A Dinner on the Diners event is coming up soon, and railroad enthusiasts won’t want to miss it.
Tickets are on sale now, and organizers say the popular event sold out last year.
Dinner on the Diners will be held June 25 in Jonesborough, and proceeds from ticket sales will help fund the restoration program of the Watauga Valley’s historic rail passenger cars, and to fund new exhibits and educational experiences at the Chuckey Depot Museum.
The museum is housed in the former Southern Railway train depot, which Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum, the town of Jonesborough, and the Heritage Alliance partnered to relocate and preserve.
Experience a bygone era
The highlight of the evening will be an elegant meal in one of the historical society’s vintage dining cars, followed by stories from an authentic Railroad Storyteller. The event also features train songs by the Trunk Monkeys.
The Moultrie dining car reflects the golden years of passenger train travel. Originally owned by Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, it operated between New York City and Miami until 1971. In 1971 Amtrak took over passenger train operations on the ACL and operated it until 1982. Purchased by the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum in 1989, the Moultrie was mechanically upgraded and the interior restored.
The Clinchfield 100 began its long life in 1911 when it was built by the Pullman Company for the ACL as Coach 964. In 1929, it was rebuilt as a dining car and renamed the Orlando. It operated between Washington, DC, and Miami for the next 40 years.
It was purchased in 1951 by the Clinchfield Railroad, headquartered in Erwin, where it was used as an executive car for another 32 years, including service on the locally famous “CSX Santa Train” out of Kingsport. The historical society bought Car 100 in 2013, completely restored it, and renamed it the Clinchfield. In 2019, it once again served as the official Santa car on the Santa Train after a 37-year absence. The Clinchfield 100 just turned 111 years old.
These dining cars will be in the rail yard on static display and will not move.
Both cars were built before the American with Disabilities Act, and due to their historic significance and age, they are exempt from ADA compliance requirements. Dinner on the Diner organizers recommend you consider suitability when ordering tickets.
On the menu
Dinner will be served at 5 pm, 5:45 pm, 7 pm, and 7:45 pm Diners may choose a table for two or four. Parties with fewer than four will be seated with other diners. You must pick a seating time and an entrée option when purchasing tickets. Option 1: Oven fried chicken; Option 2: Spiral sliced ham; Option 3: Vegetarian pasta primavera – a pasta dish made with corkscrew pasta accompanied by garden fresh vegetables – zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes in a butter garlic sauce garnished with parsley and fresh parmesan.
The chicken and ham entrees are served with rosemary roasted potatoes and green beans and served with salad. All meals include your dessert selection from an assortment of cakes.
Due to limited parking at the railyard, all patrons will park at the Jonesborough Senior Center, 307 E. Main St., and be shuttled a short distance to and from the dining cars at no charge. Organizers suggest participants dress casually for comfort while boarding, dining, and listening to the storytelling.
All tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $ 56 per person and are available at the Jonesborough Visitors’ Center, l117 Boone St., or by calling (423) 753-1010, between 9 am and 5 pm Tickets may also be purchased online at www.jonesboroughtn.org.