The popular tribute to steam locomotives – “Steam Up!” – will return to East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum during Heritage Day on Saturday, March 31.
From Thomas the Tank Engine to the legendary Union Pacific Big Boys, Heritage Day will highlight these miniature machines in action. Sometimes referred to as “iron horses,” steam engines had a sound, smell and appearance of their own, brought to life by pressured water vapor that could move tons of equipment. With side rodding churning, drive wheels turning and fuel burning, this form of locomotion continues to fascinate children and adults alike.
“It has been stated that the business of railroading lost some of its soul when steam locomotives disappeared,” notes Geoff Stunkard, coordinator of the museum’s Heritage Days program. “They were perhaps the most magnificent creations of the industrial age and were in large measure responsible for the success of the growing nation. This day honors the technology in this realm, with our museum spanning primarily the 1900-1950 era, when it reached its pinnacle of design.”
Recent equipment upgrades to the Carter Railroad Museum’s layouts will also be on display, including the Rolling Thunder sound system added to the 24×48-foot HO-scale layout.
Volunteers from the Mountain Empire Model Railroad club (MEMRR) and the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society will be on hand to operate equipment and meet with visitors.
Located in the Campus Center Building at ETSU, the Carter Railroad Museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and includes model railroad layouts, a children’s activity room, and ongoing programs. Heritage Day is held the last Saturday of each month. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome.
The museum is also seeking artifacts for display, including the newest addition dedicated to the “Tweetsie” line, the ET&WNC, which will be open for guided tours during event days. In addition to the displays, there is a growing research library, and an oral history archive being established as part of the museum’s programs. For more information, visit www.etsu.edu/railroad. Members of the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and MEMRR coordinate the exhibits. For more information, visit www.memrr.org or www.glcarternrhs.com.
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 at 423-439-6838 or email@example.com. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.