SLIM RAILS - etwnc - 05-11-14


[ ETWNC Historical Society ]
[ ETWNC Email Group ]

[ ETWNC History - The Flood of 1940 ]
[ ETWNC History - During World War Two ]
[ ETWNC History - Happy 80th to #12! ]

[ Available HO scale Models ]
[ Available O scale Models ]
[ Available G scale Models ]

[ Lettering / Decals ]
[ Structure Paint Schemes ]

[ Plans / Drawings ]
[ Books ]
[ Videos ]
[ Chris Ford's Photos ]
[ Ken Riddle's excellent web site ]
[ Photos from Charlie Bryan - 1996 Heritage Day ]
[ Some of My Photos ]
[ More Photos - from 2001 ]

    The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina is affectionately known as the 'Tweetsie'. Some of the original equipment still delights the locals and sounds its whistle through the hills and valleys near Boone, North Carolina. Since my wife Katy is a native of Charlotte I have adopted the ETWNC as my narrow gauge of choice in the East.

    I took some photos in the summer of '96 at the Tweetsie Theme Park in Boone, NC. A bit rainy, and my light meter pooped out somewhere during my visit. Here's a look at the best of the photos I took.

    Any of you with photos from the last Annual Convention, or old photos that have not appeared in any books? I would be glad to get a copy or print and put them up on this web site for all to enjoy.

Email me if you have some to send at:

---- Combine No. 15 ----

combine 15     Combine 15 is now sitting at Spencer Shops, safe and sound. Contributions for its restoration are welcome - over $6600 donated so far. All correspondence about donations should be directed to:

John Waite
265 Madeline's Park Circle
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Email:John Waite

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Email Group

    There is an email list started by Bob Webber and now hosted by me that corresponds on just about anything that has to do with the ET&WNC. It is on the YahooGroups web site, and subscribing/unsubscribing is handled from there.

Subscribe to Tweetsie (ET&WNC) email list

Messages are sent to once you are signed up.

The traffic goes in spurts, with lulls now and then, but the information is invaluable and usually in great detail and depth.

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ET&WNC Historical Society

    Just what you would expect, this is the place for the most in-depth information on the ET&WNC, both past and present. These folks know their stuff!

ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society, Inc.

President: Johnny Graybeal
131 Morningside Drive
Boone, NC 28607

Vice President: Tim Smith
314 Meadowview Dr
Bavarian Village #109
Boone, NC 28607

Secretary: John R. Waite
265 Madeline's Park Circle
Jefferson City, MO 65109

Treasurer: Ken Anderson
367 Woodhaven Trail
Boone, NC 28607

Past President: Malcolm L. Marion, III, M.D.
1521 Billess Court
Rock Hill, SC 29732

    Sending $15.00 to John will make you a member of the Historical Society for a year, but more importantly subscribes you to "The Stemwinder" two times a year which is the source for good information around and about the Railroad and to "The ET Times," a newsletter that comes out for timely information in between issues of the "Stemwinder".


18th Annual ET&WNC RR HS Convention
Banner Elk, North Carolina
June 16-18, 2006


  • New decal sets in all scales are in the works.
  • G-Scale decals by Rail Graphics
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    Plans and Drawings

        Any drawings of ETWNC narrow gauge equipment that I produce will appear here as I get them done. I will probably put them up in whatever scale is large enough to see all the details, most likely in "O" or "S" scale. For the web they will be GIF files, but eventually they should appear in the "Stemwinder". So far I have the following drawings done:

    40 ft Stockcar
    Cranberry Water Tank

        Plans have been published in various magazines over the years. Marty McGuirk sent me the following list for plans published in Model Railroader Magazine:

    Richard Webster (and me and others) adds the following plans:

    Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette

    Outdoor Railroader / Finescale Railroader

    Also, Mal Ferrell's book, "Tweetsie Country" has drawings for:

        Marty McGuirk notes that since the East Broad Top and the ET were kissing cousins in many ways, some of the EBT plans may prove useful. The September 1961 issue of MR has plans of the EBT caboose and a board & batten sided coach which are both very close to the cars that ran on the ET.

        An excellent source of plans is Coronado Scale Models. They have several ET&WNC and EBT plans available.

    Coronado Scale Models
    1544 E. Cypress
    Phoenix, AZ 85006

        All plans are drawn to 1/4" scale. Contact Coronado for current prices.

        The following plans are some that were published in the Blue Ridge Stemwinder:

        The following plans are available from:
    Edmund Collins III
    PO. Box 58
    Kutztown, PA 19530
        All plans are drawn to 1/4" scale unless otherwise noted. A complete list of all available narrow gauge plans and current prices is available for $1 and a SASE.
    Any other plans that were published that you know of?
    Send me the references and I will include them in this listing.

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    Available Models (HO scale)

    Here's Marty McGuirk's list of what has been made over the last few years for the ET&WNC in HO scale:

        Dave Hoffman offers several variations of the boxcars; both 40,000 lb and 50,000 lb versions and the 32' 7" and 37' versions. These are craftsperson type kits that include wood components and cast brass parts. Trucks are specific for the ET: Jacked up type, simplex and McCord archbar types (available separately also). Order direct from:

    Dave Hoffman
    8682 U.S. Hwy. 61 North
    Woodville, MS39669-3502

        Trout Creek Engineering makes kits for the long and short gons.

    #3410 - 32' Convertible Gondola $ 16.50
    #3411 - 38' Gondola $ 17.50

        They are looking at doing the wood hopper car next, hopefully by this fall.

    Trout Creek Engineering, Inc.
    12874 County Road 314-B
    Buena Vista, CO 81211-9708

        Dave Hoffman has many variations on the standard 37 foot gondolas. He also offers wood rack kits to fit the gons.

    Passenger cars
        Although there are some Colorado cars that are fairly close to ET cars, the only kit for a specific ET car is the Laconia car sold by the Friends of the East Broad Top a few years ago. These are heavy cast polyester resin kits that really need a lot of work. Dave Hoffman (again, a true friend of ET fans!) makes ET trucks and an upgrade kit for these cars that really improves their looks and operations. Dave is sold out of the passenger cars, although he plans to bring them back in the near future.

        Dave Hoffman plans to do a hopper car in the next couple of years.

        Jim King at Smoky Mountain Model Works offers some ETWNC Hoppers. These kits include couplers, decals, and Grandt Line trucks (the trucks are not an exact match for ET - correct trucks are available from Dave Hoffman.

        Obtain the cars through a Walthers dealer or order direct from Smoky Mountain Model Works:

    521 Betsy Ross Lane
    Asheville, NC 28805

        This is a tough one. Marty plans to use one of the Gloor Craft kits for the EBT hacks and kitbash it into an ET car.


    Proposed ET&WNC 4-6-0 locomotives in HOn3
        Efforts to have brass locomotives (#3) produced for the ET&WNC in HO scale by Precision Scale has only 20 of 30 advance orders needed to produce the models. If you want one, call or email Johnny Graybeal asap. There are other plans in the works by Jim King of Smoky Mountain Model Works to create a kit. If you are interested, send Jim an email at:

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    Available Models (O scale)

        Jim King of Smoky Mountain Model Works has added two kits for an ET&WNC flat car:

    Kit #ET-48F1 is the 'plain Jane' version ... no trucks, couplers or decals ... $49.00 each.
    Kit #ET-48F2 is the loaded version ... with Grandt trucks & KD 803s, no decals ... $59.00 each.
    Decals will be available about the time of the kit release ... price TBD.

    If you're interested in more details on how the kit is constructed, parts included in the above versions, or would like to place an order, please email Jim at

    Smoky Mountain Model Works
    521 Betsy Ross Lane
    Asheville, NC 28805

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    Available Models (1:22.5 scale)

        The Bachmann 'Big Hauler' is patterned after the ET 4-6-0. It shows up in their other 'sets' with various road names. A new set is lettered for the Tweetsie RR and painted as the locomotive is at present. The front pilot and pony truck do need shortening, as does the distance between the engine and tender. The four wheel caboose in these sets is a good start for #205, changing handrails, couplers, and relettering may be all you need to do.

        At present (May 2001), there is an Anniversary model of the 4-6-0 with working metal valve gear and other enhanced detailing. Well worth it to find one if you can. The ET&WNC version is in green with gold lettering for #12. Many loco details are now done in metal and air piping is now included. The backhead is more detailed but sure doesn't look like what you'd see in Boone so it is closer but not dead on.

    There are some photos of mine at: Annie pics

    ET&WNC version of Annie - the Anniversary model of Bachmann's 4-6-0

        Bachmann makes a 38'- 6" boxcar. Cars are lettered for both the ET&WNC and Linville River.

        Bachmann makes a tankcar. Cars are lettered for the ET&WNC and others.

        Bachmann came out with the piggyback trailers (#800) in 1997. One version is lettered for the ET&WNC, including the van. You'll have to ignore the UP and other versions, or repaint them :o}.

        Bachmann also makes heavyweight coaches that are a close starting point for kitbashing.

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    Lettering / Decals

        See the Historical Society Products section for decals offered through them.

        Marty McGuirk has produced decals for ET&WNC and Linville River Freight cars. He is out at the moment, but due to be reprinted soon.

        Palmetto Graphics made three ET&WNC Dry transfer sets (for locos, freight and passenger cars) but they are apparently no longer available.

        Fred Waskiewicz reports that G scale decal sets for ET&WNC loco, car (box, gon, tank) and caboose are available from:

    Larry Larsen Graphics
    104 Conejo Place
    Durango, CO 81301
    (970) 259-3863

    I called Larry and he received his drawing originals from Jim Hobbs. The sets are based on a specific car, but extra numbers are included. The sets used to be dry transfers but are now offered as thinfilm decals.

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    Books on the ETWNC

    "Tweetsie Country", Mallory Hope Ferrell, Overmountain Press, 1991
    ISBN# 0-932807-58-5
    The main source of information and photos about the ET&WNC.

    "Along the ET&WNC: Vol 1, Early Narrow Gauge Locomotives", Johnny Graybeal, Tarheel Press, 2001. Available from Tarheel Press, PO Box 3895, Hickory, NC 28603. Cost is $29.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling (NC res add 6%). Be sure and get a copy of this one as it is only the first of a series and you'll hate yourself for not getting one when they were available.

    "Narrow Gauge in Doe River Gorge", Ken Riddle, 2001. A twenty page book about 120 years of train operations in the Doe River Gorge. All proceeds go to rail restoration work. One book equals one tie. Cost is $10.00, shipping included. Make checks payable to: Doe River Gorge Christian Cmp, PO Box 791, Elizabethton, TN 37644.

    "A History of Railroading in Western North Carolina", Cary Poole, Overmountain Press 1995

    "Tweetsie - The Blue Ridge Stemwinder", Julian Scheer and Elizabeth Black, Charlotte N.C., Heritage House, 1958

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        New! The newest video is called "Tweetsie Railroad: A History in Steam". It is about the locomotives of Tweetsie, and includes rare footage of bringing the loco and cars up the mountain from Hickory to Blowing Rock, and some home movies made during the early years of the park. The video is offered by the Historical Society through Johnny Graybeal at $16.50 plus $3.50 S&H. Johnny's address is above. Make checks payable to "Johnny Graybeal, ET&WNC RR HS."
        "Back Then... Blue Ridge Tweetsie", a nicely done documentary, is offered by the Historical Society through Johnny Graybeal at $25.00 plus $3.50 S&H. Johnny's address is above. Make checks payable to "Johnny Graybeal, ET&WNC RR HS."
    Special Offer: Both of the above videotapes for $40.00 plus $3.50 S&H. Contact Johnny for this special offer. (Sep-01-99)
    From Fred Waskiewicz:
        "I recently purchased A&R Productions two tape set "Tennessee Narrow Gauge" and I give it two thumbs up. Talk about a window into the past! Apparently, sound has been dubbed in for effect. Not being a purist, that didn't bother me all that much - good effect, actually. For someone wanting to model the ET&WNC, this video is a must! The color originals provide good guidance and there's even insight into operations in JOCY and Cranberry."

    The tapes are available through the Historical Society or A&R Productions (800-246-5898). Cost is $34.95 plus $3.50 S&H. If ordering from the Society, make checks payable to "Johnny Graybeal, ET&WNC RR HS."

    Additional Information from John Waite:

        "The locomotive sound effects came from a recording made by Johnny Graybeal of #12 at Tweetsie. The sounds were augmented with other "canned" sounds. The whistle sounds came from a record made in the late 1950s. This was before the whistle was damaged in an accident, so the whistle sound should be pretty accurate. It is believed that Sherm Pippin was the engineer blowing the whistle in the recording. Overall, I think A & R did a very good job on the sound track for the video. As part of the production process, I viewed the tapes several times without sound or narration. It is much, much more enjoyable with the sound. A & R also did an outstanding job cleaning up the old film. It was very dirty. Incidently, several people have asked me if it was "colorized." The answer is no, the color is just as Vince Ryan took it. It has not been enhanced in any way."

    From Curtis Brookshire:

        "The sound effects for the A & R tape came from a record made at Tweetsie Railroad circa 1957-8. Johnny Graybeal provided the record for their use, but he did not record it (he wasn't born yet), and he borrowed it from someone else.

        The recording allegedly has Sherman Pippin at the throttle (and whistle), and includes narration about the line and the trip passengers were taking. This was before the wild west theme. Johnny chose the record since number 12's whistle had not been worked on yet, so it still had its original tone, and because Pippin was running the train, and would have had whistle calls similar to those he would have made when he was running on the ET&WNC. Sherman ran at Tweetsie frequently in its early years."

        "If you want to see the green paint in action, refer to GLORY MACHINES, vol 1, which has about 3 minutes of ET&WNC with #14 in green. The A&R tapes show our heroes in action from 1942-1949 in the respective paint from that period."

    From Johnny Graybeal:

        "The engine effects were from a videotape made at Tweetsie RR in 1991. The whistle did come from a record made in 1959 and loaned by Ken Riddle. It was chosen for the reason Curtis mentioned."

        "I agree that the sound version is better. I came up with the arrangement of scenes for the video. I lived, breathed, and dreamed footage for two weeks!"

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    Screen Savers
        Screen savers of NC narrow gauge lines with images from the collections of Doug Walker and Matt Bumgarner are offered in versions for: ET&WNC; Lawndale, Carolina and N-W; NC Mix; Southern; SAL; and "Oldie Goldies" that include Western NCRR; Richmond and Danville; Carolina Central, etc. Specify which version and mail $7.95 to Carolina Home-Net, PO Box 3895, Hickory, NC 28601.

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