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Short line railroading featured at museum's Heritage Day

staff report • Feb 20, 2013 at 8:36 AM

East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum will present “Mixed Train Daily: Short Lines and Industrial Railroading” during hold its February Heritage Day on Saturday, Feb. 23.

The event recognizes the small- and medium-sized rail operations that reached into the corners of America for commerce or for a specific industry. A “mixed train” combined freight and passenger service in a single unit, usually on a daily basis or at least on a regular schedule. The advent of better roads and personal automobile ownership after World War II brought an end to many such trains.

“Many people feel a sense of local pride in short line railroads, since they were considered ‘our train.’ We hope to give visitors an impression of the way these railroads operated,” said Geoff Stunkard, coordinator of the museum’s Heritage Days program.

In addition to a representation of mixed operations on the museum’s 24x44 HO scale layout, there will be demonstrations of the unique steam engines sometimes called upon when tracks had severe curvature or gradients. A photo display will show the Buffalo Creek & Gauley, a West Virginia-based steam logging and mining operation that ran until 1963.

The Carter Railroad Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays. Admission is free. The museum can be identified by a flashing railroad crossing signal over the back entrance to the Campus Center Building. Visitors should enter ETSU’s campus from State of Franklin Road onto John Robert Bell Drive and turn left onto Ross Drive.

The museum includes a children’s activity room, a growing research library, a National Railway Historical Society chapter, docent opportunities and an oral history archive being established as part of the museum’s programs.

Information can be found online at http://johnsonsdepot.com/glcarter/cartermuseum.htm.

The Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMRR) club works in conjunction with the museum to demonstrate and maintain the model layouts, museum exhibits and other projects. Visit www.memrr.org to learn more about the group.

For more information about the event or special assistance for those with disabilities, call Dr. Fred Alsop, the museum’s director, at (423) 439-6838.

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