The Branson Scenic Railway is a unique vintage-train experience that takes passengers through the Ozark foothills beginning at the historic 1906 depot in downtown Branson, Missouri. The narrated ride brings the area’s past to life, and also details local wildlife and the railroad’s role in the history of the Ozarks.
Along the 40-mile (64-kilometer) Branson Scenic Railway journey, enjoy a narrated history of the area that will point out landmarks such as Crest Tunnel, Cricket Tunnel, Walnut Creek Trestle, Barren Fork Trestle, and Tharp’s Grade, as well as the abandoned communities of Gretna, Melva, and Ruth as they existed in the 20th century. Choose between a regular narrated excursion or a Dinner Train, which includes a four-course meal. In the lead-up to the holidays, the train transforms into the Polar Express, a holiday-themed excursion popular with families.
Things to Know Before You Go
Train excursions last about 1.75 hours.
Seating is unassigned, but boarding numbers are based on the order in which reservations are made, so it’s a good idea to book early.
Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance for the Dinner Train, which is recommended for passengers over 10 years old.
Dress in layers, as it can be breezy and cool on the outdoor decks.
All trains are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Trains depart from the Branson Scenic Railway Depot in downtown Branson, about 42 miles (68 kilometers) from Springfield, Missouri. Most passengers arrive by car.
When to Get There
The train departs several times throughout the day from March to December. The Dinner Train runs on Saturday evenings from April to October, and the Polar Express runs on select days in November and December.
Welcome Aboard the Ozark Zephyr
Passengers of the Branson Scenic Railway are actually riding the Ozark Zephyr, a vintage, diesel-powered train with restored cars built between the 1930s and the 1960s. There are classic coach seats or seating in one of three dome cars, offering stellar views of the Missouri countryside, including many areas inaccessible by car.