Do you love the sound of steam locomotives and enjoy the excitement that visitors feel when they board historic trains for the first time? Then explore the Railway Heritage Tourism Management minor developed by the Center for Railway Tourism in cooperation with the Division of Business and Entrepreneurship. While most students pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in management, the minor is appropriate for others as well, including those majoring in history, English, hospitality and tourism management and other fields.
Because our program is linked to the Center, there are unique opportunities not found at any other institution in the U.S. including classroom and field experiences which encourage a career in railway heritage preservation and tourism management; work experiences through internships in the railway heritage and tourism industry, such as steam locomotive restoration and operation and accounting for rail heritage non-profits; occasional one-day externships to experience heritage sites; multi-disciplinary exposure to railway heritage preservation and assistance in securing employment in the railway tourism industry upon graduation.
Students also benefit from our location. Elkins, West Virginia is home of the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, a highly regarded excursion operation that draws approximately 45,000 visitors each year; the West Virginia Railroad Museum, devoted to exploring the industry's impact on the community, the region and the state; and Allegheny Highlands (Rail) Trail, a 26-mile hiking and biking route through the surrounding mountains along what was once the Western Maryland Railway's route for hauling coal and timber from the region; and a vibrant community of model railroad enthusiasts.
Other significant railway heritage operations in the region include Cass Scenic Railroad, Potomac Eagle and Western Maryland Scenic Railroad excursions, the B&O Railroad Museum in Oakland, Maryland, and the 77-mile Greenbrier and 72-mile North Bend rail trails. In all, West Virginia is home to 63 rail trails.