Beyond Buckeye Rails: Spencer, N.C.

Beyond Buckeye Rails: Spencer N.C.
By Giles Kennedy
The Ohio Railroader

There is only one statement to describe the North Carolina Transportation Museum.
It is the hidden gem of the South for railroad friends.
Let’s just make it clear; no matter if you live in Mooresville, N.C. (1 hour distance) or Westerville, OH (nearly 7 hours away), it’s a drive. But, it is so worth the drive and visit.

They are open Tuesday-Saturday year round, and May-September have regular schedule train rides with their vintage railroad diesels.

My wife, daughter, and I’s visit there was extremely pleasant. We arrived right before the first train ride at 10:00 a.m. (Again, train rides throughout the day; check website for details. First one departs at 11:00 a.m. See website and schedule for details)

We explored the Master Mechanic Shops and Flue Shops prior to our 11:00 train ride. Revolving exhibits are in the main hall next to the gift shop in the Master Mechanic building. Then there is a sweet collection of rare cars are in the Flue Shop.

The Back Lot Building (largest building next to the roundhouse) is currently going through restoration. However various events are held in there due to the size of the building.

The Roundhouse is amazing. The majority of displays are railroad related. Stalls hold current and restoring pieces of history.

The Rolling Stock Display, The Spencer Worker, The Railroad and North Carolina, The Restoration Shop and Riding the Rails encompass the roundhouse. If properly explored; this whole facility could take a day to soak in.

As an added bonus, the NC Transportation Museum will be the approved workshop for restoration of Norfolk and Western J-Class 611. While details on when she should arrive have not been released; keep tabs on the and for news and details.

Spencer is also next to Norfolk Southern mainlines. Although I did not get the chance to railfan; there were at least 20 trains that rolled through on a Thursday. Decent traffic for any main line.

A great place to eat near the NC Transportation Museum is Jennie Lynn’s

Only open middays; it is worth the stop to eat. It is right across the street from the museum. Have your ticket stubs handy for 10% off your meal.

Nearby is a great hobby shop, Little Choo Choo Shop.

Vacation Part 2 2013 041The staff is friendly and both Jennie Lynn’s and Little Choo Choo are frequented by NCTM staff.

Salisbury, N.C. is next to Spencer; so Amtrak connections and lodging is available there. Plenty of places to railfan in both towns as well.

So, please; if you have the chance…check out Spencer. This Ohio Railroader will be back for sure.

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