Some of the town of Goshen’s approximately 351 residents and several spectators, including media from as far as Harrisonburg, turned out to see the test run of the Virginia Museum of Transportation’s 1950 Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611, the Shenandoah Valley Limited, last Thursday morning.
“Today is the beginning of a great opportunity for the town of Goshen,” said Steve Bickley, vice mayor and chairman of the Planning Commission. He explained that the Buckingham Branch Railroad of the Virginia Museum of Transportation and Mr. Will Harris (VMT Board president) presented the town with the opportunity to have the 611 train depart from Goshen’s Victoria Station.
“We’re real excited about it and are hoping the town can turn this opportunity into something really good,” said Bickley. Beginning, next Friday, Oct. 6th, the SVL will depart Goshen at 9:00 a.m., returning between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.; and again around 2:30 p.m., returning between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. These sold-out trips will be carrying a group of 600, each trip, and the town is hoping to reap economic benefits from having 1,500 to 2,000 people a day in the town, including spectators. “That’s a lot of folks for a small town like this with no stoplights,” added Bickley.
“Our goal is to have people linger here, in Goshen,” said Bickley. The Town plans to display welcome signs and the Rescue Squad will be offering breakfast, starting at 7:30 a.m. and lunch, beginning at noon. “There will also be an area for spectators that want to watch the trains go by,” said Delores Hinkle, president of the Goshen Rescue Squad.
Gerald Sampson, local business owner, will have a setup outside of his Goshen Country Store when the train is running. Vendors will also be set up, offering baked and craft goods and flea market finds. Other points of interest in Goshen include BG’s 2 Restaurant, Goshen Convenience, Millcreek Produce, Goshen Pass, a Historic Iron Bridge, and a World War II Memorial. “There is a lot to do right around here and also in other areas of Rockbridge County,” said Bickley.
“We are hoping to have some good old-fashioned traffic jams in downtown Goshen,” said Tom McCraw, mayor. “This should help put Goshen back on the map a good bit,” he added.
“The opportunities are well within reach, and I think we can get Goshen back to where it used to be. We’re going to do it, no ifs, ands, and buts, about it,” said McCraw in conclusion.
Goshen will also be holding their annual Fall Festival on Oct. 28th from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. They are excited that this event will happen during the excursion weekends. Vendors are welcome.
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