On Saturday, Feb. 25, East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum’s monthly Heritage Day will feature “Little Railroads that Could,” showcasing the short line and industrial-based rail operations of yesterday.
In previous times, a “mixed train” referred to a smaller scheduled train that combined freight and passenger service in a single unit, usually on a once-daily basis. Some served specific industries such as mills or mines. Others, like the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina, or Tweetsie line, used a smaller track-width to save on the cost of equipment and facilities.
“Short line railroading is still alive in some ways, but in its heyday created a true form of civic pride and interest in railroading,” notes event coordinator Geoff Stunkard. “People considered these local operations as ‘our train,’ particularly in East Tennessee, where the Tweetsie narrow gauge once ran into the mountains.”
The day will feature mixed operations on the museum’s 24×44 HO scale layout, trains running on the museum’s interactive logging railroad in G scale and on the Tweetie HOn3 scale. The replication of the Tweetsie railroad has been featured in national publications.
The George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and members of the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMRR) club coordinate the program.
The museum is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. The museum can be identified by a flashing railroad crossing signal at the back entrance to the Campus Center Building. Visitors should enter ETSU’s campus from State of Franklin Road onto Jack Vest Drive and continue east to 176 Ross Drive, adjacent to the flashing RR crossing sign.
For more information about Heritage Day, contact Dr. Fred Alsop, museum director, at 423-439-6838 or email@example.com. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.