Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smoky Mountain Railroad

When friends Dennis and Edera invited us to go to Dollywood with them, we jumped at the chance!  In the 2 years that we’ve lived in East Tennessee, we hadn’t managed to get our act together and check out Dolly Parton’s major contribution to the local economy.  I was particularly interested in visiting the park because of the “Smoky Mountain Railroad”…one of the top attractions at Dollywood.

The original Smoky Mountain Railroad operated a line from Knoxville to Sevierville Tennessee.  It was in business from 1910 until 1962.  One of the original Smoky Mountain Railroad’s steam locomotives, #107, a Baldwin 2-8-0, is now on static display at Dollywood.

This is ‘Cinderella’, a 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ type steam locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1938.   Locomotives with this 2-8-2 wheel arrangement were called ‘Mikado’ types because the original 2-8-2 locomotives were built for Japan Railways.  During WWII, many US railways began calling them ‘MacArthurs’.  

Cinderella and her tender weigh in at 230,500 lbs.  She started life working for the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, a Canadian and USA railroad operating between Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse, the capitol of Canada’s Yukon Territory.  She’s been at Dollywood, taking park visitors on a 2.5 mile loop ride, since the early 1980’s.  On a typical day, she uses 5 tons of coal and consumes 5,000 gallons of water.

Thousands of park visitors ride the rails every business day.  The route winds up the mountain behind Dollywood and then loops around and comes on back down the way it goes up… The railroad is the oldest attraction in the park…predating Dollywood itself.  The first version of the park was called Rebel Railroad and it began operating in 1961. 

This is a photo of the Locomotive Engine Shop and Engine #192, now renamed ‘Klondike Kate’.  She is also a survivor of the White Pass and Yukon Railroad.  Klondike Kate is also a 2-8-2 Mikado locomotive.  She is an S-118 Class…at 215,700, a bit lighter than Cinderella.  Klondike Kate was built in 1943.  Like most of the locomotives working on the White Pass and Yukon, she spent her time during WWII hauling troops and lumber over the mountains between the Yukon and the port of Skagway.  These locomotives were also an important part of the effort to build the Alcan Highway.

Here’s a profile view of Cinderella… She is a very handsome locomotive.  Dollywood, (the Smoky Mountain Railway), has one other 2-8-2 locomotive, #71, that is currently being restored.

We visited Dollywood on a weekday in May… It was interesting to note that every train departing the depot was packed with passengers.  There still is a lot of fascination with railroads…especially steam locomotives.  This is reportedly the most popular ride in Dollywood.
For more on your visit to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee and to learn about your chance to ride the rails, go to   


  1. Dave, when Bob and I were young we hiked the Appalachian trail and spent several summers in Gatlinburg. I'm sure I would not recognize the area now. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Dear Dave, This sounds like a wonderful day. I did not even know that Dolly Pardon had a place called Dollywood! It sounds so nice to experience a travel back in time on these old antique trains. Have a safe and blessed weekend. Catherine
    p.s. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.

  3. This is Larry's daughter, Wende. We used to go up to the park all the time back when it was Silver Dollar City. We loved going on the train. Part way through the ride, you got stopped for a train hold-up. It was a lot of fun. I don't know if they still do that, but we couldn't wait to get robbed!