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The county also has the first right to purchase the railroad from American Heritage Railways, should the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad be sold. Before hiring out with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in 2005 Mike worked in theater, his other career passion, after studying theatrical lighting design at Columbia College Chicago. Compare pay for popular roles and read about the team’s work-life balance. While at the DSNGRR Mike became qualified in multiple positions including engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, and dispatcher. In 2010, Mike hired out with Amtrak as a Locomotive Engineer, working there 4 years before returning in 2014 to AHR and the little corner of southwest Colorado that he loves. GSMR, which began operations in 1988, uses a route which passes through "fertile valleys, a tunnel, and across river gorges" in the Great Smoky Mountains … For its final 20 years of operation, it operated as the Smoky Mountain Railroad. The greatest in scope will be the development of hotels at each of the company owned railroads. GSMR is recognized as one of the top 5 scenic railroads in the country and has set ridership records consecutively for the past four years under Kim's leadership. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: its nice - See 3,276 traveler reviews, 1,907 candid photos, and great deals for Bryson City, NC, at Tripadvisor. The line was completed to Dillsboro in 1883 and reached Andrews in 1890. In October 2013 an "historic agreement" was reached between GSMR and Swain County (NC) to begin restoration of #1702. GSMR, which began operations in 1988, through a lease agreement from the NCDOT by Malcom and Joan MacNeil. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers several scenic train rides that are sure to get you in the spirit for autumn. Watershed Cabins are a collection of luxury rental log cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. AHR is no different, and thus has extensive real estate expertise generating substantial revenues from its in-town holdings as well as miles of right-of-way. In addition to running tourist excursions year-round, the railroad has also moved freight via an interchange with the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad in Sylva near Jackson Paper Manufacturing. The 722 never operated on the GSMR, it was formerly owned by the Southern Railway, which operated the locomotive for use in their steam program from 1966 to 1994 until it was being purchased in late 2000. The locomotive, a GP38-3m, now GSMR #1009, was purchased through Western Rail in Washington State and is currently being delivery to the GSMR. Today, the railroad operates excursions on the former Southern Railway branch line between Bryson City and Dillsboro, North Carolina. In late 2019, the GSMR began the process of purchasing a 6th diesel locomotive. John also holds certifications as a Firefighter, Emergency Medical Responder, Hazmat Ops and Awareness tech, Wildland/Urban interface Firefighter and Engineer. With their guidance, the Harpers have built American Heritage Railways into the country’s foremost tourist railroad organization. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (formerly Railway) owns 53 miles (85 kilometers) of the Murphy Branch, a former branch line of the Southern Railway between Dillsboro and Andrews. Polyurethane resins were limited, often brittle and did not tolerate heat well. Corp. (dba SoundTraxx) and served as President of the Hobby Manufacturers Association Model Railroad Manufacturers board for 3 years. Excursions between Dillsboro and Bryson City continued, however the trips would now depart from Bryson City and layover in Dillsboro. The adventure begins at the historic train depot in Bryson City and meanders along the Nantahala River and through the beautiful fall foliage. Is the 1702 coal fired or oil fired? Under his leadership, and in collaboration with his wife and co-owner Carol, American Heritage Railways owns and operates the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, CO; the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad™ in Bryson City, North Carolina; and Rail Events, Inc., which coordinates licensed special events from major entertainment brands, event promotions, merchandising, and related … Consolidation type steam locomotive #1702, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1942 for the U.S. Army during World War II, was acquired by GSMR in 1991. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad - Bryson City NC | AAA.com. We're pleased to be located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and just a mile from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. In 2008, as a result of economic failure in the country due to a recession, GSMR made the difficult decision to close their Dillsboro Depot and focus solely on their Bryson City operations. The Great Smoky Mountains Railway operates today as the newly organized Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The new line, which parallels U.S. Highway 411 in Tennessee and Georgia, ran over flatter terrain and allowed trains to move in a faster, more efficient manner. American Heritage Railways History may be a compilation of words, objects, and processes, but it translates to the human character traits of strength, morality, and the ability to achieve greatness. American Heritage Railways truly presents our history in a way so interesting and exciting that our guests will - and do - pay a fair price for a great experience. Websites. In addition to her duties at GSMR Kim serves as the Vice President of Railroad Realty of North Carolina, LLC where she manages sixteen business lease properties in Bryson City, NC. This when Elkmont started to rot away into a mere ghost town in the Smokies. Company Website This is the first time in the railroad's history that a closure of this scale had to be made. The GSMR had purchased a third steam locomotive, a former Swedish State Railways 4-6-0 #1149,[3] in 2010 from the defunct Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad. Nantahala Gorge Excursion. Kim has been in her position as Vice President and General Manager for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, a division of American Heritage Railways, since 2005. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Most important, history absolutely points out to us the true source of America’s greatness: the ideas, inventions, courage, ethics, and morality of the men and women living in our atmosphere of freedom. This ride has annually been a major economy boost for the railroad and the town of Bryson City. Born in the farm country of southern Illinois and earning a finance postgraduate at University of Missouri in St. Louis, realtor Al Harper headed west to operate the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, on a line built … Uncover why Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is the best company for you. For the defunct east Tennessee short line railroad, see, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, List of heritage railroads in the United States, Town of Dillsboro, North Carolina - History, Town of Andrews, North Carolina - History, "The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and Model Train Museum part 1", List of United States railroads by political division, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Great_Smoky_Mountains_Railroad&oldid=1001385422, Transportation in Swain County, North Carolina, Transportation in Jackson County, North Carolina, Transportation in Cherokee County, North Carolina, Transportation in Graham County, North Carolina, Companies operating former Southern Railway (U.S.) lines, Tourist attractions in Swain County, North Carolina, Tourist attractions in Jackson County, North Carolina, Tourist attractions in Cherokee County, North Carolina, Tourist attractions in Graham County, North Carolina, Spin-offs of the Norfolk Southern Railway, Articles needing additional references from April 2017, All articles needing additional references, Pages using infobox rail with unknown parameters, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 13:11. From locomotive labor, he transitioned to retail, warehousing, track/bridge inspection and maintenance, train operations, coach maintenance and eventually into sr. management. Baldwin Locomotive Works built No. You may also call Durango directly at 877-872-4607. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (formerly Railway) owns 53 miles (85 kilometers) of the Murphy Branch, a former branch line of the Southern Railway between Dillsboro and Andrews. Privacy Policy, Cheif Executive Officer-Chairman. Join to Connect. #722 is currently awaiting restoration. It portrays our greatest social and technological triumphs, as well as reminds us of our failures so that they may not be repeated. In addition, GSMR has one operational steam locomotive: S160 2-8-0 "Consolidation" type #1702, acquired in 1991. The Smoky Mountains' virgin forest drew the attention of logging companies in the late 1800s. [1][2] GSMR, which began operations in 1988, through a lease agreement from the NCDOT by Malcom and Joan MacNeil. On the upside, however, Swain County has been in a pandemic tourism bubble that has helped ease the pain. A new shop, especially built for the restoration, was completed the following year. Founded in 1988, the company serves more … Ultimately, the GSMR deemed the engine's move too costly and instead sold the engine to the Discovery Park of America,[3] in Union City, Tennessee. The GSMR will be receiving a 7th diesel locomotive in 2021, also from Western Rail. The Murphy Branch on which the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates is a full gauge working railroad that provides both passenger and freight service over 53 miles of track. You can visit the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad website to find information about schedules and rates. With help of a team of investors, MacNeil secured the lease within 48 hours of the Norfolk Southern Railway dispatching work … John leads AHR sales initiatives, company growth/diversification, risk management and overall operations,  including oversight of the railroads, branded entertainment, hotels, real estate, retail and future acquisitions for AHR. American Heritage Railways purchased the GSMR in December of 1999. But BB&T was dissuaded from pulling the trigger by the promise of a payoff by one of the park’s primary owners, Al Harper, who also owns the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. #1702 was taken out of service at the end of the 2004 season. GSMR's 2-8-0 steam locomotive #1702 (formerly of the U.S. Army) was featured in the 1966 film, This Property Is Condemned, starring Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, and Charles Bronson. Jarrette leads Rail Events Incorporated and Rail Events Productions, Inc., subsidiaries of American Heritage Railways that focus on production and licensing of themed Events at different railways and museums throughout North America and the United Kingdom. Book now! As of the 2020 Season, #1702 still runs occasionally throughout the year. As Rail Events began to produce their own events Mike took the lead of the newly formed company Rail Events Productions in 2015. Access crossings, fiber optics, and development opportunities are regular business for the company. The casino is in the Qualla Boundary, land owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. The GSMR route uses a route which passes through "fertile valleys, a tunnel and across river gorges" in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. The business plan was simple: Buy forested land, log it completely, and, once the area is logged, sell it. The line was completed to Dillsboro in 1883 and reached Andrews in 1890. "We re all guardians of history. The line was completed to Dillsboro in 1883 and reached Andrews in 1890. Its current operations reach nearly 1,500,000 rail passengers annually through three directly owned railroads and through the licensing of special events at over 50 additional railroads. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (formerly Railway) owns 53 miles (85 kilometers) of the Murphy Branch, a former branch line of the Southern Railway between Dillsboro and Andrews. The Smoky Mountain Railroad in Sevierville ran from Sevierville to Knoxville, TN from 1910 until 1961. John currently serves as a board member on the FLC School of Business. Dillsboro officials Monday (April 8) established a $200 fee for a conditional use permit. In March 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country severely affected everyone in the US. Websites. At the end of 1937, the T&NC sold their shares of the Smoky Mountain Railroad to Midwest Steel, a company that dealt in scrap iron. GSMR runs nearly 1,000 excursions each year. The museum features a collection of over 7,000 Lionel model engines, cars and accessories, a large model train layout, a children’s activity center, and a gift shop. Administrative Offices were moved from Dillsboro to Bryson City, establishing it as the new hometown of the Railroad. Jarrette is a graduate of Arizona State University with Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Public Relations as well as an associate’s degree in Journalism. In 1925, the company dismantled the railroad, and in 1926, they ceased logging in Elkmont entirely, looking for lumber in other parts of what is now the park. Al Harper, Railroad Owner. Welcome to Sleep Inn Bryson City, a great North Carolina hotel where you're sure to feel comfortable and right at home. CODES (8 days ago) Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, departing the Bryson City depot, 226 Everett St., operates various half-day and full-day round-trip excursions, including the Tuckasegee River Excursion to the historic town of Dillsboro and the Nantahala Gorge Excursion. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina.The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain.The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including … Smoky Mountain Model Works, Inc. opened in 1994 as a part-time model railroad resin kit manufacturer. It was originally called the Knoxville, Sevierville & Easter Railway, and was given the name Slow & Easy by locals. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (reporting mark GSM) is a freight and heritage railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina, United States. During her 31 years there she has served the Company in several capacities since its inception in 1989. Additionally, the railroad owns former Southern Railway 2-8-0 #722. The rail company decided to avoid the rugged mountain route altogether by building 80 miles of new track from a point near Etowah, Tennessee to Marietta, Georgia. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad was also used in the filming of 1996 Warner Brothers comedy My Fellow Americans starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner when they stumble on to a charter train full of UNC-Chapel Hill fans headed for the NCAA Final Four. American Heritage Railways (AHR) is a heritage tourism company based on the preservation of railroad history. Several miles of the line between the far western end of the Nantahala Gorge and Andrews are currently out of service; excursions currently utilize the line between Bryson City and Nantahala (22 miles or 35 km in length) and the line between Bryson City and Dillsboro (16 miles or 26 km in length). In a normal year, seasonal lodging facilities reopen in March, but this year put those openings on hold until mid-late May this year. Mike is responsible for the artistic and creative elements for both new event development and adapting and reinventing events across North America and the UK. Our sister railroad, the Durango and Silverton in Colorado is a narrow gauge railroad. It was eventually purchased by the Tennessee and North Carolina Railroad and re-named the Smoky Mountain Railroad. This engine was originally slated to be moved to the GSMR in spring 2011. Vice President / General Manager at Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Sylva, North Carolina 216 connections. [5], The railroad operates the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum in Bryson City, North Carolina, adjacent to the historic Bryson City depot (where GSMR excursions depart). Leveraging their combined professional backgrounds in the commercial real estate, retail, restaurant, and travel and hospitality sectors, the Harpers completed the acquisition of Silverton’s historic Grand Imperial Hotel, originally founded in 1882, and subsequently renovated and reopened the well-known property in May of 2016. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad 45 Mitchell St Bryson City ... Posted: (8 days ago) Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, also known as GSMR, is a transportation system that offers a range of pickup and drop services to mountaineers. John graduated from Fort Lewis College with a focus in the School of Business Administration, Tourism and Hospitality and Political Science. Since its creation in 1988, when it acquired Norfolk Southern's "Murphy Branch," the railroad has steadily grown into one of the country's most popular excursion attractions. Schedules and fares for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad are found on their website or by call them at 800-872-4681. The railroad has five operational diesel locomotives, GP7s #711 and #777, GP9s #1751 and #1755, and GP30 #2467. Back then, parts and mold patterns were created by hand or traditional machining. [4] Special events and a unique "Return of Steam in 2016" lapel pin were incorporated to celebrate the return of #1702. Train scenes in the 1999 DreamWorks SKG film Forces of Nature starring Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock were also filmed on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. In 2019, GSMR broke all attendance records with over 91,000 people riding the Polar Express excursion alone. American Heritage Railways. Kim recently served as the Vice Chair of the Jackson County Travel and Tourism Authority; Secretary / Treasurer for the Railway Association of North Carolina, Treasurer for Smoky Mountain Host and Board Member for Southwestern Community College Foundation. Harper staved off the foreclosure for four months with an offer to buy the park out of bankruptcy for $7 million. In 1946 it was sold to the Warren & Saline Railroad … Get the inside scoop on jobs, salaries, top office locations, and CEO insights. Dillsboro is a train town, established in 1889 as a stop for the railroad. The preservation of history is an endeavor no less important to the future of this nation than the preservation of life itself. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (formerly Railway) owns 53 miles (85 kilometers) of the Murphy Branch, a former branch line of the Southern Railway between Dillsboro and Andrews, North Carolina. In 2000, with a new tuscan red and gold stripe livery, retiring the bright and colorful blue, yellow and red "circus train" livery, the GSMR debuted as the newly formed Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, changing the latter from Railway to Railroad. All Rights Reserved. Although it was hoped that the engine would be restored and returned to service, no definite plans were set. The long range profit potential of the company is just being realized as people see that our history is the roadmap to our future. Under his leadership, and in collaboration with his wife and co-owner Carol, American Heritage Railways  owns and operates the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, CO; the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad™ in Bryson City, North Carolina; and Rail Events, Inc., which coordinates licensed special events from major entertainment brands, event promotions, merchandising, and related activities for over 50 railroad and museum operators throughout the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Jarrette has also worked in sales, customer support, distribution, and product development of Hobby electronics manufacturing at Throttle Up! The best way to preserve history is to make its presentation so interesting and exciting that people will pay a fair price for the experience." When that arrangement fell through, Sanders was beckoned out of retirement and ran the Smoky Mountain railroad until his retirement. Find out what works well at Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from the people who know best. The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a difficult one for businesses, between widespread lockdowns early on in the year to continued restrictions. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: Booking Options Rail only and train tour packages . Because it’s on tribal land, the casino is not subject to state executive orders, including Roy Cooper’s latest order that will cut off alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and institutes a curfew from 10 … Although this quaint little town was fun to walk around and enjoy the little shops, it certainly didn't require 1 1/2 hrs. For the safety and protection of guests and employees, the GSMR suspended operations for 30 days. Mike also serves on the Board of Directors for KSUT Public Radio and the Rocky Mountain Region of the National Model Railroad Association. Dillsboro’s offerings could compete with those in Bryson City if a local brewery relocates there in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s return. From year to year, the Smoky Mountain Central Railroad grew. In 2004, GSMR debuted its Polar Express train ride, based on the newly released movie and licensed through Warner Bros. Hiring out with the Durango& Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad in train operations in 2004, Jarrette has a wide level of experience with the company including, operations, sales, marketing, event logistics, business strategy and product and business development. Then, about 1963 or so, the railroad was taken over by a railroad club. John joined the AHR family workforce in 2005 while attending Durango High School as a second shift locomotive laborer. This article is about a tourist railroad in North Carolina. He also serves as the Producer for events produced by Rail Events Productions in cities across the US. Currently there are 2 trips, both departing from Bryson City: The Nantahala Gorge ride is 44 miles along the Tuskasegee Rive,r over the Fontana Lake trestle and into the Nantahala River Gorge. The wreckage set can still be viewed on eastbound Tuckasegee River Excursions departing from Bryson City.[7]. The other complaint I have is the 1 1/2 hr stop in the tiny town of Dillsboro. America’s greatest era still lies ahead for future generations, but the road to that future can only be read by reading the map of our past: our history. Overall, though, we did enjoy the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. However, the engine continued to remain on the B&ML for two more years. 479 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301, © 2021 American Heritage Railways. The railroad currently has a total of two steam locomotives and seven diesel locomotives. In December 1999, MacNeil sold the GSMR to American Heritage Railways, owners of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG) in Colorado. American Heritage Railways is a unique company with a tremendous future grounded on the historic past. Don't miss the chance to have a front row seat! -Allen C. Harper, Cheif Executive Officer-Chairman. With his combination of experience in the entertainment industry and railroading he joined the Rail Events team leading their production department. History defines and documents the very character of our country. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, based in Bryson City, North Carolina offers spectacular scenic views of the North Carolina mountains for which it is named. It's a canvas of colors and a breath of fresh air, it's the Great Smoky Mountains! The Jarrett House still caters to the tourists who ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad into Bryson City or the Nantahala Gorge, Land of the Noon-Day Sun. The 1702 locomotive was originally coal fired. [6], The famous train wreck scene in the 1993 Warner Brothers blockbuster movie The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones was filmed in Dillsboro along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Its assets include American railroad treasures, extensive land holdings, and valuable intellectual properties. 45min-1hr would have been more appropriate. With help of a team of investors, MacNeil secured the lease within 48 hours of the Norfolk Southern Railway dispatching work trains to the Murphy Branch to begin dismantling the track. In March 2016 it was announced that #1702 would return to service that summer, which coincided with the construction and usage of a new turn-table for the locomotive near the depot in Bryson City. American Heritage Railways is committed to: • Excellent Customer Service • Proven Expertise in Tourist Rail Marketing and Merchandising • Community Partnerships • Operational Safety • Exceptional Track & Equipment. As of December 1999, the railroad is currently owned and operated by American Heritage Railways, Inc., which also owns and operates the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG) in Colorado. In addition to that, a new turntable was built at Bryson City for #1702 to turn around for the return trip to Dillsboro during the Tuckasegee River excursion. About the Smoky Mountain Railroad. Take a ride alongside the beautiful Nantahala River! Historically, railroads own significant land holdings. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. 1702 in September 1942 for the U.S. Army for use at Fort Benning, Ga. From 2000-2004, Kim served as Marketing Manager GSMR. The line was completed to Dillsboro in 1883 and reached Andrews in 1890. The Little River Lumber Company bought over 80,000 acres of wilderness in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On April 11, 1938, the owners of the railroad applied for abandonment but the application was denied. Jarrette officially joined the Rail Events team in 2016 serving in roles as Brand Manager and Director of Business Management prior to assuming the role of General Manager in 2019. American Heritage Railways, President/GM: American Heritage Railways Hotels, VP/GM Rail Events Inc. & Rail Events Productions, VP/Dir of Production: Rail Events Inc. & Rail Events Productions, VP/GM: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Mountain Central Railroad grew all attendance records with over 91,000 people riding the Polar Express train ride, on... One operational steam locomotive: S160 2-8-0 `` Consolidation '' type # 1702 was taken over a. Railroad Manufacturers board for 3 years welcome to Sleep Inn Bryson City continued, however, County... Positions including Engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, and CEO insights September 1942 for the safety protection... 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