Carter Railroad Museum’s August Heritage Day heads to the Midwest


JOHNSON CITY (August 21, 2013) — East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum will hold its free August Heritage Day on Saturday, Aug. 31, when the museum presents “Midwestern Movers: North, South, East and West across the Heartland.”

Rail traffic through the Midwest was shaped by three factors: land-based transfer was needed due to cargo moving on the Great Lakes, as well as mighty rivers like the Mississippi and Ohio; an abundance of level ground, making large industrial operations possible; and an expanding population as people left the crowded Northeast in search of better opportunities.

As a result of this expansion, nearly every town or hamlet had at least one railroad passing through. Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Milwaukee were the major hubs for this traffic.

“There is so much to cover when we look at this important part of the nation’s rail heritage that we may actually have bitten off a little too much,” says Geoff Stunkard, the coordinator of the museum’s Heritage Days program. “The number of rail lines was staggering, and the competition was intense. Once the highway system became viable, there were many redundant rail corridors that have since disappeared, but we will showcase some spectacular variety on what was, and is, Midwestern railroading.”

Members of the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMRR) club and the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society are coordinating the program. Member Bob Jones, a Midwest native, will have multiple streamliners running on the large HO scale layout, one of four model lines housed in the museum. A display of original Chicago Rail Fair material will fill the museum’s showcases.

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 and Western North Carolina Railroad. The room is still under construction, but guided tours of the room will be offered on Heritage Day.

For online information about the museum, visit

 The MEMRR club works in conjunction with the museum to demonstrate and maintain the model layouts, museum exhibits and other projects. Visit 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 or .

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