Jan. 25—CORDELE — Twenty years ago, the SAM Shortline train made its first public excursion from Cordele to Plains. This year, in addition to the regular excursions to Plains and Archery, the SAM is planning many special trips guaranteed to provide safe, fun adventures.
Special SAM train rides for 2022 include the Murder Mystery Dinner trains, Wine and Cheese tasting trains, Thomas the Tank Engine, and 20th-anniversary specials.
The season kicks off on Feb. 12 with the popular Valentine's Day dinner train. The romantic two-hour ride leaves from Georgia Veterans State Park at 6 p.m. and returns at 8 p.m. The elegant, three-course meal of either prime rib, chicken or vegetarian, includes beverages and is sure to make a fond memory. A train ride-only option is also available, and the concession car will be open and fully stocked.
Other specials planned for 2022 include Wine and Cheese tasting trains in April, July and October; Plains, Trains and Fireworks on July 2; Trips to the Peanut Festival in September, and several holiday trains. This year the Murder Mystery Dinner Trains will depart from Americus in April, June and September. Day Out With Thomas will run for three weekends in June.
All the regular Saturday runs this year will include a stop in Archery, the boyhood home of President Jimmy Carter.
The three vintage private cars that were added to the train last year are available on all the dinner trains and many other excursions.
Again, this year, the train will stop in Americus to provide visitors with a shorter afternoon trip and greater convenience for west Georgia and Alabama residents. Tickets are available at the Americus Visitor Center at 101 West Lamar St.
Thanks to a grant from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust Fund, the exteriors of the train cars have been painted, and work is being done inside to improve the passenger experience.
Staff and volunteers continue their commitment to keeping passengers safe. The train is not being sold to capacity, the commissary car has placed barriers, and the restrooms are cleaned regularly throughout the trip and during layovers.