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North Carolina Transportation Foundation Brings Big Business - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

North Carolina Transportation Foundation Brings Big Business

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A train packed with leaf-peeping tourists rolled into Charlottesville - bringing along a big boost for businesses. More than 1,000 visitors from North Carolina traveled to Charlottesville Saturday.

The region's tourism director expects businesses will experience riches from the rails. The guests were part of the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation.

It's been four years since the group made this kind of a trip - but organizers say it's creating a special interstate relationship for the Charlottesville area.

Saturday's special Amtrak train rolled into Charlottesville shortly after noon, packed with about 1,100 guests from North Carolina ready to step out and start exploring the town.

"Sue's sister is here in Charlottesville so we made a whole family day of it," said visitor George Barne.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomed the leaf-peeping tourists, working to foster a mutually beneficial friendship.

"It's a long standing sort of love affair that the folks in the greater Cary area have, which is outside the Raleigh area in North Carolina, have for Charlottesville. We don't question why they love it, we just welcome that," said CACVB director Kurt Burkhart.

Guests scattered from the station in different directions to personalize their destination trip. Some returning visitors took advantage of what they enjoy most about Charlottesville.

"I like the art and music scene up here. I have a lot of musical friends," Barne said.

"George would say that I would say it's great shopping - love the mall and we had a great lunch and it was fun," said fellow visitor Sue Cunningham.

Organizers say the excursion gives people a chance to experience the city, and hopefully come back for more.

"As they come in a group, they also will come individually and we heard last time folks that came up here after the train visit, they enjoyed it so much and they wanted to come back and bring their friends and family as well," Burkhart said.

The guests got to shop, dine, and explore in Charlottesville for three hours. Organizers say the group brought about $90,000 of business when they visited four years ago.

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