SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum welcomes back the warmer weather season with a day full of family fun. The 2013 Spring Kick Off will be held March 9, featuring a steam engine pulling a train full of cabooses, unlimited rides on the museum’s regular passenger train, model railroaders, photo opportunities with some of the museum’s coolest equipment and kids’ crafts and games.
It is always a treat to see steam return to the N.C. Transportation Museum. For the Spring Kick Off, the LeHigh Valley #126 steam engine will be pulling a special Caboose Train. Featuring five of the museum’s colorful cabooses, riding along in this train provides a different perspective for visitors, looking on from the cupola from above.
Originally built in 1931, the LeHigh Valley #126 steam engine was used in the coal industry in Pennsylvania during its working career. Completely restored by the Gramling Locomotive Works in 1993, the engine travels the country, appearing at railroad museums. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see and hear this iron horse of the past as it chugs down the tracks.
Ticket buyers will have access to unlimited train rides on the museum’s regular passenger train during the Spring Kick Off. Operating on an extended schedule, passengers will get a “from the rails” view of the museum property, riding in 1950s-era passenger cars and pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive engine. The 25 minute narrated train ride tells the story of this state historic site.
For a smaller view of the railroading world, the museum will welcome back the Atlantic Coast S-Gaugers, a staple at many of the site’s larger events. The model railroading group will set up their impressive display in the Back Shop. The attention to detail and effort to create these model layouts is something to behold. .
The museum will be pulling some cool equipment out of the display areas for photo opportunities throughout the day. The museum’s 1929 Ford Model AA Fire Truck, the 1935 Highway Patrol Car and the Deuce and a Half military truck will all be positioned on site for photo opportunities and viewing.
Soaring above it all will be model airplanes from the Rowan Aero Modelers, with their radio controlled airplanes of all shapes and sizes. Taking off from the lower parking lot, the radio controlled air craft will be flying throughout the day.
The day will not be complete without a stop by the Hobo Jungle. A box car serves as home to these characters, hobos who ride the rails without paying the fare. Our museum hobos will talk about life on the tracks and how real life hobos lived on the move.
Several kids’ activities will be available during the Spring Kick Off, including one with some railroad history attached to it. Kids will be able to drop off their personalized messages on one of the museum’s most impressive pieces of equipment, the Railway Post Office car. On long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institute, this unique rail car helped to move mail across the country in the days before air planes and interstate highway travel.
Kids will also be able to enjoy coloring areas and temporary tattoos in the Wagons, Wheels & Wings exhibit space, as well as sidewalk chalk and other activities just outside.
Tickets for the March 9 Spring Kick Off will be available at the museum on the day of the event. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and active military and $10 for children 3-12. The price includes unlimited rides on the museum’s passenger train and all activities. Rides on the Caboose Train pulled by the LeHigh Valley steam locomotive are an additional $6 per person, per ride. Turntable rides are $1 per person.