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The steam engines leads two excursions along the Tuckasegee River and the Nantahala Gorge.
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The #1702 steam engine was a World War II workhouse, built for the war effort in Europe. However, she remained in the United States.
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The #1702 steam engine comes into the depot in Bryson City, North Carolina.
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Tom the storyteller travels from car to car, sharing history of the train and its community.
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Passengers in the open-air gondola on the way to Dillsboro along the Tuckasegee River route.
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Remnants of Hollywood can be seen along the track just outside of Dillsboro. The Fugitive's famous train wreck remains.
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Brian Brooks, Marshal Harris and turntable project manager Tom Falicon.
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The #1702 steam engine enters the turntable.
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The workers enlist volunteers to help turn the mammoth locomotive.
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All aboard in Bryson City.
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Tom Falicon led the turntable project. Don't miss seeing the turn once your ride is over.
Rivers and rails have always defined the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In Bryson City, North Carolina, the river calls, and it's obvious, people from everywhere respond. The Nantahala Outdoor Center, located just outside of the city, overflows with rafts and people during the spring and summer. And as the weather cools down, visitors look for a slower pace, and they turn to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, the perfect family outing. Located right downtown in Bryson City, the railroad takes center stage – and this year, it has a new star!
During our first visit to Bryson City, I anxiously promised to ride the river. I have this water thing, but that’s a story for another time. To my delight, I also promised to ride the train, now ceremoniously being led by the #1702 steam engine. The romantic in me squealed; the open air experience would be just what I needed to leave the heat of summer behind and usher in the coolness of the fall.
The thrill of train travel never leaves me disappointed. Even if it’s only 32 miles, the trip creates within me a new mindset and I return to the glory days when, yes, the journey was as exciting as the destination.
This fall, give your family an escape aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. Experience the rebirth of the #1702 steam engine, and as she gracefully takes those winding curves, sit back and enjoy, and listen as she sings the melody of the mountains.
Judy and Len Garrison are at home in Farmington, Georgia, just on the outskirts of Dawg country - better known as Athens. Len, an IT manager and photographer, and Judy, an editor, author and travel writer, invite you to travel along with them as they explore the best of the South. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at Seeing Southern, and follow them on Twitter at @judyhgarrison, @seeing_southern, LIKE them on Facebook and on Instagram.