North Carolina's Tweetsie narrow gauge debuts flatcar

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ET&WNC 4-6-0 No. 12 pulls a flatcar for the first time along with a former East Broad Top coach to create Tweetsie Railroad's first mixed train.
Kevin Gilliam
BOONE, N.C. — A little bit of history was made this weekend at the Tweetsie Railroad near Boone, N.C. For the first time since the early 1940s, a narrow gauge mixed train operated in North Carolina.

For those that don't know the story of North Carolina's narrow gauge, the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina originally operated from Johnson City, Tenn., to Boone, N.C. After disastrous flooding in 1940, the Cranberry to Boone segment was abandoned, and then all of the narrow gauge was abandoned in 1950 leaving only about 10 miles of standard gauge tracks from Johnson City to Elizabethton, Tenn.

In 1957, the Tweetsie Railroad acquired the last surviving ET&WNC narrow gauge 4-6-0, and started operations on a tourist railroad near Boone, although not on the ET right of way. That expanded over the years to what is today's Tweetsie Railroad.

Railroad Heritage Weekend usually features something of interest, and has included backdating the engines to correct livery, and also an annual "photo special" with a few runbys for the fans.

This year, for the first time ever, a Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge flat car purchased from the Alexander Chapter NRHS was added to the consist. Originally a part of the Lindsey Ashby collection from the Georgetown Loop in Colorado, the car was refurbished and lettered ET&WNC. The idea was dreamed up by Alexander Chapter President Matt Bumgarner, and came to fruition through the cooperation of Jesse Hoyle and the Tweetsie Railroad staff. Also part of the consist was a former East Broad Top passenger car, which was identical to the ET&WNC passenger equipment.

Both ET&WC 12 and White Pass & Yukon 2-8-2 190 both got a chance to pull the special train over the course of the weekend.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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