Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
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
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
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
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.”
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
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,
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.
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.
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