Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
|Great Smoky Mountains Railroad|
|Locale||Western North Carolina|
|Dates of operation||1988–Present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||53 miles (85 kilometres)|
|Headquarters||Bryson City, North Carolina|
The railroad operates over the western 53 miles (85 kilometres) of the "Murphy Branch", a former branch line of the Southern Railway. The route of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad passes through fertile valleys, through a tunnel and across river gorges in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.
In addition to running tourist excursions year-round, the railroad also moves freight on its own tracks between Dillsboro and Andrews. GSMR interchanges with Norfolk Southern Railway in Sylva near Jackson Paper Manufacturing. In 2003, the railroad ran 963 excursions.
The railroad has four diesel-electric locomotives, #711, #777, #1751 & #1755. In addition, the GSMR owns three steam locomotives; 2-8-0 Consolidation #1702, and former Southern Railway 2-8-0 #722. Both of these locomotives require extensive restoration before they can operate again. Locomotive #1702 has been out of service since the end of the 2004 season. The 722 has never operated on the GSMR. The third engine is a former Swedish State Railways 4-6-0 #1149, which had been purchased in 2010 from the defunct Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad. This engine was originally slated to be moved to the GSMR in spring 2011. However, the engine continued to remain on the B&ML for two more years. Ultimately, the GSMR deemed the engine's move too costly and instead sold the engine to the Discovery Park of America, which is currently under construction in Union City, Tennessee.
Towns and attractions served
The famous train wreck scene in the 1993 Warner Brothers blockbuster movie The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones was filmed in Dillsboro along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The wreckage set can still be viewed on eastbound Tuckasegee River Excursions departing from Bryson City.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad was also used in the filming of 1996 Warner Brothers comedy My Fellow Americans starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner when they stumble on to a charter train full of UNC-Chapel Hill fans headed for the NCAA Final Four.
- Great Smoky Mountains Railroad website
- American Heritage Railways
- North Carolina Railway Association