Reporter: Sally Delta
Appomattox, VA - For the first time in about 20 years, a passenger train is going to make a stop in downtown Appomattox.
It's part of the Virginia Autumn Special train excursion and the ride, which will bring tourists from North Carolina, could mean big business for the area.
The North Carolina Transportation Museum has several excursions like this every year. It can bring up to 1,000 tourists to the area. This is the first time Appomattox has been asked to be a destination stop, and locals are thrilled. Some say it's an event that could be as big as the town's fall festival.
"I don't know that we can handle two railroad festivals," said Rhonda Guill, deputy clerk in Appomattox.
Appomattox Deputy Clerk Rhonda Guill says the exhibit train they brought out two years ago was a big hit.
"Just seeing a train sitting here made the community excited, and I think this is just even more excitement just to have a train sitting here," said Guill.
While the train sits, tourists will have the chance to check out the downtown merchants. Country Charm owner Beth Turner likes the sound of that.
"The great thing is all of the local businesses that are downtown on Main Street are locally owned. There are no commercialized businesses downtown," said Turner.
The plan is to have buses ready to shuttle tourists to various destinations. But they'll have only 2.5 hours to do it. The goal in this short visit is to encourage people to come back. Appomattox is confident it will make a good first impression.
"Overall I just think we've got a good group of people here to come meet and greet," said Paul Harvey, mayor of Appomattox.
"The Clover Hill Village or the Courthouse Theater...we have a lot here to offer, and I just think them coming and saying, 'Oh, I want to come back and see that.' That in and of itself is going to bring them back," said Guill.
The first train excursion to Appomattox is scheduled for Saturday, November 3. Some work's also being done to the train tracks to spruce them up for the tourists.
If you'd like to be a volunteer at the event contact Guill at email@example.com or call 434-352-8268.