Thursday, May 19, 2011

Riding the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Yesterday i took my cab ride on the GSMRR, and what a ride. This line runs on a branch of what was the Southern Railroad known as the Murphy Branch. It runs one hundred eleven miles from Ashville to Murphy NC. Today Norfolk Southern owns the line from Asheville to mile post forty seven. From mile post 47, just east of Dillsboro, to Milepost 98 in Andrews is owned by GSMRR. From Andrews to Murphy is owned by the State of North Carolina and is unused. The line is a series of sharp curves and steep grades to almost 5%, trestles over rivers and tunnels uIMG_0219nder mountains.

I rode from Mile 63 in Bryson City to mile post 86 in Nantahala. Thanks to Engineer Dale and Brakeman Duane i got to see how difficult it is to keep a locomotive running smoothly while going up and down hills, rounding sharp curves, and negotiating narrow trestles. tomorrow i will upload two videos i shot. First going round Horseshoe Curve #2. As you come out of this 12 degree curve i’m told when there are no leaves on the trees you can see the last car just entering the curve. The next is on the 426 foot trestle over the Tuckasegee River.

A number of films have been shot on the GSMRR including the Fugitive with Harrison Ford, and Forces of Nature which Beatrice will tell you about.

Recently the GSMRR has purchased a Swedish locomotive and 9 Swedish passenger cars from the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad (remember them from last October) and plan to use them as the “Hogwarts Express”. When the folks at GSMRR told me of this they could not believe that Beatrice and I had seen this train on our trip last fall. We are all excited and are planning a return visit once it is running.


Elaine said...

Ah, you had a great day! I'll bet the wheels are turning in your head now with lots of ideas....

Out on the prairie said...

They have one north of me , Boone Scenic Valley Railway. As a kid my grandfather took me down to the yard and I road on switch engines. I like how you were up front.

Anonymous said...

I´ll have to go back to October and read that post! I mean, how many times can one find swedish trains outside Sweden :-) :-)

We don´t have any railroads like that any longer. they did what ever they could to close them down in the -80s. Even if it gave a good profit they changed things so much to the worse so it made a loss and then they just closed it. Happened to the small railroad we had nearby (all railroads were owned by the state back then).

Have a great day now!

Anonymous said...

It was really great Elaine. And the crew was very friendly. I always wanted to ride in the engine too Steve. I grew up on one of the Erie Lackawanna lines.
I don't think i blogged about this train after all Christer. I have hardly any pictures of it. It came over here in 1990 and went to Maine.