What is the difference in Coach, Premium and Lounge Seating?
Passengers enjoy padded bench seating while riding in coach. Each seat has an excellent view of the countryside through the windows with the availability of seating for 80 people per car. Premium (Americus Car) seating offers passengers tables and chairs for two or four guests. Complimentary snack mix is on each table and each ticket includes a free beverage from the concession car. We also have a lounge car (Samuel Hawkins Car) with both tables & chair and leather couches. Hawkins tickets include a meal ticket for the concession car which includes a drink, chips and a hot dog or Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
How should I dress for the trip?
All cars are climate-controlled for your enjoyment. Since some shoes could get caught in select areas of the train, we ask that you do not wear high heels, flip flops or sandals without a strap. Tennis shoes or closed-toe shoes are safest. While the train does have air conditioning, you should dress in layers to ensure that you are not too warm or too cold. Rain gear is suggested since the train runs rain-or-shine.
Are restrooms available?
Yes, there are restrooms on the train, the depot in Cordele and all of the communities. Georgia Veterans State Park now has a train depot with restrooms.
Can I bring food or drink?
Outside food and beverages as well as ice chest/coolers are not allowed aboard the SAM Shortline Excursion Train. The Leslie commissary car offers a wide selection of snacks and lunch items such as hot dogs and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, hot and cold beverages, juices, nachos, popcorn and ice cream for purchase. During layovers in Americus and Plains, several restaurants serve passengers as well. (Special dietary needs should be addressed with our Reservations staff prior to arrival.)
Can I walk between cars while the train is moving?
When coach seats are purchased, reserved seating is not included. If the train is not filled to capacity, riders are usually free to explore the different coach cars. Premium cars are restricted to those ticketed passengers, though coach passengers are encouraged to ask a car host for a tour of the Americus and Hawkins cars during layovers. Photos of Passenger Cars
How accessible is the train?
The SAM Shortline is a vintage train; therefore, accessibility is limited. Passengers in wheelchairs may use the wheelchair lifts at each boarding platform. This will allow wheelchair-bound passengers to board and detrain. While the space between seats is limited, parts of the aisles on three cars are accessible, as well as three bathrooms. Passengers needing assistance should make us aware of their needs and plans when making a reservation. We also have a wheelchair on the train for guests with walking restrictions. Please note that the vintage Americus and Hawkins cars are not wheelchair accessible. Coach cars have wheelchair spaces.
The City of Americus offers wheelchair accessible transportation only when possible. This is a courtesy offered by the City and they must meet their state requirements with this vehicle first. Every effort will be made to meet your needs. Please inform your agent of your needs when you make your reservations.
Are pets allowed?
Pets are not allowed aboard the train. ADA service animals are allowed.
Who operates the train?
The SAM Shortline is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under the guidance of the Southwest Georgia Railroad Excursion Authority.
Management is provided by staff at the Depot in Cordele located at 105 East 9th Avenue. While the cars are owned by the Excursion Authority, the engine is owned and operated by the Heart of Georgia Railroad Company.
What if I can not come on the ride and need to cancel?
Tickets are non-refundable. Passengers may call 72 hours in advance of ride date to transfer to a different ride date, upon availability.
Why is the train named SAM Shortline?
The train tracks that ran from Savannah to Alabama were used by the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railroad Company during the 1880s, headed by Colonel Samuel Hugh Hawkins of Americus. Many towns along the tracks were born from the railroad, so it was appropriate to name this new excursion train in honor of the original railroad and its leader.
What’s the history of the train?
Click here for a brief history.