A "Rail" big day coming to the NC Transportation Museum

A "Rail" big day coming to the NC Transportation Museum

Spencer, NC (WBTV) - From the North Carolina Transportation Museum:

A 57 acre site filled with railroading history and heritage is the most natural place to celebrate National Train Day. With the help of Norfolk Southern Corporation, the N.C. Transportation Museum's May 9 event will feature visiting rail equipment, a high profile band, N&W 611 restoration tours and more. Of course, the museum will also be offering multiple train rides, activities for kids, a sneak peek inside luxurious private rail cars, and a message of railroading safety.

The most recent addition to this major railroading event is the confirmation of the N&W Class J #611 tours. This iconic black and burgundy streamliner locomotive has been visiting from the Virginia Museum of Transportation while undergoing a complete restoration. With the 611 Send Off Celebration scheduled at the end of May, opportunities to visit this engine before she steams back to Virginia are becoming limited. Tours May 9 will happen at 10:30, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Two train rides will be available during National Train Day, and they will both feature something special

The museum's regular passenger train will be pulled by two of the museum's Southern locomotives. As a special treat to rail fans, the Southern FP7 #6133 and the Southern E8 #6900 will doublehead, placed back to back at the front of the train. While passengers ride around the 57 acre historic site, hearing the history of Spencer Shops, rail fan photographers will be able to take great photos of this rare occurrence at the museum.

The museum's Caboose Train is a regular feature at special events, giving passengers an "above the rails" view of the museum, featuring six colorful cabooses. The Caboose Train is a unique experience, providing those in the cupola with a different train ride view.

Making it even more unique this year, the Caboose Train will be pulled by one of two Norfolk Southern "heritage fleet" locomotives, new engines created with paint schemes that tell a story and communicate a message.

The Southern Railway SD40 #3170 will be pulling the Caboose Train. It is the newest "heritage fleet" addition for Norfolk Southern, and sure to be a highlight for rail fans. Having served on the railroad's lines for more than 30 years, the engine was saved from the back lot and rebuilt into operating condition. Painted in classic Southern Railway black, the #3170 will go back into revenue service following the museum event. A second heritage locomotive, the NS Veteran's unit #6920, will also be on hand. It bears a red, white, and blue paint scheme and yellow ribbon with the special message, "Honoring our Veterans."

Norfolk Southern is providing their NS Exhibit Car for the event. Showcasing all the benefits of rail freight transportation, this car has seen more than 1.5 million visitors since 1971.

NS Archivist Jennifer McDaid will be on hand, showing off some of the company's Class J 611 Steam Locomotive memorabilia.

Norfolk Southern's official band, The Lawmen, will provide the perfect soundtrack. One of the nation's top corporate entertainers, The Lawmen have appeared on national television, at the Grand Ole Opry, at the Smithsonian Institution, and played during the Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive event in 2012 and during last year's massive Streamliners at Spencer festival.

Those who love trains on a smaller scale will not be disappointed. Model train layouts will be hosted by several different modeling groups, including the Atlantic Coast S-Gaugers, Beaver Creek Railroad G-Scale Modelers, the Winston-Salem Rail Buddies and their O-Scale layout, and a massive layout from three N-scale modeling groups, the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club, the Central Carolina N-Scalers, and the Lynchburg Area N-Scalers.

Visitors can see what it was like to travel in luxury during the height of the railroad era. Retiring Museum Foundation Historian Walter Turner and Volunteer Pete Prunkl will provide tours of the museum's private rail cars. The Doris belonged to industrialist James B. Duke. The Loretto belonged Charles M. Schwab, the first president of US Steel, and was later sold to textile industrialist Elliott Springs. Tours to see how the rich and powerful traveled in style will take place at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Kids and parents can also see how the railroad delivered the mail in the golden age of railroading, as the museum's Railway Post Office car will be attached to the passenger train. Equipped with an arm to "catch" bags of mail as the train rolls by, kids and parents can "mail" a postcard on site. The train will pick up the bags of mail, stamp them and return them to visitors with the official N.C. Transportation Museum seal of delivery.

Appearing in the Bob Julian Roundhouse, "Operation Lifesaver" is an effort to teach the public about safety around the rails. In promotion of their national public awareness campaign, "See Tracks? Think Train," Operation Lifesaver will have great giveaways for kids and adults.

The N.C. Transportation Museum always has fun things for kids during our major events. Located beside the gift shop, Wagons, Wheels & Wings will have kids' crafts with something fun your little one to make and take home, as well as temporary tattoos, face painting, bubbles and sidewalk chalk, Thomas play tables, a bounce house shaped like a train and a giant slide.

Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and active military, and $4 for kids 3-12. For those wishing to attend and ride one train, admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and active military, and $8 for kids 3-12. For admission and both on site trains, visitors should add $6/person to their purchase. Tickets will be available at the Barber Junction Visitor's Center on the day of the event.

The museum will be providing shuttle service to and from the Salisbury Amtrak station during the event. Those wishing to take Amtrak should visitwww.ncbytrain.org.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with train rides at 10:30, 11:15 a.m., 1, 1:45, 2:30, 3:15 and 4:00 p.m.

Please visit www.nctrans.org for more information.