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Fallen Flags: America’s Historic Railroads displayed at Carter Railroad Museum

Contributed • Dec 26, 2019 at 9:15 AM

On Saturday, Dec. 28, the George L. Carter Railroad Museum, located in the Campus Center Building of East Tennessee State University, will complete its yearly Heritage Days program for 2019 with a tribute to America’s national railroading past.

The Fallen Flags event denotes those lines that have passed into history, many of which are now physically part of today’s super railroads. Marketing for many of these predecessors’ lines resulted in signature identities, and the Fallen Flag name came about when the Wabash became part of the Norfolk & Western, now Norfolk Southern. A second meaning was that once the flags were removed from a locomotive, its run was complete.

“So many of these companies had unique logos and memorable slogans,” notes the museum’s Heritage Days coordinator Geoff Stunkard. “Terms like ‘Louisville & Nashville the Old Reliable,’ ‘Santa Fe – All the Way’ and ‘Southern Serves the South’ have all been surpassed by 21st-century business practices. During the Fallen Flags event we remember the glory days by honoring what came before.”

Volunteers from the Mountain Empire Model Railroad club will bring in special trains to operate on the museum’s 24x44 foot HO scale layout, which is primarily for the pre-1960s era in design and overview. Other examples are showcased in the museum’s multiple display cases, and trains will be running on the N scale and HOn3 dioramas as well. The latter is East Tennessee’s own fallen flag, the ET&WNC “Tweetsie” line.

The Carter Railroad Museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Heritage Day is held the last Saturday of each month. There is no admission fee to the museum, but donations are welcome.

The museum is also seeking artifacts for its displays, including the newest addition dedicated to the “Tweetsie,” which is open for guided tours during event days. For more information, visit www.etsu.edu/railroad.

The Carter Railroad Museum can be identified by a flashing railroad-crossing signal at the back entrance to the Campus Center Building. Visitors should enter ETSU’s campus from State of Franklin Road onto Jack Vest Drive and continue east toward 176 Ross Drive, adjacent to the flashing RR crossing sign.

For more information about Heritage Day, contact Dr. Fred Alsop at 423-439-6838 or [email protected] For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

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