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I really appreciate all the people who have done so much to
preserve the ET equipment that exists to this day. Of course, a lot has been
lost forever, but the events that saved #12, the 505 caboose,
The combine 15, boxcars, Linville Depot, and the Doe River Gorge
ROW, are really quite a story. Any of these could have been so easily lost.
Thanks, too, to the historians of all sorts who have documented, and continue
to document, the story.
[mailto:ETWNC@groups.io] On Behalf Of Curtis Brookshire via groups.io
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2020 5:42 AM
Subject: [ETWNC] 70 Years Ago...
As we're all aware, 70 years ago today the ET&WNC ran
its last revenue train from Elizabethton to Cranberry and back. This was
probably the best documented freight train - we've seen some nice rolls from
passenger excursions. Jack Alexander, Vince Ryan and John Krause's photos are
all familiar to us. So, what was in that train and where were those cars going?
The following is based on some published stories and some basic railroad
operating philosophies, but has a degree of speculation, so feel free to correct
any errors you might find.
The famous shot of the train climbing State Line Hill shows a couple of
gondolas followed by a string of boxcars. The gondolas were bound for Cranberry
with told for the scrappers. I would assume the cars might have been used to
hold rails being lifted by said scrappers. Some of the boxcars had been sold to
be used as sheds on local farms. Sherman Pippin is said to have bought three of
them. At least one car was a load - wood picked up in Roan Mountain for
Graybeal Lumber - the last narrow gauge revenue load. Any remaining cars would
have been brought back to Elizabethton for scrapping. When a railroad lists a
line as abandoned, they usually run a "funeral train" to bring any
remaining interchange and company cars off the line, as from this point forward
the line would no longer be dispatched and under the control of the salvage
company. I'm also told that at least one of the motorcars was leased by the
scrappers. Without known photos of the scrappers in action, I have no visual
proof. #11 ran at least once more after this date. Standard gauge #204 derailed
its tender in Elizabethton and there is a photo of 11 assisting in re-railing
the tender. 11's front coupler knuckle is missing and the engine is more
heavily weathered than it was on October 16th, so we've concluded this took
place after the last run to Cranberry.
Even though the Narrow Gauge ended service, the spirit of the ET&WNC still
lives through us, our photos, models, museums and of course the DRG and
Pine Level, NC