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.
"The crew of Tweetsie's train shop takes great pride in what we do. Each job must be done with great precision and extreme attention to detail. Certain components on a steam locomotive must be made to specifications within a thousandth of an inch," says Scott McLeod, Tweetsie's chief of engineering. McLeod continues, "That amount of professionalism, quality, and craftsmanship can be seen in everything we do—from a complete locomotive restoration, to painting a single train part."
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 nearly 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.
During our annual Railroad Heritage Weekend each September, Rail fans who purchase a weekend pass can tour this unique facility and see the veteran shop crew preserve the art of steam locomotive repair and restoration.
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
Call or email for pricing or to order:
Train Shop Phone
Train Shop Fax
Train Shop Email
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605