Tweetsie Railroad®'s Steam Locomotive Shop keeps Tweetsie Railroad and others chugging along!
Tweetsie Railroad is the official source for Crown Locomotive Parts, locomotive rebuild, restoration, and steam locomotive parts. View our Crown Parts in the gallery below!
Though few Tweetsie Railroad Guests ever visit the Tweetsie Railroad Steam Locomotive Shop, it serves a vital function for the park by keeping our pair of vintage locomotives operational every day. But it is also a facility where a dying art is being preserved, keeping alive the romance of steam-powered locomotives.
The shop provides steam locomotive parts and repairs steam trains belonging to many favorite tourist destinations.
Repairs can be as minor as fixing a steam valve, or as major as a complete frame-up locomotive rebuild.
The growing demand for Tweetsie Railroad's repair services comes in part because of the diminishing number of steam engine restoration facilities still in existence today. The last commercial steam engine was manufactured in the l950s as coal and oil power gave way to the more efficient diesel-electric engines.
“As the leader of the third-generation locomotive shop crew at Tweetsie Railroad, I take great pride in carrying on the legacy started by Frank Coffey in 1956. Passing down the skills and knowledge necessary to keep our famous steam engines #12 and #190 running smoothly now and well into the future is becoming a lost art,” says R. Matthew Ernst, Tweetsie’s Director of Engineering. Ernst continues, “Having personally worked for Mr. Coffey, he taught me the importance of doing everything right with the utmost care and precision down to a thousandth of an inch. You must be 100% thorough to keep things safe. My crew and I are now passing this knowledge and these values to the next generation of Tweetsie Railroad locomotive shop mechanics.”
Our Steam Locomotive Shop was originally started by Frank Coffey, a Master Mechanic who helped deliver Tweetsie's revered No. 12 engine to its current Blowing Rock home in 1957. Coffey died in 1999, but left his legacy in the form of new generations of steam locomotive mechanics who learned their craft from him.
Since it's virtually impossible to find replacement steam locomotive parts, our machinists and welders must manufacture their own. Castings are made in foundries , and Tweetsie's staff and machine tools are used to cut and finish the needed replacement parts. The train repair operations moved into a new 5,000-square-foot facility in 1997. A separate paint room is capacious enough to accommodate an entire locomotive and tender, and the finished product rolls out with jewel-like quality.
Our crew keeps No. 12 and the No. 190, "Yukon Queen," in top running order for the flood of visitors annually to Tweetsie Railroad. Every trip is a new challenge for the engineer and fireman who operate locomotives that consume 5,000 gallons of water and four tons of coal each and every day. Though it is over 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, No. 12 chugs its way through hundreds of trips every season. The engines need a complete overhaul every fifteen to twenty years. In 1999, a total restoration of No. 12 brought it to better-than-new condition. A complete restoration of No. 190 was completed in the spring of 2000.
The following is a partial list of parts available for your 24"- or 36"-gauge Crown trains. Here is a downloadable page of our parts list.
Driving Box Assembly / Pedestal Adjusting Screw / Spring Assembly / Equalizer Pin / Eccentric Assembly
Link Assembly / Valve Assembly / Crosshead Assembly / Crank Pin / Pony Truck Assembly / Brake Shoes or Pads
Steam Valve Gaskets / Piston Rod Packing / Valve Rod Packing / Cylinder Cock / 1/2 x 3/4 Soft Plug
Lubricator Check Valve / Reverse Lever / New Lubricator / Safety Valves / 4 x 5 Bolt Water Glass
1/2-Gauge Cocks / Bell Ringers / 1-1/2 Square Head Sealed Brass Boiler Plugs