welcome to support the line through trolley rides, charters, memberships and as a volunteer. You can find the Craggy Mountain Line online at craggymountainline.com or by calling 828.808.4877.