Smoky Mountain Railroad

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This article is about a defunct short line railroad in east Tennessee. For the North Carolina tourist railroad, see Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
Smoky Mountain Railroad
Reporting mark SMR
Locale east Tennessee
Dates of operation 1910–1962
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Headquarters Knoxville, Tennessee

The Smoky Mountain Railroad was a short standard gauge rail line that ran from Knoxville, Tennessee to Sevierville, Tennessee from 1910 until 1962.

The railroad was established by Knoxville contractor William J. Oliver, and was originally named the Knoxville, Sevierville and Eastern Railway.[1] It was incorporated on July 15, 1907 with a capital stock of $500,000. Construction began in earnest in 1908 and a major portion of the road was opened between Vestal in South Knoxville and Sevierville on December 20, 1909, bringing the line's total length to 27.8 miles. The line connected with the Southern Railway at Knoxville.[2]

The railroad changed ownership numerous times over years, as the line was never particularly profitable and struggled to stay afloat with as few as 300 carloads of freight being shipped out of Sevierville annually.

Smoky Mountain Railroad #107 as it appears in 2008

World War II brought about the only notable period of profitability for the railroad, as the Tennessee Valley Authority initiated construction of Douglas Dam on the French Broad River a few miles north of Sevierville. A branch line was constructed from Sevierville to the dam site, and the Smoky Mountain Railroad hauled in most of the equipment and materials needed to construct the dam.

Once the dam was complete the railroad once again began to struggle, and by 1946 the line was losing money. The stockholders of the railroad applied for abandonment in 1947, but the Interstate Commerce Commission denied the request. The railroad continued to operate until 1962 when the ICC finally approved a request for abandonment.[3]

Smoky Mountain Railroad #107

Several of the Smoky Mountain Railroad's former locomotives are still in existence. In 1961 steam locomotives #107, a 2-8-0; and #206, a 2-6-0; were sold to "Rebel Railroad", a narrow gauge tourist train line built at nearby Pigeon Forge for static display. Rebel Railroad changed ownership over the years and is today part of the Dollywood theme park. #107 is still displayed at the entrance to Dollywood, however #206 was sold to the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel" in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the early 1970s.[4][5]

4-6-2 #110, originally built for the Little River Railroad, is now at Coldwater, MI operating on a tourist railroad.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William Robert Rogers, "A History of the Smoky Mountain Railroad," East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, Vol. 44 (1972), pp. 72-75.
  2. ^ Smoky Mountain Railway Map
  3. ^ Smoky Mountain Railway
  4. ^ Steam Locomotive Information
  5. ^ Steam Locomotive Information
  6. ^ Steam Locomotive Information