Spencer, NC (WBTV) - From the North Carolina Transportation Museum
Following an amazingly successful presentation of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, one final seasonal tradition remains at the N.C. Transportation Museum as the new year approaches. Special "Winter Fever Train Rides" are offered for families during the down-time between Christmas and New Year's festivities, Dec. 27, 28 and 31.
After the hustle and bustle of shopping, family gatherings and company parties, the week between the holidays provides time for family fun. "Winter Fever Train Rides" give families a great opportunity to visit the museum, browse new exhibits, visit the museum's Gift Station, and enjoy a 25 minute train ride around the former Spencer Shops locomotive repair facility, a State Historic Site.
This year, there is more to see than ever before at the museum that moves you. Currently under restoration, the visiting Class J 611 Passenger Steam Locomotive, owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, has been occupying a big spot in the Bob Julian Roundhouse. Visitors have been able to see this massive engine for the past several months as the Fire Up 611! crew brings her back to life.
An iconic engine, the Class J 611 was built in 1950 and pulled the Powhatan Arrow for nine years. The locomotive was retired from passenger rail service and displayed at the Virginia Museum of Transportation (VMT), where she remained until being restored in 1981. She was retired again in 1994, and again placed on display at the VMT, but rail fans have clamored to have the 611 back on the tracks ever since.
The Class J 611 was brought to Spencer due to the size and space the Bob Julian Roundhouse offers for repairs. When complete, the 611 will be moved back to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
Not only is the 611 still available for viewing, but 611 Restoration Tours will be offered during "Winter Fever Train Rides," Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 27 and 28, at 1:30 p.m. each day. The tours detail the work that is already complete and the work left to be done during the first months of 2015. Tours require $5/person in addition to museum admission.
There is more to see in the museum's permanent collection as well. Exhibit additions this year include a 1910 Buick automobile, a DIVCo Milk Truck, a goat sulky, a 1937 McCormmick Deering Farmall iron-wheeled tractor, a classic 1965 Mustang, and two items specifically designated as teaching items, meaning visitors can touch them and kids can play on them, a late model Highway Patrol Ford Crown Victoria and 1966 Fire Truck.
Tickets for the museum's "Winter Fever Train Rides" can be purchased at the Barber Junction Visitor's Center at the N.C. Transportation Museum on each event day. Museum admission plus the train ride is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and active military and $8 for children 3-12. Admission only is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and active military and $4 for ages 3-12.