The Heber Valley Historic Railroad dates back to 1899 when trains served the pioneers who first settled the valley. Now a non- profit organization, the railroad's vintage coaches are pulled by two 1907 Baldwin steam locomotives or three vintage diesel electric locomotives. You can ride the rails or choose one of the many themed options, a few of which are highlighted below. Listen to a local band performing old show tunes, or have an authentic chuck wagon dinner while riding the train. Over 95,000 passengers ride the train each year and that number is steadily growing.
The railroad has been featured on TV episodes of "Touched by an Angel" and "Promised Land" and appears in a number of motion pictures. In 1999 the Heber Valley Railroad purchased the "Movie Train". The Steam engine and ten railroad cars have been featured in 33 motion pictures over the past twenty years.
Heber Valley Railroad is located at 450 South 600 West in Heber City, Utah. Heber City is approximately one hour from Salt Lake City, twenty five minutes from Park City, and forty five minutes from Provo. If you're coming from Salt Lake City: take Interstate 80 eastbound to U.S. Highway 40 (Exit No. 146). Go seventeen miles east on U.S. 40 to Heber City, and turn right onto 100 South (third traffic light). Six blocks west, turn left onto 600 West. Continue three and a half blocks south. Park in the large parking lot located across the street from the railroad depot. If you're coming from Provo: take U.S. Highway 189 (University Avenue) northbound, through Provo Canyon, to Heber City. Turn left onto U.S. 40 (Main Street), and turn left again at 100 South. Continue as above.
There are many themed options to choose from at the railroad, some are seasonal. Here are a few:
Raft and Rails - This ride includes a scenic train ride from Heber City into Provo Canyon, then raft the renowned Provo River with experienced guides through Class I and II rapids, visit the famed Sundance Resort for lunch and a return shuttle to the depot. This one is for passengers ages three and older.
Provo Canyon Limited - A relaxing, three-hour ride. With Black Jack Raven and the Soldier Hollow Gang on the loose, ready to rob your train.
The Polar Express - Elves serve hot drinks and treats. There is caroling and a Christmas story and a visit from Santa. First-class passengers get hot cocoa served in a ceramic, Polar Express souvenir mug.
Comedy Murder Mystery - The Chameleons Whodunit Company will entertain you while you try to unravel the mystery. Prizes are awarded to winning detective. Dinner is served aboard the train.
Day Out With Thomas is generally held at the End of May. - This train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine includes a variety of Thomas & Friends themed entertainment, like Storytelling and Video Viewing, temporary tattoos of Island of Sodor friends, and an Imagination Station with Arts & Crafts and more. Meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor.
Tube 'n Train - Combine a train ride to Soldier Hollow where you'll snow tube on a 1,000-foot groomed hill with tow lift service. Fare includes train ride, snow tube, tow lift pass and shuttle transfer. Food options are limited at the tubing hill. Pre-order a delicious boxed lunch or create your own lunch from the snack bar options on the train.
This online reviewer in July 2009 stated, "Full Day we took the Rail Raft with the trip to Sundance -Good Lunch provide with the package. The "box'' lunch they provided was a large, fresh sandwich with chips, cookie, drink. You pick up these box lunches in the food car whenever you're hungry- or wait till the picnic area the train stops at about 12:20pm. The raft trip was a nice easy float down the river, perfect for young kids. Van trip up to Sundance which includes lift ticket) was fun Sundance Ski lift takes 45 minute round trip- then you have time to explore the resort.''
A June 2009 reviewer said, "I don't understand the last review, because many of the complaints are actually things that I like. This is not a luxury cruise. This is a tourist train in Utah. For instance, where is the hurry? You are on the train for fun. It is good it goes slowly. If it went fast, how would you see the scenery, the flora, the fauna? As advertised, the train traverses a single track to Vivian Park and back (16 miles each way), with the engine changing directions. There are also clear signs as of now advertising the six days that they use steam engines. It is diesel on other days. The cars are old (circa 1930, I believe) - that's part of the point. Please don't have too high expectations - this is a small operation, and the trip is enjoyable, and the scenery is nice. My three-year-old really enjoyed being on a train. The service is very friendly, from tickets, to gift shop, to conductor, to snack shop (hot dogs, candy bars, chips, soda, coffee, tea, hot chocolate).
What they do, they do well. I do agree, it would be great to have announcements about the scenery and train history. Then again, it is nice to have the quiet for conversation.''