The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 5a: Bemberg

Your host and narrator for this tour is Ken Riddle, close personal friend of Cy Crumley, legendary conductor of this great railroad. From 1906 until 1960, Cy worked on the ET&WNC as Brakeman and Conductor. This is his scrapbook of those years and his story.

Click on each photo to see a larger view.

Paul Fletcher
Date: 1940
Fireman Paul Fletcher, 1940.  Paul was a great guy.  His dad, Nat Fletcher, was the agent at Newland and also had worked at Linville, Pineola, and Hampton.  His brother Herman was a brakeman for a long time. Paul was the fireman and conductor at Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park for many years after he retired.  His conductor's uniform is on display in the Avery County Museum in Newland.



Bemberg Rayon Plant
Date: 1930s
Postcard from the American Bemberg Plant (opened in 1926) which along with the Glanzstoff rayon plant in Elizabethton, Tennessee were major customers of the Tweetsie for decades. Shown below is a later view of the Glanzstoff plant (opened in 1928) after it was known as North American Rayon. Note the small brick Bemberg - (later Port Rayon) ET&WNC train depot shown across from the plant in the photo below. Postcards courtesy of Bob L. Cox.

North American Rayon Plant
Date: 1940s

Aerial View
Date: 1940's

Aerial View 2
Date: 1940's

Date: 1940's


Shell Creek
Date: 1940's

Here is Engine number 9 at Shell Creek during World War II.  The 9 was bought to take over the passenger train when the first number 8 would not pull the new, heavier train. World War II brought new business to Tweetsie and revenues were solid.

This picture was made of one of the "labor trains" that ran from Cranberry to Bemberg three times a day to bring workers to the rayon plants.  The rayon plants were vital facilities during the war years producing parachutes. The trains ran actually six times a day, around the clock, with the shifts.  They were put on in early 1942 and taken off after V-J day.  Gasoline and tires were rationed, so riding the train to work was very popular. Mr. Crumley had a regular job as passenger train conductor on the day shift trains.


Date: 1943
Engine 12, June 8, 1943 with a war-time freight train.  She is stopped right on what is now the entrance road to Doe River Gorge Camp at Hampton.




War-Time Freight
Date: 1943

Same place, same time as photo above.  June 8 1943, access road to Doe River Gorge Camp.  Big John Lewis, Engineer, Chester Ford, Fireman, Fred "Casey" Jones, Brakeman.




Valley Forge
Date: 1940's
Number 9 brings the labor train across the Valley Forge trestle during World War II.  This bridge is right where the Valley Forge bridge on 19-E is today.


Date: 1940s
Engineer Fred "Where's the Camera" Helton and fireman TIghteye Simerly back the 12 through Elizabethton during the labor train days.  Watch where you are going, Fred! …And when you get a second get Andy to fix that leaky rivet on the tender!



Newland Trestle Failure
Date: 1932
Cy documented this trestle failure in Newland by the following series of photos. It was obviously not as stout as they thought it was. The engine, (I think it is number 10) dropped through and just about turned over.

Note on the photo above, how Cy originally wrote his notes directly on the photos in the scrapbook. His handwriting and spelling were not all that polished. Below in the photo he typed his captions and taped them onto the photos. Fortunately image editing via computer can now restore damage to the photos from the tape and pasting into the albums. I want to leave some of them as Cy prepared them as it was his labor and love for Tweetsie that preserved and documented many of these great historic images.


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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005