New Engine at Little Tweetsie

There’s a new engine at Little Tweetsie and the owner (Zeb “DoDah” Banner) has been running it non-stop for the last few days.

The proud new owner of the yet-to-be-named little gas switcher (perhaps a future Thomas the Tank Engine) is 2 year old Zeb “Do-Dah” Banner, the grandson of Greg and Amy Gardner, innkeepers at Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast in Banner Elk, NC and hosts to Little Tweetsie Railroad.

New Engine at Little TweetsieThe new engine at Little Tweetsie, is not new at all. Instead, the little guy started life at a KOA Campground in Durango CO, around 1970. Then was sold to a friend of a friend of a friend, who helped the engine make its way to the Carolinas and Central Carolina Live Steamers and Triad Live Steamers, where it spent several years and underwent some engine changes. Additional linkage and transmission troubles finally brought the engine to Megan and Justin Trivett, at High Country Small Engine Repair, where it received a brand new motor and some much needed tinder loving care.

About a week ago, the “new” engine was picked up by the new owner, 2-year old DoDah Banner and he has begun giving the engine a proper breaking in.

It’s a simple engine with simple throttle system; simply pull the throttle bar back and the engine goes forward. Push the bar and the little guys starts backing down the track.

At only 2 years old, the new engine at Little Tweetsie might have been too fast for little DoDah, but he’s a smart young train lover and has kept his engine under control and well in hand. In fact, the only mishaps have come from full-size passengers receiving rides. It’s easy to displace the riding car, which is a 25-year old Radio Flyer Wagon on bobber caboose trucks.

Zeb has spent about 2 hours a day for the last several days, riding the trains and practicing his trainman skills.

He invites you to join him and his grandfather, for summer train fun at Banner Haven B&B and Little Tweetsie Railroad.

Welcome Back Little Tweetsie Railroad

Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast would like to welcome back Little Tweetsie Railroad for another season in Banner Elk, NC.

Little Tweestie RailroadLittle Tweetsie Railroad has been a fixture at Banner Haven for almost three years and many people have been here to enjoy the train; kids of all ages. There have been a few birthday parties and many happy children, ages 3 to 73.

Several trains have come to visit and we hope that continues this season. The track is being modified to accommodate larger locomotives. The “driveway turn” has a tight radius and some trains can derail. A slight track movement will widen that turn and allow for proper tracking of larger trains.

In addition, a late summer addition, may be a 36 foot twin-track tunnel to allow two engine to pass each other in the double track tunnel.

This will be quite an undertaking and we hope you will come enjoy the modified layout and tunnel, later this summer.

Please watch the Little Tweetsie Railroad website for details about operating dates.

Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast will offer limited accommodations to visitors. We offer a stand-alone cabin (breakfast not included) with its own small kitchen, directly beside the railroad track.

We also offer periodic availability in the main house, bed and breakfast for up to 6 people. Call for availability.

Little Tweestie Railroad has been around for several decades and has a long tradition of operation from the Carolinas and Virginia to Florida and areas in between. That tradition was begun by John Bardon and is being carried on by Greg and Amy Gardner, and their Grandson Zeb.

You will often find Zeb helping his grandfather “drive” the locomotive and many times find him riding in one of the beautiful cars, modeled after the original ET&WNC coaches from the early 1900’s.

For more information about Banner Haven B&B or Little Tweetsie Railroad, please call Greg at 980-329-8101

Little Tweetsie Getting New Track

Little Tweetsie Back on Track

Little Tweetsie lost her track in November after it was stacked in the garage for the winter and someone stole it. But, this will only slow her down temporarily. New Grass, fresh plantings, and new track means a completely new layout by summer.

Little Tweetsie

Little Tweetsie

We hope the friends, neighbors, guests and passers by will stop and enjoy Little Tweetsie this summer.

Built by John Barden over more than 10 years, Little Tweetsie has belonged to 3 people during her life. Traveling much of the east coast during that time. From the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia to Florida, Little Tweetsie has visited many tracks over the years and pulled everything from her own Little Tweetsie cars to 44 car freight trains. She has pulled passengers, adults and children alike, around short tracks of less than 1000 feet and large tracks that consists of miles of track. Like her full-size counterpart, she is a versatile live steam locomotive with lots of power and not even stolen track will stop her.

This Little Engines locomotive started life as a kit and received many years of loving construction and detailing before being purchased by Greg and Amy Gardner. In fact, many people have said the Little Tweetsie is one of the most detailed 1.5″ Scale locomotives on the east coast. Not only does she run on coal and steam, she has a steam whistle and can pull as much scale weight as has full size counterpart.

Come see Little Tweetsie run this summer, at Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast in Banner Elk, NC.

Bookmark our website and watch for a new calendar of events. We will be posting a running schedule for the summer. Also plan on attending the Banner Elk 4th of July Parade, where you are sure to see Little Tweetsie and her twin sister, the #190 Engine, which is also located in Banner Elk, NC. The two engines will be steaming their way down Main St in their home town.

Banner Haven & Banner Elk Railroad (BH & BERR) – Little Tweetsie

Little Tweetsie – BH & BERR

Little Tweetsie (Banner Haven & Banner Elk Railroad) is a 1.5″ Scale and 7.5″ Gauge coal-fired steam powered locomotive built by John Barden. Little Tweetsie runs on coal and steam just like her full-sized counterpart at Tweetsie Railroad Amusement Park.

Riding at Powers Mill Primitives

Riding at Powers Mill Primitives

This pint-sized version has run on tracks from Tennessee and Virginia to the Carolinas and Florida, pulling and many as 44 cars. Some cars weigh 200-300 pounds and this Little Engine is capable of pulling more than 4 tons on a level track. Generating up to 130 psi of usable steam power, the boiler and steam pistons can produce a great deal of power and propel the engine and engineer more than 30 mph.

The Banner Haven Bed and Breakfast Innkeeper, Greg Gardner, has had a lifelong interest in trains, beginning with HO and N scale tracks as a child and continuing with large G scale outdoor layouts as an adult. TheĀ fascination continues and his collection of trains has now grown to include “Li’l Tweetsie” as this engine has become known.

Li'l Tweetsie

Little Tweetsie Steam Blow Off

Friends, neighbors and future guests will have the opportunity to see and ride Little Tweetsie as early as next summer or fall, as track is added to the Yard at Banner Haven B&B.

Watch this site and book your stay at Banner Haven for an up close visit with Little Tweetsie, starting in the spring of 2016.

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Join us here and on Facebook for Little Tweetsie updates and more photos, as she continues to come to life at Banner Haven and other railroads nearby.