HINTON, WV (WVNS) – When you hear that train rolling around the bend in Southern West Virginia, you know it can only mean one thing. Hinton Railroad Days are back.

After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Summers County’s biggest celebration of the year finally makes its return.

The festival celebrates all things Hinton and honors the city’s centuries-old relationship with the railroad. 

We spoke with a Conductor and an Engineer about life on the railroad, and why Hinton is the perfect place to celebrate it.

“Life on the railroad is probably an unusual life. But once you acquire it, it’s hard to get it out of your blood system,” said Conductor Leonard L. Claytor.

“My mom and dad were both railroaders. Both of them worked here in Hinton. I started to work on the railroad here in Hinton. So it’s all part of who we are and where we come from,” Engineer Eric Pack told 59News.

The festival takes place Thursday, October 20, through Sunday, October 23, 2022, on Temple Street in downtown Hinton.

The event gives out-of-towners a chance to learn about Hinton’s unique history, as well as help local businesses, like Botany Tropicals in downtown Hinton, attract new customers.

“Our small business – it’s our lives,” said Botany Tropicals Co-Owner Jordan Casey. “So seeing all these people in town is exciting, and hoping to get them up here and get the word out, and maybe they’ll visit the website or just tell a friend.”

While the festival celebrates Hinton’s past, Claytor and Pack believe the railroad is still very much a part of the town’s future for many years to come.

“You kind of wish that you could read a crystal ball and say that the railroad is going to be here forever, and quite honestly I think it will be,” said Pack. “The capacity is certainly less than it used to be, but it will always be a part of Hinton.”