Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 17

C New Life for Steam Locomotives

Country
Roads

VISITORS TO TWEETSIE RAILROAD IN
Blowing Rock, N.C. might glimpse a
non-descript building to the right of
the entrance marked with a "Tweetsie
Railroad Train Shop" sign, but most
have little clue as to its significance or
the secrets it contains.
Almost like Santa's elves' workshop, this train shop boasts a crew of
highly skilled staff who keep Tweetsie's
two steam locomotives (the No. 12
which opened the park in 1957 and
the No. 190 "Yukon Queen" that was
added in 1960) operating efficiently.
They also build parts to repair and
restore steam locomotives from other
theme parks, companies, museums,
zoos and even private collectors.
Dollywood, Busch Gardens, Six Flags,
Disney World, the Cradle of Forestry
and the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Museum are among Tweetsie's
customers.
"We only work on narrow gauge
steam locomotives," says Tweetsie
President Chris Robbins. "The real key
to this shop is the manufacture of new
parts. If a key piece unique to a steam
locomotive needs to be replaced, they
have to make it from scratch."
Preservation is important to
Tweetsie, according to Cathy Robbins
who handles marketing for Tweetsie
while working alongside her husband.
"If we didn't have our steam locomotives, they would probably be scrap
metal now."
Tweetsie's No. 12 locomotive is the
only one of 13 engines from the East
Tennessee and Western North
Carolina Railroad (ET & WNC) that survived. It's now listed on the National
Historic Register, receiving that distinction in 1992.
At any given time, the rail crew is
working on five or six individual steam
WANT TO RIDE TWEETSIE'S TRAINS?

The Park Opens mid-April
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane | Blowing Rock,
NC; 800-526-5740; Tweetsie.com

The staff at Tweetsie Railroad maintain their own trains as well as others.

locomotive projects. Ricky Guy walks
through the 5,000-square-foot rail
shop pointing out some newly restored
wheels for Dollywood's train that are
getting ready to be loaded on a flatbed
truck and delivered back to Pigeon
Forge, Tenn.
A few minutes later, the whistle of
the No. 190 sounds and with a grin
Guy heads from the rail shop back to
the train. The shop crew not only work
on the engines, they also run them
during Tweetsie's open season, which
runs 140 days from mid-April through
November.
"There're only three places in the

country that do this type of repair
work," Guy says as he steps on a pedal
that opens the fire door and tosses in a
shovel full of coal. "Durango,
Colorado; Strasburg, Pennsylvania,
and right here at Tweetsie."
As Guy keeps the fire blazing (he
estimates about 11 shovels full of coal
each three-mile trip around Tweetsie's
loop), David Bradley runs the train. The
engine pulls four cars loaded with visitors. It makes two stops along the way
for an action-packed show complete
with cowboys and Indians, lots of
shooting and humor.

-Marla Hardee Milling
MARCH/APRIL 2014 | 17


http://www.Tweetsie.com

Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
From the Editor / Worth a Click
From the Farm
Digital Help Guide
Creature Feature
The Hike
Mountain Report
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Experience North Georgia
Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 16
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Experience North Georgia
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - ‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover4
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