I've been on this train every year since 2009.....it continues to delight and amaze all my guests. A beautiful ride and a historic one....to realize that workers lived down at the Blue Heron Mine and you can visualize how they lived thru the numerous "ghost" buildings that dot the landscape.
If you have never been to this area of Kentucky (or this region), you are in for a treat. The trees are huge, creeks numerous, and rock formations rival those out west. You will get to see all this on your ride down to the mine and back. The ecosystem in this area is rare and thankfully is coming back since the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area was formed in the 1970's. Previously, most of this land was over-logged and over-mined.
Once the train arrives at the Blue Heron mine, you have plenty of time to view the "ghost" buildings and don't miss a walk over the trestle, which spans the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. There are amazing views from there, regardless of season. There is a snack bar, restrooms and a gift shop.
If you visit in the summer, be prepared for larger crowds, especially on the weekends. Spring and fall are especially lovely times to go, but you may need reservations in the fall, when the leaf peepers are in abundance.
I highly recommend this trip for singles, couples, or families. You can just enjoy the train ride, or get as involved as you like in the history of mining and how the coal miners and their families lived. It was a tough life, and one that most of us can't even fathom, even just a few decades later.