Three Rivers Rambler

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Three Rivers Rambler
View of Volunteer Landing from Neyland Stadium showing the Three Rivers Rambler parked underneath the roadway bridges
Service type Tourist train
Locale Knoxville, Tennessee
Current operator(s) KXHR
Average journey time90 minutes
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s) Gulf and Ohio Railways

The Three Rivers Rambler is a tourist train in Knoxville, Tennessee along the Tennessee River. The train is operated by the Knoxville and Holston River Railroad, a subsidiary of Gulf and Ohio Railways.

Knoxville, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Knoxville is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Knox County. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 178,874, and is Tennessee's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which was 868,546 in 2015.

Tennessee River River in the United States

The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles (1,049 km) long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names, as many of the Cherokee had their territory along its banks, especially in eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. Its current name is derived from the Cherokee village Tanasi.

Knoxville and Holston River Railroad

The Knoxville and Holston River Railroad operates over 18.98 miles (30.55 km) within Knoxville and Marbledale, Tennessee. This short line railroad was created in 1998 and is currently owned by Gulf and Ohio Railways. The railroad also hosts a tourist train run by Gulf & Ohio Railways, the Three Rivers Rambler.



The ride starts at a depot located at 2560 University Commons Way. The train heads out towards the river, going past the County Building, and under the Henley Street and Gay Street Bridges. The train passes the Star of Knoxville riverboat and the locomotive's watertower and shed at the end of Volunteer Landing, where it parallels the Knox County Greenways down the river to the Governor Ned McWherter Riverside Landing Park. Beyond McWherter Park the train goes through the General Shale Brick Company and the Knoxville Utilities Board water treatment plant. The train then follows the river for a ways past Knoxville Downtown Island Airport, before turning away from the river and going under Riverside Drive and past the Hines Compost Company. The train then reaches the Three Rivers Trestle (also known as the Forks of the River Bridge and built in 1913), [1] where the French Broad River and the Holston River come together to form the Tennessee River. After the trestle is crossed, the Rambler heads back into town along the same tracks. The trip takes an average of 90 minutes.

Gay Street Bridge Bridge in Knoxville, TN, USA over the Tennessee River

The Gay Street Bridge is a vehicle bridge that crosses the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Completed in 1898, the 1,512-foot (461 m) bridge is the oldest of four vehicle bridges connecting Downtown Knoxville with South Knoxville, the other three being the Henley Street Bridge, the Buck Karnes Bridge, and the James C. Ford Memorial Bridge.

Riverboat watercraft designed for inland navigation

A riverboat is a watercraft designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways. They are generally equipped and outfitted as work boats in one of the carrying trades, for freight or people transport, including luxury units constructed for entertainment enterprises, such as lake or harbour tour boats. As larger water craft, virtually all riverboats are especially designed and constructed, or alternatively, constructed with special-purpose features that optimizes them as riverine or lake service craft, for instance, dredgers, survey boats, fisheries management craft, fireboats and law enforcement patrol craft.

Knoxville Downtown Island Airport airport in Tennessee, United States of America

Knoxville Downtown Island Airport or Knoxville Downtown Island Home Airport, often referred to as Island Home Airport, is a general aviation airport located approximately one-half mile east of downtown Knoxville, in Knox County, Tennessee, United States.


Washington & Lincolnton #203

Washington & Lincolnton #203, Lindy, was built in 1925 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a 2-8-0 Consolidation built for the Washington & Lincolnton Railroad in Georgia. In 1932, the W&L went out of business so the 203 was sold to the Rockton & Rion Railroad in South Carolina. But because she proved she wasn't up to the heavy loads, she was placed in storage in Rockton. Occasionally she would be brought out to switch freight cars in Anderson Quarry. She last ran in the 1960s. In 1977, #203 was sold to the Trilby, San Antonio & Cypress Railroad, known as the Orange Belt Route, a tourist line in Florida. In 1983, #203 was sold to the Mississippi Railway & Transportation Museum. In 1990, the engine was sold to the Waccamaw Coast Line Railroad. By 1995, #203 once again was sold to Gulf & Ohio Railways and was restored in 1999. She is set to run on select days of the year and the Christmas Express in November and December. The 203 is currently out for the 1472 FRA inspection. [2]

Baldwin Locomotive Works former locomotive manufacturer from the United States of America

The Baldwin Locomotive Works (BLW) was an American manufacturer of railroad locomotives from 1825 to 1956. Originally located in Philadelphia, it moved to nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania, in the early 20th century. The company was for decades the world's largest producer of steam locomotives, but struggled to compete as demand switched to diesel locomotives. Baldwin produced the last of its 70,000-plus locomotives in 1956 and went out of business in 1972.

2-8-0 locomotive wheel arrangement

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels. In the United States and elsewhere, this wheel arrangement is commonly known as a Consolidation, after the Lehigh and Mahanoy Railroad’s Consolidation, the name of the first 2-8-0.

W and L #203 on the Three Rivers Rambler W and L 203 2012.jpg
W and L #203 on the Three Rivers Rambler

San Antonio and Aransas Pass #60

San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway #60 is a 4-4-0 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1923. The railroad was merged into Southern Pacific Railroad subsidiary Texas and New Orleans Railroad who renumbered the engine to #220. Paulsen Spence eventually bought the engine for his Louisiana Eastern Railroad, and initially numbered as 2. The engine was briefly renumbered as the second #1 until 1963 when it was sold to the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad, who had also previously bought the LE's original #1. Stone Mountain restored the engine to its original SA&AP number and named it the Texas II. The engine operated until 1983 when it came in need of boiler work and other mechanical issues, though it continued to occasionally "pull" the train while pushed by a diesel until 2002. Afterwards, the engine remained in the Stone Mountain rail yard until donated to the Gulf & Ohio in 2013. The engine is currently awaiting restoration.

The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway first began operation in the U.S. state of Texas in 1886. It was developed by Uriah Lott and businessmen of San Antonio as a direct route from the city to Aransas Bay on the Texas Gulf coast. It was eventually absorbed in the 20th century by Southern Pacific.

4-4-0 locomotive wheel arrangement

4-4-0 is a locomotive type with a classification that uses the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement and represents the arrangement: four leading wheels on two axles, four powered and coupled driving wheels on two axles, and a lack of trailing wheels. Due to the large number of the type that were produced and used in the United States, the 4-4-0 is most commonly known as the American type, but the type subsequently also became popular in the United Kingdom, where large numbers were produced.

Texas and New Orleans Railroad

The Texas and New Orleans Railroad was a railroad in Texas and Louisiana. It operated 3,713 miles (5,975 km) of railroad in 1934; by 1961, 3,385 miles (5,448 km) remained when it merged with parent company Southern Pacific.

Southern Railway #154

Southern Railway #154 is a 2-8-0 built by Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1890. She was donated to the city of Knoxville after her retirement in August 1953. In 2008 she was donated to Gulf & Ohio Railways for restoration. She began pulling trains on July 3, 2010. [3] She was one of the last steam locomotives to work in Knoxville.

Southern Railway 154 is a 2-8-0 steam locomotive built in 1890 by Schenectady Locomotive Works for Southern Railway.

Schenectady Locomotive Works Defunct locomotive manufacturer in Schenectady, New York, United States

The Schenectady Locomotive Works built railroad locomotives from its founding in 1848 through its merger into American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1901.

Chattanooga Traction Company #4

Chattanooga Traction Company #4 is an EMD SW1 switcher built in 1947. She worked as Southern, Norfolk Southern, and RJ Corman #1007 before being acquired by Gulf & Ohio for use as the motive power on the Rambler when #203 is not running.


The EMD SW1 is a 600-horsepower (450 kW) diesel-electric switcher locomotive built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Corporation between December 1938 and November 1953. Final assembly was at EMD's plant at LaGrange (McCook) Illinois. The SW1 was the second generation of 3,402 cu in (55.75 L) switcher from EMD, succeeding the SC and SW. The most significant change from those earlier models was the use of an engine of EMD's own design, the then-new 567 engine, here in 600 hp (450 kW) V6 form. 661 locomotives of this design were built, no SW1s were built after March 1943 until production started again in September 1945.

Southern Railway (U.S.) Railway company in the United States, active 1894–1990

The Southern Railway is a name of a class 1 railroad that was based in the Southern United States. The railroad is the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined, reorganized and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894.

Norfolk Southern Railway American Class I railway

The Norfolk Southern Railway is a Class I freight railroad in the United States. With headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the company operates 19,420 miles (31,250 km) route miles in 22 eastern states, the District of Columbia, and has rights in Canada over the Albany to Montréal route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and previously on CN from Buffalo to St. Thomas. NS is responsible for maintaining 28,400 miles (45,700 km), with the remainder being operated under trackage rights from other parties responsible for maintenance. The most common commodity hauled on the railway is coal from mines in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The railway also offers the largest intermodal network in eastern North America.

Three Rivers Rambler #9

Locomotive #9 is a rare EMD SW600 built in 1954. She used to be the primary power for the Rambler until the end of the 2008 season when she was sent to the K&HR's K line south of the river and was replaced by #4. She still wears her Three Rivers Rambler lettering and can often be seen from Volunteer Landing across the river at Holston Gases.

Trustworthy #838

1932-Coach Car built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company (Bethlehem Steel) for the Reading Company. Operated originally in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs as a commuter car. Retired in the 1990s.

Intrepid #879

1931-Coach Car; built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company (Bethlehem Steel) for the Reading Company. Operated originally in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs as a commuter car. Retired in the 1990s. Includes "walk over" seats (seat backs flip/reverse direction) so passengers can face forward on the return leg of the trip.


1932-Contains restrooms and gift shop. Built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company (Bethlehem Steel) for the Reading Company. Operated originally in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs as a commuter car. Retired in the 1990s.


1940-Open air car, converted from freight car.


A caboose.

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  1. KXHR - Forks Of The River Bridge
  2. "Knoxville TN Christmas Santa Railroad Steam Engine Train". Archived from the original on 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  3. "Southern 154 Restoration Project - July 2010 Update" . Retrieved 2010-08-08.