JOHNSON CITY (December 11, 2012) – East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum will hold its December Heritage Day earlier than usual this month, on Saturday, Dec. 15, when the museum will showcase Norfolk & Western (N&W) Railway operations. The N&W, based in Roanoke, Va., together with the Southern Railway, formed the basis of today’s Norfolk Southern operation.
“There was an old adage that N&W stood for ‘nights and weekends,’ as the Norfolk & Western line was noted for efficiency and fast service, and was non-stop in its day-to-day operations,” says Geoff Stunkard, the museum’s Heritage Days coordinator. “We selected it as the finale to the 2012 Heritage Days series because this railroad has a certain feel about it that seems to go along with the holiday season. It was also the real finale of regular steam operation in America.”
From electrified operations to articulated locomotives and from 19th century struggles to streamlined steam designs, the N&W was respected by its employees and its fans on both Wall Street and Main Street. Operating from the deepest coal regions of Appalachia to Virginia’s tidewater ports and into the Midwest by way of the Ohio River Valley and Columbus, Ohio, the N&W made no excuses and simply worked to get the job done. While other railroads its size converted to diesels, the N&W’s legendary steam program allowed it to stay the course until the end of the 1950s, when a series of acquisitions made it a truly large eastern carrier.
Photo highlights from the N&W and rival sister Virginian RR’s late 1950s operations will be exhibited, as will DVD presentations in the main display hall.
The layouts with both vintage and modern operations in HO and N scales will be operated by volunteers from the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMRR) and the Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
The Carter Railroad Museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is free. The museum can be identified by a flashing railroad crossing signal over the back entrance to the Campus Center Building.
The museum includes 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. In addition, artifacts are being solicited for a new room dedicated to the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad, better known as the “Tweetsie” narrow gauge line. Tours of the room, now under construction, will be given during Heritage Day. Information can be found online at http://johnsonsdepot.com/glcarter/cartermuseum.htm." class='calendartext' onmouseover=this.className='calendartexthilite' onmouseout=this.className='calendartext' target="blank">http://johnsonsdepot.com/glcarter/cartermuseum.htm">http://johnsonsdepot.com/glcarter/cartermuseum.htm.
MEMRR works in conjunction with the museum to demonstrate and maintain the model layouts, 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, contact Dr. Fred Alsop, the museum’s director, at (423) 439-6838.