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Jahrules

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Tweetsie Railroad - Wild West Theme Park Adventure is a unique micro-park in rural North Carolina. The park's origin story dates back to 1866 with the formation of the 'East Tennessee & Western North Carolina' (ET&WNC) railroad line. This line was built to serve the rural mountain communities for which road travel was difficult if not impossible with the technologies of the day. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 'ET&WNC' just doesn't roll off the tongue; and so the locals dubbed the rails 'Tweetsie' after the sound of the train horns. As with most 1800s transportation methods, the upkeep of the rail lines coupled with a few natrual disasters couldn't keep pace with the advancement of modern roadways; and by the mid 1900s operations came to an end. A single train from the original railway survived intact, and after a few interim sales, was eventually purchased by a group of train enthusiasts leading to the opening of Tweetsie park in 1957.

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The blue train on the top-left is a car with a 'Thomas the Tank Engine (r)' facade. A traveling Thomas provides another source of revenues/attendance for the park.

The idea to establish a theme park around the train is, quite frankly, a brilliant idea. Knowing that, in order to preserve the history of the train they would need additional source(s) of revenue was a very intelligent foresight that has allowed them to remain in business for close to 65 years so far. In terms of the park itself; it has a number of small, carnival style attractions, and a couple custom/unique attractions. While the carnival rides are nothing too special; the custom rides are quite surprising. The 'Mouse Mine Train' was totally unexpected; and the chair lift is a very clever way of coping with the terrain at this park (it's in the foothills). According to Roller Coaster Database; Tweetsie park had, in the 1960s, a steel coaster; which was decommissioned in 1998. It does not appear like the park has any imminent ambitions to build any modern roller coasters. The park has a couple of indoor dining locations which include a few shows such as a (very amateur) magic act, and a burlesque style dancing show. The food is fairly generic carnival type faire. They claim to have the worlds best pizza; which is... debatable, at best (it does have a disclaimer at least).

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The disclaimer is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.

Perhaps the most important part of Tweetsie Theme Park; is that they have one of the few remaining locomotive shops in the country. In fact, a certain blue train from a certain theme park in Virginia, was shipped to Tweetsie for repairs after it caught fire a few years ago. Apart from contracting out any major fabrication, they do all work in-house from fit-to-finish. The mechanics/engineers at the locomotive shop are extremely friendly; and, apart from asking me not to mention any of their clients by name, were happy to discuss the restoration and maintenance work that they do there.

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It's pretty safe to say; that certain blue train may not have been salvageable had it not been for Tweetsie locomotive shop.

At the end of the day, Tweetsie Railroad - Wild West Theme Park is an endearing park that accessible to the entire family. They do a good job of keeping the park clean and 'on-theme'. Where they lack any 'high thrill' rides of other parks, they make up for it in theming, scenery and overall experience. Put this one on your radar.

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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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That kinda reminds me of a little train park we visited, when we were wine tasting in Sonoma:


(Sorry! I hope I didn’t derail this thread.)
 
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