ELIZABETHTON — The city of Elizabethton should become the proud owner of a train on Thursday, when the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce makes an offer to the Elizabethton City Council to present the antique train display to the city.
The display sits on the side of U.S. Highway 19E on property that housed the Chamber of Commerce until last year, when the chamber moved to its new location in the downtown area.
Since the Chamber no longer operated out of the property on U.S. Highway 19E, the board of directors decided to present the train to the city.
The gift consists of three separate cars. The most unusual is the locomotive. Anyone looking at the engine will immediately notice its not proportioned like a normal locomotive. That is because this is a locomotive that did not burn coal or wood to create its steam.
There was no firebox for the fireman to shovel material into the roaring fire usually found in the belly of a locomotive.
This “0-6-0” fireless steam engine was built in 1936 by the H.K. Potter Company for the North American Rayon Corporation. It was intended to move rail cars around the property of the plant. With a plentiful and steady supply of steam being produced in the factory’s powerhouse, there was no need for the locomotive to make its own steam. It merely pulled up to the powerhouse and tapped into the factory’s steam supply.
The locomotive was capable of delivering 26,650 pounds of effective cylinder pressure. It weighed 135,000 pounds, was 29 feet long and was 14.5 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It is said to have a cash value of $40,000.
The boxcar also has a history that definitely links it to Carter County. It is one of only four existing narrow-gauge railroad cars of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad.
The caboose displays the colors of the Southern Railroad.