Passenger Trains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is far and away our most visited national park, but tourism here is nothing new. Construction of the railroad up the Little River gorge is said to have cost $20,000 a mile, versus an average of $1200 for other logging roads. But this is testament to the rugged nature of the gorge, and when it was completed everyone wanted to see it. For the first time, travel into the interior of these mountains was not only possible, but durn near luxurious!

The line to Elkmont was completed in 1908. Regular daily service was available from Knoxville to Elkmont via the Knoxville and Augusta (Southern Railway), but in addition there were many special excursions, even beyond Elkmont pulled by Shays, as the photos below indicate.

Number 148 got no rest on the weekend, pulling substantial heavyweight consists, mixed Southern and Little River coaches. Numbers 105 and 110 covered weekday schedules, but also handled Sunday School picnics. At least two special open excursion cars were built. Number 366 appears to be a converted flatcar with open railings and bench seats, while Observation Car "Elkmont" had enclosed sides and passenger-style end steps.


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148 with Excursion in Gorge


 148 with Passenger Train, Elkmont


 Passenger Train in Gorge


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Shay 9, Excursion on Trestle


 Passenger Platform, Wonderland Hotel


Observation Car "Elkmont"


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105 at Longarm


 148 with Passenger Train


Combine, Appalachian Club


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  Platform at Sunshine  


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