Log Trains in the Mountains

Logging began on the West Prong in 1903, above the Forks, which was only three miles from the mill in Townsend. The West Prong is a smaller drainage, and being closer to the mill, the slower Shay locomotives sufficed. But by 1908 tracks had been laid up the East Prong gorge to Elkmont, some 18 miles from the mill.

For this longer run, the Little River used number 148, a 2-4-4-2 articulated locomotive,  instead of Shays. Shays operated above Elkmont on the steep spurs that ran even up the flanks of Clingman's Dome (highest peak in the Smokies). The Shays marshaled their log trains in the Elkmont yard, and 148 hauled them down to the mill and brought back the empties. One round trip per day could be made.

As we look at the log trains, we'll see both types, with Shays in the upper reaches, and 148 in the gorge. Notice also that the Little River used two different kinds of log cars: standard flat cars, and skeleton log cars.


3406ShayTrestleLog.jpg (31970 bytes)        0511LogTrainShay.jpg (29079 bytes)        0407LogTrain148Gorge.jpg (38747 bytes)

 Shay 9, Log Train on Trestle                Shay with Log Train                    148 with Log Train in Gorge

3469LogTrainElkmontOwnby.jpg (26606 bytes)                 3485SkeletonLoaderLarge.jpg (27181 bytes)                2130ShayRearLoaderLogTrain.jpg (20402 bytes)

Shay, Log Train near Elkmont            Skeleton Car, Loader                   Shay from Rear, Log Train

3710LogTrainSinks148.jpg (37688 bytes)                3428ShayLogTrain.jpg (29061 bytes)                4909LogCarMeigsCk.jpg (24282 bytes)

 148 with Log Train at Sinks                       Shay, Log Train, c. 1925          Meigs Ck, Above Swinging Bridge

3502SkeletonCars.jpg (16780 bytes)      0714ShayLogTrain.jpg (23532 bytes)        3433LastLoadLogs.jpg (12925 bytes)

     Train of Empty Cars, c. 1915                     Shay with Log Train                      Last Load Out of the Park, 1939


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