Autumn Colors Express Excursion Postponed to 2022

Passengers enjoy the view from the 2019 Autumn Colors Express. Photo by Nick Benson/Autumn Colors Express. 

Autumn Colors Express Excursion Postponed to 2022

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The organizers of the Autumn Colors Express through West Virginia’s scenic New River Gorge have decided to postpone the 2021 edition of the train, which was set to run over four days next month. The decision to postpone the trip to next year comes as West Virginia experiences one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

This is the second year in a row that the train’s organizer, Rail Excursion Management Company (Railexco), has had to postpone the excursion due to the pandemic.

“An overwhelming number of customers have expressed concern about this year’s event. The current surge in COVID-19 cases in West Virginia has local hospitals operating at emergency levels, making postponement our best and only option this year,” said Railexco CEO Adam Auxier. “We’re grateful to our partners at Amtrak and in the region for the support and understanding.”

Current ticket holders will automatically be transferred to equivalent dates in October 2022. Questions about tickets, credits, or refunds can be directed to info@railexco.com.

An excursion through the New River Gorge has run almost every year for more than a half-century 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 in 2019 by Railexco.

Local officials in Hinton, W.V., where a railroad festival is set to take place during the trips, are evaluating the situation as well. 

“We are extremely disappointed in the situation we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has worsened and we understand why Rail Excursion Management, in cooperation with our event organizers, has chosen to postpone the 2021 Autumn Colors excursion,” said City of Hinton Mayor Jack Scott. “The Hinton Railroad Days Committee is evaluating the situation currently to determine if a smaller event or a two-day event makes sense for our vendors. We have worked diligently since the spring to organize the event and again are disappointed but support our partner’s difficult decision.”

The excursion is not the only event that will be impacted that weekend. The ride usually happens the same weekend as Bridge Day, where base jumpers dive off the New River Gorge Bridge. Earlier this week, the group that coordinates announced that they would not be partaking in the event because of concerns about COVID-19.

This article was posted on: September 23, 2021