The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 8: Last Order


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.

The Final Days: Color View
Date: 1950
Engine Number 11 is decked out with flags for the last inspection train of company officials in September 1950.  The train is in Elizabethton and the end is imminent for the historic narrow gauge railway.



Last Order
Date: 1950
Cy Crumley hands Walter Allison the last order, October 16, 1950 at O'Brien's Crossing, State Line Road in Elizabethton. Brownie Allison is up on the pilot and Mack Luttrell over on the side.  Mrs. Allison told me that Brownie was so upset that he did not eat anything for two days after the last trip.


Last Order Reprint
Date: 1950
I took a photo of the last train order on the Narrow Gauge ET&WNC in the 1970s and here is a copy. Unfortunately the original was "borrowed" by a noted railroad historian and never returned.


The Final Lap
Date: 1950
Number 11 clears the water out of her cylinders before coupling up to the train on October 16, 1950.


1950 Crew
Date: 1950

The crew on October 16, 1950. Cy Crumley, Walter Allison, retired conductor George Q Williams, Mack Luttrell, and Brownie Allison. Looks like Mr. Hobbs back there in the suit and probably Dee Whitson checking that brake cylinder.



Official Train
Date: 1949
Passing out the orders for one of the official trains.  Mr. Crumley has that cigar fired up.


11 at Valley Forge
Date: 1950
The 11 kicks up the dust at Valley Forge coming home from Cranberry Sept 24, 1950.  The coach and excursion car later went to Tweetsie Railroad.


Board of Directors
Date: 1950

The crew of the last Board of Directors train, September 24, 1950.  From left is Company lawyer James Epps and his grandson, Fireman Earl Vest, Cy Crumley, Engineer Brownie Allison, Brakeman Jim Salyers, Trainmaster Loy Herrell, and Supt. Clarence Hobbs.  Picture made at O’Brien Crossing, State Line Road, Elizabethton.


11 Toward Cranberry
Date: 1950

The last run smokes it up heading toward Cranberry October 16 1950.  I didn't get a good copy negative of this one and it was a great shot before it disappeared.


Jim Dowdy
Date: 1936
From his son Mike, Jim Dowdy on the Linville River 28.  Jim went to work for the narrow gauge way back, then left and worked all over the United States on different railroads.  He came back to the ET&WNC in the 1940s, and retired there about 1974. He had a tremendous picture collection which is now at the Archives of Appalachia as the James T. Dowdy Collection.


11 Takes Coal
Date: 1950

Number 11 takes coal September 24, 1950 at the Elizabethton Engine house.  After the war all the remaining narrow gauge equipment was moved to O'Brien's crossing as a western terminal.  The third rail was pulled up from Johnson City to O'Brien at that time.


At Pardee Point
Date: 1950
Brownie Allison, Mr. Crumley, and Earl Vest at Pardee Point with company officials in 1950.


11 at Pardee Point
Date: 1950

More photos from 1950 at Pardee Point as the days for the Tweetsie narrow gauge are winding down. We are fortunate folks knew a mighty historic era was coming to an end and documented events well.


Last Run Crew
Date: 1950

A distinguished ET&WNC crew including Brownie Allison, Walter Allison, Cy Crumley, Kenneth Jobe and George Q. Williams serve on the last run of the narrow gauge.


Last Order 2
Date: 1950
Cy Crumley gives Brownie Allison his copy of the train order for the last run of the Narrow Gauge ET&WNC Railroad.  October 16, 1950.


Boarding Train
Date: 1950

Brownie Allison takes in a little air from the cab as the passengers board the September 1950 official train.

11 Last Run
Date: 1950

Jack Alexander and Vince Ryan

Number 11 getting hot for the last run, October 16, 1950.  A lot of the photos made on the last run were made by Jack Alexander and Vince Ryan.  They were a couple of Yankees that came down here a lot and became good friends with the Crumleys and Allisons. I didn't know them, but I hear they were great guys. Jack and Vince were noted railfans that created impressive video footage of Tweetsie in its final narrow gauge years. The Archives of Appalachia and the ET&WNC National Railway Historical Society are working to have these films preserved and transferred to dvd.

A stirring account of Tweetsie's Last Run was authored by Jack Alexander in an article for Trains magazine in January 1951. (Bart Davis Collection)


Narrow Gauge Final Tribute
Date: 1951

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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005