Over this past weekend, a friend and I traveled to Johnson City in
beautiful weather and saw the Nr 214 diesel recently pruchased by the ET.
It is gorgeous!! Southern green and white with gold letters and, from what
I could see was beautifully restored. I believe it to be an SW 1200, but
perhaps Jim Six could ID that better. One of the older black and orange
diesels was still in the enginehouse, so has not yet been moved to its new
After photographing the engine, we went to look for ETWNC roadbed. The
owner of the ROW just east of tunnel Nr one was very nice and let us drive
part of the way and walk the rest to the tunnel and the site of the covered
deck bridge. I was aware that that tunnel had been gouged out of solid
rock when the ETWNC was anticipated to be a five foot gauge RR in the early
1800's, but had no idea the tunnel would be so large. The other tunnels
are not nearly so large, but this one was truly magnificent. It was clean,
though there was evidence of a campfire, and safe, and at the end were the
abutments to the covered deck bridge.
After photographing the tunnel and bridge abutments, we went down hwy 321
and turned rt onto Stevens Road which took us to within a couple hundred
yards of the other covered bridge abutments at Hampton. On exiting back
onto 321, we crossed and went down to the Doe River Christian Camp. The
people there were just as pleasant as could be (and even said nice things
about the historical society in general and Johnny Graybeal in
particular!!). They took us on a tour of their replica boxcars and ex-CSX
work cars, showed us a couple of motorcars, and let us have free reign to
walk the roadbed, which we did. It took abt an hour to walk through
tunnels two and three, gaze at the beauty of the Doe River Gorge and arrive
at Pardee Point. There is NO litter, the roadbed is in remarkably good
condition, and the place is safe, beautiful, and interesting. We cleared
some rocks which had fallen and some tree limbs off the roadbed at a few
places, but it got to be a much bigger job after Pardee Point leading to
the bridge, and it was getting late, so we returned.
The folks that operate the camp said the society members were always
welcomed to visit if we would just check in with them and they asked that
we not visit from June 1st to Mid-August because of camping activities by 8
to 18 year old camp kids.
We saw a few needs for switch targets and we have a few extras, so we will
return later this spring and mount the targets for the camp people and will
do it in the name of the ETWNC Hist Society unless someone objects.
The new diesel, a tour of the roadbed and the tunnels, all in beautiful
weather with nice people. It dont get better than that!!mw