The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (GSMR) operates primarily as a tourist railroad and carried approximately 167,000 passengers in 2004. It also handles some freight shipments along its 53 miles of track.

Located in one of the most economically disadvantaged counties in North Carolina, the GSMR is one of the largest employers in the area. It employs about 46 people full-time and nearly 140 seasonal employees.

The GSMR provides an estimated $50 million in economic benefits to the region annually.