SALISBURY, NC (WBTV)
A 17th locomotive will join the N.C. Transportation Museum's upcoming Streamliners at Spencer, May 29 – June 1. The event, featuring these classic cab units gathered around the Bob Julian Roundhouse, will also feature additional exhibits for attendees, including the N.C. DOT display train and the Amtrak Exhibit Train.
The Iowa Pacific #515 is the latest locomotive to join the Streamliners at Spencer roster. The 61-year-old engine has enjoyed a long history on the rails, pulling passengers and freight through both the cold winters of Chicago and the desert heat of Arizona.
Built in June of 1953 as C&NW 5029B, it started its career pulling long-distance passenger trains for the Chicago & North Western. It was one of 11 units built at the time, all of which were rebuilt just a few years later, in 1960 and 1961, for use in Chicago commuter service.
Following another rebuild in 1974, the unit was re-lettered Metra #515, where it continued to serve the Chicago & North Western.
Eventually, the engine was acquired by Iowa Pacific Holdings for use on the Arizona Eastern Railway. Since the company operated on former Southern Pacific rail lines, the engine was repainted with a version of the Southern Pacific's "black widow" black and silver paint scheme. Wearing these colors and renumbered AZER 6070, the engine operated on the Copper Spike excursion train, running from Globe, Az. to the Apache Gold Hotel and Casino near San Carlos, Az.
Iowa Pacific Holdings sold the Arizona Eastern in 2011, but kept the #515 for use on the Saratoga and North Creek in New York.
Just two years ago, the engine was moved back to its original base of operations, in Chicago, where it pulled trips out of the Windy City to Indianapolis and Sturtevant, Wis. The engine wore the Arizona Eastern colors for these trips.
These days, however, the engine wears the colors of Iowa Pacific, inspired by the paint scheme of the Illinois Central Railroad.
Visitors to Streamliners at Spencer will enjoy more than the great display of classic locomotives built in the 30s and 50s. Additional displays will include the N. C. Department of Transportation's display train and the Amtrak Exhibit train. Each 300-foot train will feature a historic and modern focus of traveling by rail.
The N.C. DOT display train will consist of two locomotives, a baggage/lounge car and two coach cars. Each locomotive on the N.C. DOT system is named for a city along the Raleigh-to-Charlotte rail corridor and numbered for that city's year of incorporation. The City of Salisbury #1755 and the City of High Point #1859 will pull the train, with the coaches and baggage/lounge car serving as displays.
The Pamlico Sound, the Carolina Lily and the Scotch Bonnet will be open to visitors with video and power point presentations available.
The Amtrak Exhibit Train may be familiar to N.C. Transportation Museum patrons, as it visited the site as the Amtrak 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train in 2011.
With new displays and materials, the train continues to travel the country, renamed the Amtrak Exhibit Train, telling the story of Amtrak through artifacts, memorabilia and interactive exhibits. Three exhibit cars plus a gift shop, offering T-shirts, hats, posters, books and jackets, will be available to Streamliners at Spencer attendees.
During the 4 day rail festival, visitors will enjoy special operations for all locomotives on site, daytime locomotive portraits, nighttime photo shoots, the display trains and more.
A special Preview Day, featuring the last of the engines to arrive, special train movements, site preparations and more will be held May 29. Tickets for the Preview Day are $40 per person in advance. Tickets will be $45 on the day of the event.
Those who purchase their tickets by midnight, March 31, will receive a special bonus—a signed poster of Andy Fletcher's renderings of the event's attending locomotives. Posters can be picked up on the day of the event.
A special Streamliners Celebration at the Station will be held the night of May 29 at the nearby Salisbury station, featuring live music, guest speakers and a BBQ and chicken dinner for $20/person.
Regular daytime admission to Streamliners at Spencer for activities running May 30 through June 1 will be $30 for adults and $20 for children per day if purchased in advance. The price increases to $35 for adults and $25 for children per day if purchased on the day of the event.
Nighttime photo shoots Thursday through Saturday will be $25 per person, per night.
Combo tickets and group discounts will be available, along with discounts for N.C. Transportation Museum members, Norfolk Southern employees and Amtrak employees. More information about the day-to-day operations and ticket prices are available online at www.nctrans.org.
The participation of all resident and visiting locomotives is subject to timely transportation and mechanical availability.