Hiwassee River Rail Private Excursion Details


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Park at ScaleTrains.com Headquarters 

Hiwassee River Rail Private Excursion Details


We’re looking forward to hosting over 250 guests from 22 states and four (4) countries Thursday, May 30th for the private Hiwassee River Rail Excursion.  Be sure to bring your camera and tag ScaleTrains.com in your social media posts.

This e-blog includes important new information including parking at our facility instead of Polk County High School.  Temperatures are expected to be in the lower 90s so please dress comfortably and drink lots of water.

Our phones will be closed Thursday, May 30th and we will be unable to check e-mail.  To reach us, we have established a special one-day hotline which is noted in the train ride e-mail updates.


Industry Guests

In addition to the ScaleTrains.com crew, several Industry guests* are looking forward to greeting you as well. 

  • World renowned model railroader Pelle Søeborg
  • Cody Grivno from Model Railroader magazine
  • Shane Mason from Railroad Model Craftsman and Model Railroad News magazines
  • James Wright – better known as JLWII2000 on YouTube
  • Bob Olson from Da’Bobs N Scale Mancave YouTube channel
  • Lionel Strang from A Modeler’s Life Podcast
  • Matt Herman from ESU-LokSound
  • Virtual Railfan – livestreaming popular railroad locations
  • Choo Choo City Rails SER Convention Committee
*scheduled to appear; subject to change without notice


Commemorative Ticket

If you purchased your ticket after May 1st, 2019 or are coming from outside the U.S., your ticket(s) will be included in your welcome packet. 

Commemorative tickets are not required for access to ScaleTrains.com or the train.  Please see the registration section below for more information.


Schedule of Events

9:45am – parking opens at ScaleTrains.com headquarters

Note: we will NOT be parking at Polk County High School

10:00am – registration and office/warehouse open

11:15am – last call for warehouse purchases before lunch

11:30am – BBQ Lunch catered by Michael’s Casual Dining in Etowah, TN

Note: our office/warehouse will be locked between 11:30am and noon so our crew may have a break and enjoy lunch with our guests

Noon – office/warehouse reopens

12:45pm – last call for warehouse purchase before the train ride

12:45pm to 1:15pm – Hiwassee River Rail shuttle buses pick-up at ScaleTrains.com

Note: we will board buses by groups denoted on your nametag

1:00pm – office/warehouse close for the train ride

1:30pm – the train promptly leaves Gee Creek at this time

Please note: we are unable to hold the train for late riders; sorry, no refunds for missing the train.  On the return trip, we’ll ask everyone to switch sides so everyone has an opportunity view the scenic Hiwassee River.

5:00pm – train ride ends, and shuttle buses return to Polk County High School; purchases made prior to the train ride can be picked-up at north end of the “big top”

5:15pm – warehouse opens for last minute purchases

5:45pm – last call for warehouse purchases

6:00pm – ScaleTrains.com closes

Please note: all times are Eastern Time (ET).

Benton, TN; Chattanooga, TN; Knoxville, TN; and Atlanta, GA are all in the Eastern time zone.  Birmingham, AL and Nashville, TN are in the Central time zone.


Hotel Accommodations

The Red Roof Inn in Etowah, TN is the closest hotel to our office/warehouse and is clean and comfortable.  To make reservations, call 423-781-7459.

Etowah is the division point on the CSX for the Corbin and Atlanta subs.  The historic depot museum is well worth visiting plus there is a yard where we like to railfan.  In fact, we captured many of the images used to create our Thrall 5750 and 4727 Carbon Black Covered Hoppers on the depot property.



When we travel, we enjoy finding local eateries.  In fact, we recall many of the trade shows we’ve attended by the places where we ate.  Here are our local favorites:

South of Benton

  • Los Poblanos, Ocoee – great Mexican food; Mike likes to eat here when he visits
  • Bear’s Den BBQ (& seafood), Ocoee – for something different, have catfish
  • Ocoee Dam Deli & Diner, Ocoee – their dam sandwiches are tasty
  • Fast food – Sonic, Benton; McDonald’s and Hardee’s, Ocoee

If you’re traveling back to Chattanooga, Cleveland is about half way and has several local restaurants, chains, and fast food places.  Our favorite “greasy spoon” is the Shake Shack on US-64 just before the Cleveland bypass.  Mmm… a bacon cheeseburger and corn fritters.

North of Benton

  • Papa’s Pizza, Delano – pizza and buffet
  • Farm House, Etowah – good ole Southern cooking
  • Michael’s Casual Dining, Etowah – BBQ, sandwiches, steak, and more
  • Fast food – McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Little Caesar’s, Subway – Etowah


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Directions and Parking

Benton is approximately a one-hour drive from downtown Chattanooga.  Our small town is well known for issuing tickets to speeders so be sure to slow down to 40MPH.

Since the weather will be hot and sunny this week, we’ve decided to park at our facility.  Please do NOT park at Polk County High School.

7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN

We have limited handicap placard parking.  For special accommodations, please reserve a space by e-mailing us at Sales@ScaleTrains.com.



When you arrive, please check-in at the blue E-Z Up tent located at the south end of the giant tent behind our building.  Your souvenir ticket is not required.  We’ll have a welcome packet with goodies and name tags for each party.  Inside you’ll also find a $25 gift code redeemable on purchases from June 1st, 2019 through May 31, 2020.

If you purchased two or more tickets, please e-mail Sales@ScaleTrains.com with the names of each person in your group by 5:00pm this Tuesday, May 28th.  Also, if you would like your name tag to list a nickname (i.e. Mike instead of Michael), please let us know as well.  We will be printing nametags Wednesday morning.

We’ll be giving away 10 x $50 gift certificates throughout the day.  Winners will be announced on the PA system and posted on the signboard at the registration table.  These special gift codes are redeemable from June 1st, 2019 through May 31, 2020.  See the gift certificate for terms and conditions.



Michael’s Casual Dining in Etowah will be catering lunch for us.  We’ll be eating outside under the “big top” (the tent is larger than our building!).

Our BBQ feast includes:

  • Pulled Pork
  • Pulled chicken
  • Michael’s homemade BBQ sauce (on the side)
  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato salad
  • Homemade potato chips
  • Banana pudding
  • Brownies
  • Sweet tea
  • Unsweet tea
  • Lemonade
  • Water

If you have special dietary needs, please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing Sales@ScaleTrains.com.  We’ll be happy to work with Michael’s for an alternative menu.

During lunch, we’ll be giving away five (5) x $100 gift certificates.  Winners will be announced on the PA system and posted on the signboard at the registration table too.  These special gift codes are redeemable from June 1st, 2019 through May 31, 2020.  See the gift certificate for terms and conditions.


The History of ScaleTrains.com

During the past five years, we’ve been blessed to create 41 all-new models in nearly 400 different railroad and paint scheme combinations.  All 41 HO and N Scale locomotives, freight cars, and containers will be on display in numerous roadnames and paint scheme variations.

We planned to unveil an all-new HO freight car.  Unfortunately, the model is not quite ready to be shown so we’ll be announcing it at the National Train Show in Salt Lake City, UT this July.


Exclusive Warehouse Sale

Some quantities are limited so arrive early and browse our warehouse for specials only available to you – please, no buying for friends.  This includes unbelievable savings on select in-stock locomotives and freight cars; undecorated locomotives, decorated body shells, bottled paint, and more.  For safety reasons, we can only allow 25 guests in the warehouse at a time.

We’ll be accepting cash and all major credit cards.  PayPal will not be available, and no additional discounts apply.

We will box all purchases and will be happy to hold your order inside our air-conditioned warehouse so it does not sit in a hot car all day.  Orders can be picked-up at the north end of the tent after the train ride.

We’re can also ship your order for just $9.99.  Because of the tremendous savings, we’re unable to offer free ground shipping in the contiguous U.S.


Commemorative Rivet Counter™ Freight Car

The complimentary commemorative Rivet Counter freight car will be shipped to you later this year.  We’ve created a unique Gunderson 5188 Covered Hopper with Choo Choo City Rails and ScaleTrains.com logos in convention colors.  A flyer with artwork will be included in the welcome packet.  This car has a $49.99 retail value.


“Choo Choo City Rails” SER NMRA Convention

Since you’re already in town, join us this Friday, May 31st and Saturday, June 1st for the separate fare SER Convention in Chattanooga, TN.  Activities include clinics, layout tours, operating sessions, and industrial tours (just a few openings available).  Pelle Soeeborg will be the keynote speaker during Saturday evening’s banquet.

NMRA membership is required and is available for just $19.95 with a RailPass.  A RailPass can be purchased during registration.  For more information or to register now, visit ChooChooCityRails.com.


“6-Hours at Dalton”

On Sunday, June 2nd, meet us at the Dalton, GA Depot for “6-Hours at Dalton”.  This is one of our favorite railfan spots because of the number of trains that crisscross the CSX-NS diamond daily.  We’ll be trackside from 11am to 5pm EST.  This FREE event is open to everyone and is sponsored by ScaleTrains.com, Virtual Railfan, and the Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau.



Because of our contractual commitments to the Hiwassee River Rail, Michael’s Catering, tent rental company, shuttle bus provider, and more, cancellations after 5:01pm on Friday, May 24th are non-refundable.


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