By Railfan & Railroad Staff
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — For the first time since the 1970s, there will be no autumn excursions through West Virginia’s New River Gorge this October. On July 20, Railexco announced that it was postponing this year’s Autumn Colors Express scheduled for Oct. 21 – 24 after the state’s governor announced limits on large gatherings in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Trip organizers have said they plan on running the train again in October 2021.
The train has run almost every year for more than a half-century (although it was canceled a few times in the 1970s due to equipment shortages) and has become one of the last annual main line excursions in the United States. The excursion was managed by the Collis P. Huntington Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society until 2018 and then revived last year by Railexco, a passenger charter management company.
“We’re saddened by the postponement of this great event, and can’t wait to get back on the rails as soon as possible,” said Railexco Marketing Officer Lou Capwell. “Celebrating our great partner cities of Huntington, Charleston and Hinton with this event is a huge part of our season and this fall won’t be the same without visiting all of our friends in West Virginia.”
The organizers were also planning on selling tickets on the equipment move from Chicago to Cincinnati a few days before the Autumn Colors Express. That has also been postponed.