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Great Smoky Mountain Railroad 8/17/2007

by Chris Guenzler

Chris Parker and I met at 7:30 AM and then drove down to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad parking lot in Bryson City. We parked the car then walked towards the Bryson City Station.

There is a large Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Station in Bryson City, North Carolina.

Our Nantahala Gorge Excursion Train sits in front of the Bryson City Station.

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad GP-9 1751. I next met Connie Southard from the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. She gave me our tickets for this morning's train and said our tickets for our one way trip to Dillsboro would arrive on the that train this afternoon. She gave Chris and I a hobo pack with some nice souvenirs wrapped inside of it and then got me a "Passage Through Time," Milepost Guide Book to this railroad.

The Nantahala Gorge Excursion 8/17/2007

Chris and I were assigned to the First Class Car, the McNeil Club Car.

The Passengers boarded the train.

This train consisted of GP-9 1751, Generator Car 2 made out of a caboose, McNeil Club Car 536, Southland 26, Royal Palm 841, Train Store-Conductor Store 8807, Wildwater 36 open, Nantahala 37 open, Sylva 320, Olivine 34 open and Dillsboro 6514. I walked up, found Chris and we boarded the McNeil Club.

Chris Parker enjoying the McNeil Club

Myself enjoying the McNeil Club. Coca-Cola was served to me right before we left.

10:00 AM the train started its trip by leaving Bryson City.

The Great Smoky Mountain Station Staff sends the train off with a wave.

The train starts running along the Tuckasegee River.

The train ran by an old warehouse along the route.

Our train crossed the Tuckasegee River.

The train was climbing away from the Tuckasegee River as the train made its way towards the Horseshoe Curve. The road crossing at the middle had to be flagged after the crossing signals were shorted out by last night's electrical storms.

The train was rounding the Horseshoe Curve. I then decided to walk the length of the train.

Inside of the McNeil Club.

Inside of the Southland.

Inside of the Royal Palm.

Inside of the Train Store-Conductor Cafe.

Inside of the Wildwater.

Inside of the Nantahala.

Inside of the Sylva.

Inside of the Olivine.

Inside of the Dillsboro.

The train was rolling through Robinson Gap.

There are nice pastoral views along our route.

There are also many interesting houses.

The view near Milepost 72.

There was very interesting vegetation along our route.

The first view of Fontana Lake which is down by 50 feet because of the drought that has been occurring here.

There are houseboats on Fontana Lake.

Another view of Fontana Lake.

The plant life along our route continues to amaze me.

More views of Fontana Lake.

More of the plant life along our route.

The train took the crossing of Lake Fontana which at this point is also the crossing of the Little Tennessee River.

The docks do not even reach the water because of the drought.

The train was rolling along the Nantahala River.

The train came around the sharp curve at MP 78 which is 14.2 degrees where the Nantahala River makes a 125 degree turn.

The rafters were out in force on the Nantahala River.

Looking through the trees as we continued to roll along the Nantahala River.

Another view along the Nantahala River.

There were more Rafters on the Nantahala River.

There are nice rapids on the Nantahala River.

Running along the highway.

Ties along this part of our route ready to be installed.

Our train has arrived into Nantahala.

Rafters unloading to get into the Whitewater Rafting Company Bus.

Rolling through the trees along the Nantahala River.

Old line bridge support.

The train ran by the Nantahala Nature Center where we would return to for lunch.

Our train continues rolling along the Nantahala River.

Rafters on the Nantahala River.

Another view of the Nantahala River.

Trees continue to be passed.

The train ran through Talc Mountains.

We ran by the Talc Mountain ex Southern Railway Sign.

Running along the dirt road into Talc Mountain.

Kathy and Diana my excellent servers aboard the McNeil Club Car. The engine ran around the train before returned to the Nantahala Nature Center where we detrained for lunch at the Slow Joe's River Cafe.

The Slow Joe's River Cafe where Chris and I had lunch. We then walked out onto the bridge across the river.

We then walked out onto the bridge across the Nantahala River.

The rear of our train at Nantahala Outdoor Nature Center.

There are rapids in the Nantahala River.

There is a very pretty little waterfall. I walked on down to the engine to wait for our engineer for my cab ride on the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad.

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