During the 1940-1970 era, as diesel power rapidly gained acceptance, each railroad company had its own signature identity that came across through colorful paint schemes, unique fonts and memorable slogans. The mighty Santa Fe and New York Central lines, as well as smaller regional carriers like the Interstate and the Central of Georgia each had trains that were instantly recognizable.
Then, consolidation efforts began and rapidly accelerated following the introduction of Amtrak and the large Penn Central and Burlington Northern integrations.
“The term ‘Fallan Flags’ is actually thought to be dated to 1964, when the N&W took over the Wabash, whose slogan had been ‘follow the flag,’” notes Geoff Stunkard, Heritage Day coordinator. “The term came to represent the nostalgia of an industry that underwent much upheaval. Those of us who are fans of railroading enjoy the sense of a simpler era when these companies operated independently, though there was no other choice to solve the issues facing the lines beyond their consolidation.”
During Heritage Day, volunteers from the Mountain Empire Model Railroad club (MEMRR) will be operating the museum’s 24-by-44-foot HO scale layout. Trains will be running on the N scale and HOn3 dioramas as well.
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; donations are welcome.
The museum is also seeking artifacts for display, including the newest addition dedicated to the 'Tweetsie' line, the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad, 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. To learn more, visit www.etsu.edu/railroad. Members of the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and MEMRR coordinate the exhibits. To learn more, 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 protected]