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A crew from C & S Rail Services, LLC started removing the East Tennessee Railway rails that run parallel with W. Elk Avenue near Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton. C & S has approximately 10 miles of track to take up. Each rail weighs about 1300 pounds. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
A crew from C & S Rail Services, LLC started removing the East Tennessee Railway rails that run parallel with W. Elk Avenue near Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton. C & S has approximately 10 miles of track to take up. Each rail weighs about 1300 pounds. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)

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Trailblazers: Rail removal begins on future Tweetsie Trail project

Staff Reports • Today at 8:20 PM

Workers with C&S Rail Services began pulling up rails and crossties in Elizabethton this week along right of way now owned by Johnson City, which plans to convert the rail line into a bike and walking trail, known as the Tweetsie Trail.

The agreement between Johnson City and Genesee and Wyoming, East Tennessee Railway’s parent company, allows the railroad to salvage the rail lines prior to turning over the property.

The track removal will begin at the eastern end of the line on State Line Road, moving westward through Elizabethton and then on through the western sections of Carter County until it reaches Johnson City.

Elizabethton officials are encouraging residents and business owners to remove any vehicles and other objects within 25 feet of the unused rail bed so as not to interfere with the track removal.

The rail line had once been part of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad, which operated a 3-foot narrow gauge rail line between Johnson City and Boone, N.C.