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Carter Railroad Museum’s May Heritage Day features modern trains

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JOHNSON CITY (May 22, 2013) — East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum will hold its free May Heritage Day on Saturday, May 25, when the museum will present “Here to Stay,” with displays devoted to currently operating North American railroad systems and equipment.

While the continent once featured numerous railroad companies, today a handful of “super railroads” handle the majority of rail service. Increased horsepower coupled with responsible environmental changes make today’s trains some of the most impressive in history. Freight cars have far more capacity than in the past, while passenger travel is reviving.

Members of the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMRR) club and the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society will be on hand to assist with the displays.

Geoff Stunkard, coordinator of the Heritage Day program, says, “The Carter Railroad Museum’s mission is mainly historical, but we use this annual program to showcase what modern railroading looks like. Since May 7 is National Train Day, what better time for a Heritage Day devoted to where we are instead of where we have been?”   

Model trains representing Amtrak and local lines CSX and Norfolk Southern will be operating on the MEMRR club’s large HO layout. On display will be information on modern lines and Operation Lifesaver, and a photo tribute to the Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF Railway), which will demonstrate through original publicity photos the revolutionary changes that led to the modern age.

The Carter Railroad Museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. The museum can be identified by a flashing railroad crossing signal over the back entrance to the Campus Center Building at 100 Ross Drive.

The museum includes model railroad layouts and a children’s activity room. In addition, museum volunteers are asking the public for artifacts for the museum’s newest addition, dedicated to the “Tweetsie” line, officially known as the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad. The room is still under construction, but guided tours of the room will be offered on Heritage Day.

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

The 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.