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Wow - what a trip! A week of trains: from Virginia, to North Carolina, to Tennessee, to West Virginia, finally ending up in Pennsylvania.
Doug Matheson had started planning this trip over two years ago and it finally came together. Great weather, great friends, and great times!
Saturday, Doug and Gaétan Charette drove down to my place where we had a chance to operate a bit on the J&B.

There was also time to relax; each of us enjoyed our favorite beverage.

Doug created some switching problems for me; unfortunately, I failed all the tests. ;)" border=0>
Sunday dawned and we were off to North Carolina. Road Trip!

We stopped over at Matt Browns and ran a bit on the Slate Creek.

On Monday we went over to the North Carolina Transportation Museum, home of the Spencer Shops. They have a nice collection there, but the highlight of our visit was being able to crawl over ET&WNC Combine #15. We spent well over an hour inside and out. The combine is in very rough condition, but it is being restored; we really enjoyed viewing this historical treasure.

You can just imagine taking a trip on this beauty...well, maybe a few decades back.


We headed down to the roundhouse, but before we got there, Ric and Jan Golding arrived.

The roundhouse has a neat collection of locomotives and lots of other exhibits.

Ric, Jan, and Gaétan finished off the visit with a cab ride; and of course we needed our obligatory picture at the historical marker.

Tuesday we first visited the Cradle of Forestry; an unlikely spot for a railroad itinerary. But here we first found a portable sawmill.

Just beyond that was the Climax that looks a LOT like the Bachmann model.

Next we met Matt over at the Doe River Gorge, along the route of the ET&WNC. Matt had arranged a speeder ride for us along the original right of way and we started at tunnel #2 and traveled past tunnel #3.

We stopped at historic Pardee point and shot many pictures.

The track is rough in spots, but was quite a ride. The speeder was electric, so it was fairly quiet and our guide provided lots of historical background. But, there came a time when we had to leave the speeder and go on foot. Rocks cover the track and they really don't have the funds to clear them.

But, our foot travel was stopped by a bridge that sure didn't look safe enough to walk on.

Before we left Boone on Wednesday, we went over to see Tweetsie. Tim Smith was the engineer for the day and we got lots of pictures of #12.


After our brief visit, we started the long drive to Cass, WV. That evening, we went over to Durbin to view the equipment on display.

Thursday was our day at Cass and we had a nice ride up to Bald Knob on #6. They had 6 engines steamed up that day: 5 Shays, and one Heisler. We also got a great shop tour.

Friday, we left Cass and headed up to Altoona. We visited the Horseshoe Curve and in our short time there saw 6 neat trains. The viewing platform is quite close to the trains.

Saturday morning we headed over to the East Broad Top for our final Narrow Gauge stop.
Naturally, I had to get some pictures of the steel boxcars there.

It's a wonderful area to just wander around and explore.

#15 was old but ran just fine.
 

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Cool pictures Bruce. I am hopeful that I will be moving back there in the future and will be able to see those places for myself.
 

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Gaetan and I arrived home late last night ... it was truly an amazing week filled with steam and especially ng steam. Great weather ... magnificant trains in magnificent settings ... and most importantly, great friends sharing good times together.

I can only add a few comments to Bruce's travelogue in pics ...

First it is amazing to me that people as far apart geographically as the five of us (Ric Golding, Matt Brown, Bruce Chandler, Gaetan Charette and myself) could meet via MLS and become such good friends.

Next ... there is an absolutely amazing amount of steam operating out there and in our case narrow gauge steam. We saw also a huge amount of preserved equipment - some in wonderful condition with seemingly adequate financing and others in less fortunate situations. There is no reason to think that with proper care, the preservation of artifacts of America's industrial past cannot be achieved.

Last, the Doe River Gorge is one of the best kept scenic secrets in America. This very scenic gorge along the old ROW of the ET&WNC ng line is now on "private" property as it belongs to a Christian summer camp. Our speeder ride through the old tunnels and along Pardee Point with a "guide" from the camp was for me a highlight of the trip - just an incredible experience in an incredible natural setting.

Bruce also did not mention that we took an afternoon away from trains to visit the Greenbank Telescope ... it is located not far from Cass WV. It is an amazing facility well worth the time to visit ... highly recommended.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Jan and I had a chance to explore the ET&WNC right of way back in 2003. We were able to walk a bit of the Doe River Gorge then. The Doe River Christian Youth Camp has been expanding their tours of the old right of way and has received a generous gift of a battery operated speeder and cart that allows small groups to explore scenery that is basically unchanged from the times of Pardee's investment in the hills of East Tennessee. Our guide, Mark, carried a magnet with him and used it to point out ore that is not native to the terrain at Pardee's Point and had to be in the area because it fell off the old railroad cars as they made their way to the smelter.

Great trip and creating more great memories. Wonderful friendships and just beautiful country side.
 

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Bruce,

A thoroughly interesting and enjoyable set of pics. I sure would think the roundhouse is an interesting place to visit, you certainly did have a great time it seems. It is a pity that the line is cash strapped and cannot proceed further but maybe it will in the near future.
Thats an advantage of a small county like the UK: a Heritage Railroad is never far away from volunteers and supporters.
 

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The gorge was a fantastic bit of scenery ... a pleasnat summer campground with a hill toward one side; kids ziplining from the hilltop to a swimming pool ... but look closely and narrow gauge tracks enter the hill in a tunnel. The speeder we rode broke through the short tunnel and voila it was another world

It was pretty special to ride through the gorge on a speeder, to stop at Pardee Point and see the fabled sites of Tweetsie lore. The video shows the scenes looking the same today as they did a century ago. And that gorge is just as steep!

Regards ... Doug
 

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Bruce and company,
What an enjoyable presentation of your trip. I felt like I was there tagging along with you all. Thank you for "taking" me there.
Rudy Allarde
 

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Bruce, thanks for the "tour". I just came across this thread and surely enjoyed the "run" with you. Wish we were closer to have come along on the trip...

Marty's is the next big 'bash after our Club swap meet on August 9th here in Preskit....

Thanks again...
 
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