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Log Jam on the Little River!

The "Log Jam" was a special Conference on Railroad and Logging History held Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4, 2002 in Townsend, Tennessee.

The conference was sponsored by the the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum and the  Loyal Legion of Logged on Loggers (better known as 4L), an international email group on Yahoo. This was the second annual eastern meeting of the group, which held its meeting last year at Cass, WV.

See Photos from the Log Jam:

Log Jam Photo Album



Model Contest Results

Don Niday coordinated a Model Contest with plaques awarded at the Friday evening barbeque dinner.

Since our distinguished 4L members are some of the best experts around, judging was by ballot of our attendees. The Model Contest winners were as follows:

Locomotives Mal Ferrell
Logging Equipment Mal Ferrell
Structures Rick Perry
Rolling Stock Mark Satterfield
Dioramas Ron Lane


Schedule of Events

   4:00 pm Check In and Registration: Best Western Panoramic Room (Upstairs)
   7:30 pm     Welcome: Introductions, Desserts and Beverages
   8:00 pm   Bill Hooks: Whistle Over the Mountain: The Little River Story
   9:00 pm     Matt Bumgarner: Building the Western North Carolina Railroad
   10:00 pm Trains, Lies and Videotapes

   7:00 am

Breakfast (Hotel - Continental)
   8:00 am  * Field Trip: Elkmont and the Little River Gorge  (Group A)

   9:00 am  *

Little River Museum Tour  (Group B)
  10:00 am Field Trip: Tremont  (Group B)

   12:00 noon

Lunch: Best Western Panoramic Room

   1:00 pm  *

Field Trip: Elkmont and the Little River Gorge (Group B)
   2:00 pm  * Little River Museum Tour  (Group A)
   3:00 pm  * Field Trip: Tremont  (Group A)
   5:00 pm Scott Perry: Clinic - Building Little River Truss Rod Flatcars

   6:30 pm

Dinner: Barbeque Feast - Awards Banquet

   8:00 pm

Joe Holloway: The Smoky Mountain Railroad

   9:00 pm

Ken Marsh: Logging in East Tennessee
   10:00 pm

Trains, Lies and Videotapes


   7:00 am

Breakfast (Hotel - Continental)

   8:00 am

Ed and Brian Bond: Logging Along Southern Railway's Murphy Branch

   9:30 am

Bus to Bryson City

   11:30 am

Box Lunch Picnic: Collins Creek

   12:30 pm

Bus to Bryson City

   1:30 pm

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad: Steam Ride in the Nantahala Gorge

   6:00 pm

Dinner: Bryson City, Pizza Fest at Morgan Pavillion

   7:30 pm

Bus to Townsend

   11:00 pm

Arrive Townsend, Motel

   7:00 am

Breakfast (Hotel - Continental)

   8:30 am

Auto Caravan to Cradle of Forestry, via Blue Ridge Parkway

   12:00 pm

Box Lunch Picnic: Cradle of Forestry

   1:00 pm

Jerry Ledford: Western Carolina Logging

   2:30 pm

Tour: The Cradle of Forestry

   4:00 pm

Depart for Home



Scott Perry  presented his clinic on Building Little River Truss Rod Flatcars at 5:00 pm Friday. Scott had presented this clinic at the NMRA SER Convention earlier this year.


Jim King had a booth for his Smoky Mountain Model Works, featuring On3 and On30 models of Argent Lumber, ET&WNC and Southern Railway kits. Don Niday will represent his Iron Creek Shops, featuring his 1:20.3 Bachmann Shay conversion kits. Dave Queener represented his Cumberland Locomotive Works, featuring F Scale Standard kits, tools and locomotives. Lyle Noah sent several samples of his models, and catalogs from his Lyle graciously donated his models for Door Prizes!


Steve Austin and crew brought their highly touted Elkhorn Iron & Timber modular layout. Don Niday and Dave Queener showed their F Scale dual gauge layout, complete with Don's Bachmann 3-Truck Shay conversions.

Steam Train Excursion

We had a spectacular ride down the spectacular Nantahala Gorge from Bryson City to Andrews, along the best portion of the old Southern Railway Murphy Branch, which fed so many logging lines. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is run by the same folks who own the Durango and Silverton, so it's a class operation.

The Cradle of Forestry

America's first forestry school was founded here in 1898 by Dr. Carl Schenck, who was Forester for George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate. Today it is run by the US Forest Service, with a visitor center, a variety of vintage buildings and a collection of logging equipment, including a Climax locomotive and an American log loader. Cradle of Forestry Website

After breakfast  on Sunday morning, we checked out of the motel and caravanned up the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway to Wagon Road Gap and the museum. Jerry Ledford gave us a great presentation in the Cradle of Forestry Auditorium, after which we toured the exhibits.

Field Trips: Elkmont and Tremont

Bill Hooks conducted field trips up the Little River Gorge to Elkmont on Friday morning and afternoon. Elkmont was a major marshaling yard for Little River log cars. Beyond them, only Shays could operate, and they did almost all the way to Clingman's Dome, highest peak in the Smokies.

Tremont, on the Middle Prong, replaced Elkmont as the major backwoods town about 1925, as the Little River pulled out of the East Prong. The group touring the museum in either the morning or afternoon had the option of a self-guided tour to Tremont form Townsend. Ron Briggs was at the Tremont townsite when people arrived there, with photos and maps to interpret the scene.

Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum

Across from the motel is the LRR&LC museum, home of Shay 2147, the only remaining Shay from Little River. The original depot building from Walland has been moved to the site, and now houses the museum's collection of artifacts, tools and over 220 enlargements of vintage photographs of the logging and railroad operations. The museum also has an original L&N "Little Woody" caboose, two ancient flatcars, an original logger's setoff house, and a Frick portable steam engine. A replica of the Elkmont Post Office now houses the museum gift shop. During the next two years we will be renovating the outdoor exhibits, building replicas of several passenger platforms, moving a wooden water tank to the site, and laying new track (you're always welcome to drive a few spikes!). And it now appears that we will soon be acquiring an American Hoist and Derrick Log Loader from the Texas Forestry Museum, similar to the one you will see at the Cradle of Forestry on Sunday.

Other Activities

The Smoky Mountains area is "Jam" packed with great Activities for everyone, so family members less interested in railroads and logging found plenty to do, from hiking the mountains and tubing on the river, to shopping and amusements for kids.

In addition, for the diehards, you'll find great Railroad Attractions nearby, which you could visit coming or going to the Museum.


For further information and any questions, please contact Don Niday or Jim Thurston  at the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum.


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