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Tweetsie’s Railfan Weekend



Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
Tweetsie’s Railfan Weekend

Tweetsie’s Railfan Weekend returns to the High Country this weekend, offering train enthusiasts
young and old a chance to observe, up close and personal, the theme park’s historic steam
locomotives.

Photo by Jeff Eason



Take a journey back in time to the golden era of steam locomotives, as Tweetsie Railroad hosts the seventh annual Railfan Weekend, Sept. 10 and 11.

Railfans young and old will have the opportunity to observe up close the operation of Tweetsie’s historic steam locomotives and learn about their historic past.

The highlight of the weekend will be comprised of the historic original locomotive No. 12, pulling the 1870s vintage coach car on non-stop trips around the mountain, recreating the historic track of the narrow-gauge East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad.

This exclusive train trip will be running Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, while the No. 190 locomotive pulls a separate train taking riders on a Wild West adventure. On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, Tweetsie will showcase a doubleheader, with locomotive’s No. 12 and No. 190 working together to pull the train on the Wild West train ride.

Railfans will be escorted on tours of the famous Tweetsie Railroad Train Shop, where steam locomotives from across the nation are repaired and restored. The Tweetsie Train Shop staff is the best in the business and strives to keep historic locomotives in top condition. In addition, Railfan Weekend pass holders will have the opportunity to explore the special memorabilia room, which will showcase many rare artifacts from Tweetsie’s past and feature documentaries covering Tweetsie’s historic past. Last year marked the golden anniversary for Tweetsie’s historic locomotive No. 190, also known as the “Yukon Queen.”

Tweetsie is offering a special Railfan Weekend price for both days of railroad entertainment: $48 for adults and $33 for children ages 3 through 12. This includes two fun-filled days at the park with unlimited train rides. Shop tours, historic documentaries, memorabilia room, photo-specials and a chance to ride in the cab of one of the locomotives are all included in Railfan weekend. Only guests with a Railfan Weekend pass will be allowed to be a part of these exclusive opportunities.

Tweetsie’s history goes well beyond 1957, when the park opened to the public. The original “Tweetsie” was known as the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) Railroad. The line began service in 1881 from Johnson City, Tenn., to Cranberry, N.C.

Eventually, the railroad expanded the line to Boone in 1919. Service to Boone continued until a flood in 1940 destroyed most of the tracks. By 1950, the remaining narrow gauge portion of the line was abandoned.

The railroad gained its familiar nickname, “Tweetsie,” from the sound of the whistles as they echoed off the mountains. The railroad’s sole surviving steam locomotive, engine No. 12, was purchased by Tweetsie Railroad in 1956, and North Carolina’s first theme park opened July 4, 1957.

Engine No. 190, the “Yukon Queen,” joined No. 12 in 1960 after being purchased from the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Alaska, where it had served the U.S. Army’s 770th Railway Operating Battalion during World War II.

Tweetsie Railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Daily admission is $34 for adults and $22 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Tweetsie Railroad is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 30. The park’s daytime hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. during the Ghost Train Halloween Festival.

For more information about Railfan Weekend and Tweetsie’s 2011 season, or to purchase tickets, visit tweetsie.com or call (877) TWEETSIE. Find Tweetsie on Facebook or follow Tweetsie on Twitter @TweetsieRR.

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