Little Tweetsie #12 has been around for many years. Built by John Barden, she is now owned by Zeb Banner and Operated by his grandfather, Greg Gardner. This is a replica of the full-size steam engine operated in Blowing Rock, NC by Tweetsie Railroad. Pictures of the two trains are almost identical.
#12 is modeled after the only surviving narrow gauge engine of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC).
Little Tweetsie #190 is owned and operated by Justin and Megan Trivett. Justin and Megan repurposed another engine to make a beautiful replica of #12’s sister engine and has also created a fantastic duplicate of the full-size #190, which also runs the rails at Tweetsie Railroad.
#190 is build to resemble the “Yukon Queen” from Alaska’s White Pass and Yukon Route.
Both locomotives are coal-fired live steam engines. Each runs on steam pressure generated by burning coal, just like their full-size cousins in Blowing Rock, NC.
The name “Tweetsie” was given to the original East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad by area residents who became accustomed to the shrill “tweet, tweet” of the train whistles that echoed through the mountains. The nickname stuck with the train and became more identifiable than the railroad’s original name. In addition, Bachmann Industries (a model train manufacturer) has produced several sizes of scale models of locomotive #12 and its accompanying rolling stock, both with the original ET&WNC markings and the newer Tweetsie Railroad markings.
The Little Tweetsie Mainline was completed in July 2012 and had its first open house on August 6th. This was also Zeb Banner’s first birthday. More than 50 people showed up for the birthday party and first running of the Little Tweetsie engines.
The small track is a single loop with plans for an inner loop expansion during the summer. More than 600 feet of track and two switches will allow the Little Tweetsie engines to run in opposite directions without a collision. The 40 foot trestle is a single line with switches just before and after.
Rides are always free and Little Tweetsie is open and running most weekends. Greg and Justin also operate the engines some weekdays, when time permits. We love birthday parties and other events. If you have an event, use our Contact Us page to tell us about it. Maybe we can host your next party, wedding or event.
Little Tweetsie is hosted by Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast in Banner Elk, NC. Located at the bottom of Beech Mountain Parkway, Banner Haven is less than a mile from the one and only stoplight. The beautiful backdrop of the North Carolina High Country is perfect for these little engines.
We enjoy trains and you can too. Come by and visit Banner Haven B&B to watch the trains steam up. Take a ride on the mainline and get your picture made sitting in the fireman’s seat. Bring your kids and let them do the same thing.
Little Tweetsie Railroad
c/o Banner Haven B&B
509 Beech Mountain Parkway
Banner Elk, NC 28604