Norfolk-Southern’s vintage steam locomotive will once again roll into Oneida with hundreds of passengers in tow this weekend, and the BSF Vintage Train Fest will once again greet the passengers at Oneida City Park.
For the third time since November, Oneida is the ultimate destination for a steam excursion train through Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s partnership with Norfolk-Southern’s 21st Century Steam program.
The excursion train last visited in March.
Unlike March and last November, there will be some differences this weekend. For one, the train will be coming south instead of north. The first two trains visited from Chattanooga; this weekend’s starting point will be Lexington, Ky. For another, this weekend will feature two trips to Oneida — the train will visit on Saturday and Sunday instead of just Sunday. And, finally, this weekend’s trips will represent the largest excursion train yet. Nearly 600 passengers are expected to be aboard the train each day.
In fact, this weekend’s trains will be pulling so many cars that the trains will be unable to be turned on the wye adjacent to the park — the very feature that made Oneida the ultimate destination for Norfolk-Southern in the first place.
When the train last visited in March, the 1904 vintage steam locomotive was undergoing unscheduled repairs and could not make the trip; the train was instead towed by a more modern diesel locomotive. Organizers say that this weekend’s train will be pulled by a steam engine, however.
As has been the case in the past, passengers will once again disembark at Oneida City Park for a two-hour layover while the train is prepared for the return trip to Lexington.
The trains are scheduled to depart Lexington at 8:30 a.m. each day and arrive at the park at around 12 p.m.
The festival at the park will feature arts and crafts vendors, a classic car cruise-in, motorcycle show, live entertainment, wagon rides and other festivities.
Saturday’s classic car cruise-in will begin with registration from 9 a.m. until noon. Cash prizes will be awarded at 2 p.m.
Sunday, the car show will be replaced by a motorcycle show, hosted by Patriot Cycles. Registration will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with cash prizes awarded at 2 p.m.
Entertainment will be provided by Sleepy-Eyed John’s Music and Clogging School on Saturday, and by local bluegrass band Great Day in the Morning on Sunday.
Admission to the festival is free. Classic car and motorcycle registration is offered for a $10 donation. Food offerings will include chicken-and-dumplings, BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade ice cream and more.
Arts and crafts vendor spaces are still available by contacting the Scott County Chamber of Commerce at 423-663-6900.