A Southern Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad
Linville River Railway


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The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC), affectionately called the "Tweetsie" in reference to the sound of its steam whistles, was a primarily narrow gauge railroad established in 1866 for the purpose of serving the mines at Cranberry, North Carolina. The ET&WNC hauled iron ore from the Cranberry mines, pig iron from the local furnace and forge, and lumber from the forests of western North Carolina. The line ran from Johnson City, Tennessee, through Elizabethton, Tennessee, to Cranberry, North Caroline. The sister company the Linville River Railway (LRR) continued the line to Boone, North Carolina, a total distance of 66 miles. In 1931 the sister lines ran a passenger train between Johnson City and Boone. The flood of 1940 shut down the LRR so the Cranberry-Boone segment was closed. In 1945 two passenger trains ran between Port Rayon, 1.6 miles west of Elizabethton, through Elizabethton to Cranberry, 33.4 miles. The locals

ET&WNC
East Tennessee & Western North Carolina
September 1931
dubbed the railroad as the "Railway with a Heart" as railroad personnel often performed errands for the locals and even allowed passengers to ride for free during the Great Depression, It's tickets were even validated with a heart-shaped punch. The ET&WNC from Elizabethton to Cranberry shut down in 1950. The line from Johnson City to Elizabethton, Tennessee still exists today as the East Tennessee Railway (wik)(rp).
Short History of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC)
and thr Linville River Railway (LRR)
1866 - The ET&WNC Transportation Company was chartered by the Tennessee General Assembly on May 24.
1874 - Lack of financial backing led to the venture's failure, and the railroad was abandoned,
1876-79 - The Cranberry Iron Company (CIC) acquired the line and designated the railroad one of its subsidiaries.
1881 - The initial 14.1 mile run through the Appalachian Mountains from Johnson City to Hampton, Tennessee via Elizabethton was completed on August 22 by Pennsylvania-based financier Ario Pardee, and the technical expertise of Thomas Matson a noted railway engineer.
1882 - A line extension to Cranberry opened on July 3.
1890's - Linville River Railway (LRR) constructed specifically to haul lumber between Cranberry and Saginaw, North Carolina.
1913 - The CIC purchased the LRR, known as the "Arbuckle" line.
post 1913 -. The LRR line was subsequently extended to Boone, North Carolina.
1931 - The ET&WNC/LRR operate passenger service, one train, between Johnson City and Boone, 66 miles.
1940 - LRR tracks suffered heavy damage from a flood, and the line was abandoned following Interstate Commerce Commission approval on March 22.
1941-45 - The ET&WNC was one of the major rail lines to haul both passengers and freight in the region during World War II.
post 1945 - Business declined dramatically after the War. The narrow gauge track from Elizabethton was soon abandoned, though the ET&WNC retained service between Johnson City and the rayon plants (Port Rayon) west of central Elizabethton.
1950 - The narrow gauge portion of the line from Elizabethton to Cranberry was abandoned, and the ET&WNC ceased to exist.
post 1950 - The dual gauge line Johnson City to Elizabethton, a total of 11 track miles remained, and the Green Bay Packaging Company of Green Bay, Wisconsin ultimately acquired the railroad properties and reorganized the company as the East Tennessee Railway (ETRY). The standard gauge line continues to operate switching operations in Johnson City for freight arriving via the CSX and Norfolk Southern Railways.
ET&WBCmap
East Tennessee &
Western North Carolina Railroad
Linville River Railway

September 1931

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- various editions
http://www.thebluecomet.com/bar.html(ba)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 27, 2009,revised May 25, 2011