New Model Train Exhibit in Johnson City featuring ET&WNC

Rae Augenstein

New Model Train Exhibit
By Jim Conrad <>;
UPDATED: 9:58 pm EST December 2, 2011
*Johnson City, Tenn. -- *

Most model train enthusiasts began their hobby when they got that little
model train set for Christmas.

But we've found some train lovers who've gone well beyond that and they're
model railroad set has a special connection to our region.

We were fortunate to get a sneak peak at the Southeast Regional Train
Center now located in downtown Johnson City.

It becomes the citys second exhibit dedicated totally to model trains, but
it's not competing with the Carter Railroad Museum at East Tennessee State.

"No, we're complimenting it. This is basically for sizes larger than HO
scale and it's also involves toy trains that we're popular in the 40's,
50's and early 60's," Gary Cameron with the center says.

This large layout was originally in Oak Ridge but moved to Johnson City
when Gary Cameron moved back himself. It contains some very large

"This is the largest S-I rail which is American Flyer in the entire
Southeast and we have the largest Lionel exhibit in Tennessee," Cameron

In the back room is a special exhibit especially for our region. It's a
layout of the old East Tennessee-Western North Carolina Railroad, known in
the region as the old Tweetsie line.

"It was a donation by the Allison family and their dad George Allison has
passed away and he had this layout to resemble what he remembered of the
railroad. His dad was an engineer with the East Tennessee-Western North
Carolina," He said.

Lots of the rail lines that are represented have a history with the region.
It's just by chance that so many model railroaders have ended up here.

"Of course the town was founded with the railroads coming down from
Virginia to Knoxville and the East Tennessee-Western North Carolina
Railroad going up to the Carolinas and then the Clinchfield Railroad coming
down through Kentucky into South Carolina," Cameron said.

It's a remarkable collection of vintage trains and a lot of work on all of
the layouts. They invite you to come and take an imaginary ride, admission
is free. They're located at 110 West Market Street.

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