From the NC Transportation Museum: A big weekend is coming up at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.
The museum is hosting the annual Historic Spencer Shops Train Show Saturday, Aug. 20 from 9am to 5pm and Sunday, Aug. 21 from 10am to 4pm. It is an event that appeals to die-hard rail fans as well as those with a casual interest in trains.
Multiple train rides will be offered, along with railroad vendors with memorabilia of all types, great model train layouts, an up-close look at the Civil-War era Texas locomotive, special tours, visiting rail equipment from Norfolk Southern, motor car and turntable rides, hobby experts, authors, and more.
Event vendors will cover more than 100 tables with railroad memorabilia of all types, including commercial hobby dealers and private collectors with all scales and types of model railroad equipment, publications, videos, artwork and apparel. Vendors will be located in the Bob Julian Roundhouse, just steps away from historic rail equipment and the original 1924 turntable.
Chances to ride the rails include the museum's regular passenger train, featuring a narrated 25-minute ride around the museum's 60-acre property, as well as the caboose train, with colorful cabooses allowing a different view from the rails. Train rides will be offered Saturday at 10:30, 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30pm. On Sunday, rides are offered at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30pm.
Visitors can take a spin on the roundhouse turntable rides and ride along in track repair motor cars from Red Springs and Northern Railroad. Both will be offered at the Bob Julian Roundhouse throughout the event, upon request.
Model railroad enthusiasts will have lots to see with HO, N, S, and G scale layouts operating during the show. Members of the Carolina Southern Division of the National Model Railroad Association will demonstrate the basics of modeling. Attendees will be able to practice their skills switching freight cars on several small layouts and can watch and learn as portable layout modules are built.
A special feature of the Historic Spencer Shops Train Show will be restoration tours with the Civil War era Texas locomotive, now visiting from the Atlanta History Center. This participant in the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War, ran down the stolen General locomotive, and later became an icon of the rebuilding of the city of Atlanta during Reconstruction. Tours will discuss the history of the locomotive and current cosmetic restoration efforts.
Also visiting the museum will be the Norfolk Southern hazmat safety train. The 2,000-horsepower, 273-ton locomotive at the head of this train features a paint scheme honoring emergency responders with insignia recognizing police, fire, and emergency services. Two boxcars have been converted into classrooms, each capable of holding 30 people for training sessions. Tank cars and flat cars are also part of the train, allowing examples of the different types of rail equipment first responders might encounter.
Railroad author and noted North Carolina historian Matthew Bumgarner will discuss his new book, Saluda: From Top to Bottom. The book details the 66 miles of dangerous track that includes the Saluda grade.
Tony Reevy will present his newest publication, The Railroad Photography of Jack Delano. Reevy details the stunning photographs created by the Ukrainian immigrant. Best known for his work for the Office of War Information during 1940–1943, Delano is said to have captured the face of American Railroading.
The museum's own exhibits will be highlighted with private rail car tours, featuring luxurious cars from the heyday of rail travel. Tours will feature the "Doris," passenger car, owned by Duke Energy Founder James B. Duke, and the "Loretto," formerly owned by investment expert Charles Schwab.
Staff will even give time to the museum's four wheeled vehicles. Auto collection tours will take place in the Bumper to Bumper exhibit.
Entry to the Historic Spencer Shops Train Show is $5 for adults, seniors, and active military and free for children up to 12, in addition to the museum's regular admission fees. Caboose Train rides and turntable rides require additional tickets. All other offerings are included with museum and train show admission. A full listing of ticket options, member discounts, and advance purchase options are available at www.nctrans.org.
The N.C. Transportation Museum is located minutes from I-85 in Spencer, N.C., about an hour's drive from Charlotte, Greensboro, or Winston Salem. From I-85, take Exit 79 and follow the brown Historic Sites directional signs. You can also take North Carolina's Amtrak train to get to the event. Free trolley service will be available from the Salisbury Depot to the N.C. Transportation Museum and back each day. Visit www.ncbytrain.org for more information on train ride schedules and pricing.