Archive for June, 2009


The Live Steam hobby has been around for well over 100 years now. Live Steam clubs exist all over the nation. There are at least 3 Live Steam clubs in North Carolina. To find one near you, visit

But, what if you don’t live close to a train ride or a live steam club. Maybe you just want one in your back yard. Why not? Well, here’s a company that does it all. Locomotives, riding cars, cabooses, track, grade crossing, rail screws, switches, frogs….the whole nine yards!

Here’s some info from The Great American Train Company

At The Great American Train Company, we are passionate about trains. We are true railroad enthusiasts with a sincere interest in sharing this wonderful hobby with as many new families as possible. Many of us even have our own 1.5 ” scale railroads installed at our own homes.

GATC is headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota, USA at our Plymouth Works facility. We are proud that our products are designed and built in the USA. Our people truly care about producing high-quality products that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people.

Every product we sell has been professionally designed and rigorously tested for durability, reliability and safety. You can feel confident your investment in our products will give you many years of enjoyment.

For more information, please visit:

twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share



Featuring, The Handy Dandy Railroad, The Southeast Threshers Reunion is the greatest steam, gas and antique farm machinery show in the Southeast, featuring 800 antique tractors and gas engines, arts & crafts, border collie demonstration, 15 restored buildings, music, food and more. The festival is held in Denton Farm Park in Denton, NC, which is located in southern Davidson County.


twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share


Bryson City, NC – June 2009 – Railfest 2009, a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad festival, will return to the Bryson City Depot, September 18th through 20th. This three day gathering for railroad enthusiasts and history buffs from around the world provides an opportunity to ride special excursions, see railroad memorabilia and experience music of the rails. Thousands return each year along with first time visitors to enjoy a taste of railroad food, storytelling, dancing, live music, special excursions and events unavailable any other time of the year.

The 28th Annual Fireman’s Day highlights Railfest on Saturday. Festivities will include rides on the 1939 Dodge American La France Fire Truck, the Firecracker 5-K Run, All-Male Miss Flame Beauty Pageant, and their famous Bar-b-que. Remember to purchase a Bryson City Firemen’s Tee Shirt.

Saturday festivities include special train rides, motorcars on display, seventh annual mountain craft fair with over fifty vendors, a children’s talent contest along with the winner’s jamboree, and a bouncy train for children to enjoy. The popular Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot Band will be the headliner of the event’s musical entertainment.

Sunday features a Nantahala Gorge “Photo Special” Excursion. This eight-hour roundtrip excursion takes passengers from Bryson City to Andrews, and includes two photo run-by opportunities, as well as a picnic lunch. Visitors to Bryson City will enjoy gospel music throughout the day.


twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share

Source: Salisbury Post

By Mark Wineka

SPENCER — Never go to the Family Rail Days Festival at the N.C. Transportation Museum without riding the rails.

Don and Anne Sebastian settled into an open-air passenger car Saturday and gave 4-year-old grandson Jacob a window seat.

“There’s a lot of history here, and a lot of people don’t realize how far back this goes,” Don said before the train rocked to a start.

Don Sebastian can’t help but be nostalgic when he visits the museum grounds, where Rail Days will continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Thousands of men used to work here in the days when Spencer Shops served as Southern Railway’s major steam locomotive repair facility between Washington and Atlanta.

And one of those men was Sebastian’s father, Walter, who worked at least 40 years at the Roundhouse. Don grew up in Spencer, when the shops were central to everyone’s lives.

As the museum passenger train made its trip around the grounds Saturday, everything seemed to stir a memory for Sebastian.

At lunchtime, workers would play horseshoes on the hill next to the Master Mechanic’s office.

Over there, across the street from the Roundhouse, used to be the YMCA, which stayed open practically all night.

Southward, Don recalled how he and friends would make elaborate tunnels in the mountains of hay stored on the shops site. They did, that is, until railroad detectives caught them.

Their punishment — the worst thing of all — was that the detectives called their fathers.

In the steam engine days, Sebastian said, smoke and cinders blew all across town. Women in Spencer would time the hanging of their wash by how much smoke was in the air, Sebastian said.

He and Anne later had a home on Hudson Avenue. They bought the house next to them and eventually tore it down to salvage the wood.

Cinders from the steam engine days were accumulated in the house’s attic, Sebastian said.

You only learn these kinds of things riding a train.


twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share


Published by: juliana, June 08, 2009

 I like Chattanooga. The name alone is great. Chattanooga. Chattanooga. Chattanooooooga! If you say it fast enough, you can almost hear the “chug-a-chug-a” sound of a train roaring by. Being that Chattanooga was once a major railroad and river transportation hub, it was fitting that we stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.

We had only one day off to explore the area, so we zoomed over to Lookout Mountain. We had great plans to ride the world’s steepest railway incline, see the world’s longest underground waterfall at Ruby Falls, and check out the spectacular cliffdrop and gardens at Rock City. We had a great time, took a lot of photos, and went to a lot of gift shops…

 We first went to Ruby Falls, hidden far below ground. It is the deepest cave in America open to the public. Our tour group was hearded through dark and narrow passageways, and we avoided standard cave drippage as best we could. We found stalactite and stalagmites along the way, many of which with food-like resemblance: Meat and potatoes, bacon, and even tobacco leaves. Someone must have been hungry when naming all these formations…


twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share


Great train photos of trains and railroads in North Carolina from our friend Aaron, who also contributes to!

Visit his galleries:


If you’re interested, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with Aaron right away!

twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share


As gas slowly creeps back up to $4.00 per gallon (I read recently where we could hit that number by August), many folks are turning to Amtrak and light rail as an alternative.

Could this completely revive the railroad industry?

Any motorist can tell you: the state’s streets and highways have become more congested over the past decade. With congestion brings increased emissions. To help address those congestion and emission concerns, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division is improving passenger rail service by improving railroad infrastructure.

The NCDOT is investing state, federal and surface transportation funds throughout the state to improve existing tracks, install new signals and build stretches of new track to improve the state’s rail system. These projects range in scope from critical freight access to statewide development of the Southeast High Speed Rail corridor.

For more information, visit:

twitter_logo    Bookmark and Share