Southwest Georgia Sam Shortline Train Ride

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Experience an adventurous passenger train excursion in southwest Georgia on the Sam Shortline Excursion Train.

Even though we enjoyed our ride during the Christmas season, The Sam Shortline runs year round with a variety of different excursions to choose from.

Santa hats for everone
Inside the passenger car. Santa hat for everyone!

The Sam Shortline is an impressive and entertaining day trip train ride. The adventure begins at Veterans State Park in Cordele Ga.

Along the journey of the hour and a half ride you will experience the rural Georgia countryside. There are majestic farm fields, pecan and peach tree orchards. Our trip was during the cotton crop season. The cotton fields are beautiful in full bloom just before harvest begins in late fall or early winter.

Visit Plains, Ga. Home of President Jimmy Carter

The ride took us across Lake Blackshear with an hour stop in Plains, Ga. Plains is the home of President Jimmy Carter. The locals pull out all the stops to entertain the passengers from the Sam Shortline during their visit to Plains. We were there for the Christmas Excursion ride so we enjoyed the Christmas decorations in Plains. All of the downtown shops were open and in walking distance from the train depot.

There was a giant firepot in the downtown park, with a nice big fire for roasting the provided marshmallows! We enjoyed such a warm and welcome spirit on our tour of Plains. Some of the downtown businesses post the schedule for dates that President Carter will be teaching Sunday School. We were told that he sometimes shows up to greet visitor s from the Sam Shortline.

Christmas in Plains
Christmas in Plains, Ga. 2013
Photo Courtesy of Sue Turner Chambliss

The Sam Shortline has many adventurous train rides throughout the year. The passenger cars are 1949 vintage. Well informed Volunteers  accommodate the passengers during the ride. There is a commissary car with limited food and beverages available for purchase as well as souvenirs. Once the ride begins the Conductor makes announcements including encouraging passengers to walk between cars and explore the train.  It is perfectly safe to walk between cars as there is not an open space between the cars. There are volunteers posted at each car door to assist with the transition as well.

Thomas the Train makes an appearance in the fall. We were told this is a very popular excursion so get your tickets early!
Thomas the Train
Photo courtesy of

Some of the excursions on the calendar include; Valentines Excursion, Peanut Express, Americus Adventure, Conductor’s Favorites as well as several more. In early fall, Sam become Thomas the Train! You can view the entire schedule here.

Sam Shortline Excursion

Our trip on the Sam Shortline during the Christmas season was so much fun. I can’t believe we waited to so long to do this!

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  1. I’ve never heard of anything like this. If it includes Santa hats it has to be good! I bet those older vintage trains are so pretty. I had no idea that cotton was such a late crop. A lot of fun facts here!

    1. Yes, the cotton crops were just harvested a couple of weeks ago. Some may have come in a little earlier. I hope there is something like this where you live, so much fun to do! One of the volunteers told us the history of the train car we were on, really cool! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. My hometown is Rochelle, GA, just a skip and a hop from Cordele. You are bringing back so many memories for me and making me a little homesick. 🙂

We enjoying hearing from you!