Archive for January, 2009

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Come experience the thrill of riding the rails – see, hear, and feel railroad history.  The New Hope Valley Railway at the North Carolina Railroad Museum has monthly ride days in season from May to December, with activities, themes, and events for visitors of all ages to enjoy.  You can charter group train rides, schedule operate-a-loco, or have a birthday party in a historic caboose.

View an awesome photo gallery!

View the equipment roster! Wow!

They even have a G-Scale Garden Railroad!

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In our efforts to cover all the Live Steam clubs in NC we came across this club, located in Wilkes County. At this time we are not certain if the club is still in existence, but we hope so. Last we checked it was completely private, but had an awesome track and layout.

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The Blue Ridge Summit was started as a result of a 1980 live steam meet held at Bill Koster’s track, then in Homestead, Florida. Bob Fink’s wife, Helen, asked if anyone would like to purchase an “A” frame cabin and 3 acres of land, next to their property in North Carolina. Bob, though working in Miami, planned to retire and move to the mountains. Bill viewed this as a chance to have a summer place to go to, to cool off from the Florida summer heat. After several years Bill realized that with Bob & himself in the 7 1/2″ gauge size of railroading, they might be able to build a railroad between both properties. Due to the slope of the property, other live steamers scoffed, and said it couldn’t be done. This made them more determined.

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After a lot of planning, work started at Summit about 1988. After putting in some track, a shop/storage building was constructed. During the next 10 years, most of the spare time of both Bill & Bob was used in building the railroad. The “Golden Screw” (we use screws instead of spikes) was placed in 1998. Since that time work on the railroad has included improvements and maintenance.

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Visit the BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT RAILROAD SITE and view their track layout, pictures, information and more.

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It’s amazing to me the number of model railroad and train clubs that exist in North Carolina. Obviously, the hobby is in no danger of dying out like the newspaper is…ha!

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The Waynesborough Model Railroad Club has been located in historic downtown Goldsboro, North Carolina since 1982. One of the largest Ho scale layouts in Eastern North Carolina, We provide both individual and family memberships.  Many of our members are native Goldsboro residents but we have many members stationed at nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.  As a result, our layout has the advantage of being able to accurately represent many different geographic regions and different prototypes.  Some of our modules and equipment are owned by the club but most of the equipment is owned by the individual members.

Visit the Waynesborough Model Railroad Club!

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North Carolina is blessed with an incredible transportation museum located in Spencer, NC. You can ride diesels, shay steam engines, tour the roundhouse and so much more. Inside, it houses an incredibly impressive collection of engines and cars. You can even view a restoration currently in progress. For a train ride in North Carolina and a lesson in history, visit the museum, conveniently located right off I-85 in Rowan County.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum is located on the site of what was once Southern Railway Company’s largest steam locomotive repair facility. The site features an authentic train depot, antique automobiles, and a 37-bay Roundhouse that includes 25 locomotives, dozens of rail cars and other exhibit areas.  The museum offers seasonal train rides, guided tours for scheduled groups, and special events scheduled throughout the year.

The N.C. Transportation Museum is part of the Division of State Historic Sites, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.  The Department of Cultural Resources is a state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history and culture. Additional support for the museum and its programs are provided by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation.

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This legendary train book by celebrated author, Virginia Lee Burton, is a fun story about a steam engine named “Choo-Choo” who isn’t content and wants to show off.  The engine is tired of pulling heavy coaches and wants to run by herself so everyone can see how shiny and fast she is. The story then continues to describe Choo-Choo’s adventure as she runs away. The book is beautfully illustrated and makes for a fun read for any train fan with it’s captivating and imaginative story line.

Purchase Choo-Choo Online!

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Growing up obsessed with trains both of my grandfathers embraced my obsession and encouraged it effectively. Both took me on many, many train rides. As fate would have it, my Dad’s father lived in Hillsborough, NC. Located right off I-85 at the Hillsborough exit, the Daniel Boone Railroad used to exist within a giant park, not too different than Tweetsie in it’s heyday. Shops, restaurants, rides and from what I can remember, an amazing train ride that ran back into the woods and looped around back to the front of the park. Like Tweetsie, the ride included cowboys and indians jumping on to act out a train robbery and gun fight. My memories are blurry and how I wish I had more photographs to document the train and its surroundings and ride. For some reason the train was sold, the park was sold and turned into a trailer park. Today, there are some shops and outlets and when I come through the area I always explore what I can of the area. I’ve found what’s left of the ride and some ramshackled tracks. All I have to remember it by is a picture of me in front of it when I was 4 or 5 years old and it’s existence in my mind is almost mystical now that I’ve come full circle in life and have a son who is obsessed with trains. Below is all the information I could possible find on what happened to this incredible train and railroad. Included is that picture of me, what’s left of the tracks and a photo of the train from when it was sold to Carowind’s, a theme park located south of Charlotte, NC.

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Not sure how old I was here….maybe 4 or 5 years old.

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All that’s left of the Daniel Boone Railroad.

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Carowinds #1 “Melodia” (Now Paramount’s Carowinds in Charlotte, NC) [actualy south of Charlotte in Ft. Mill, SC –ed.] was the only 36″ gage Crown built on an historical chassis and the only one which was not a 4-4-0.  It started life as an 1897 Porter 0-6-2T (c/n 1790) with 9″x14″ cylinders at the Barker and Lepine Plantation in Lafource Crossing, Louisiana, then moved to the Laurel Valley Plantation in Tribodaux, LA at an unknown date where it was named Melodia.  At another unknown date, it became a part of the Arthur LaSalle collection.  In 1960, it was sold to Hubert Mitchell Industries and was stored in Hartselle, Alabama.  It was then sold to James Freeland who owned Daniel Boone Village near Hillsborough, NC where it was run at the owner’s whim.  Freeland subsequently advertised the engine in Hemmings Motor News and sold it directly to Carowinds.  Sometime between Hartselle and Carowinds, it was rebuilt by Crown into an oil burning 2-6-2 with tender.  In the process, it received a Crown boiler (Dave Barnhardt tells me that he thinks the boiler was already on the floor at Crown before the project was initiated so maybe it was pushed ahead of another project), Crown tender, arched roof cab, cowcatcher, headlight, steam dome, and a tall, skinny diamond stack.  It retained the hemispherical Porter sand dome, the inclined Porter cylinders (with the Porter name cast into the steamchest), the Porter (Route 66 shaped) builder’s plate, and the Porter smokebox door, also with the Porter name cast in.  This rebuild supposedly happened in 1963, but the boiler appears to be more the size of the post-1970 Crowns.  At Carowinds, #1 carried the name “Melodia” on the left side of the cab and the letters EPH on the right side of the cab for E. Pat Hunt, the developer who built the park.  Melodia is reported to have run at Carowinds on June 13, 1972 for a publicity day, even though the park did not open to the public until March 1973.  The ride circled the park which was divided in two by the North Carolina / South Carolina border (I wonder which state inspected the trains?).  The station was at the front of the park, but unlike Disney where the station is over the main street, at Carowinds it was a depressed platform under the park entrance.  The railroad was partially dismantled after the 1977 or 1978 season (one account says 1975) to make room for a new theme area (I’m told they didn’t want grade crossings), so the equipment stayed at Carowinds for a few years unused.  Melodia was sold in June 1980 to the George Roose collection in Cleveland, Ohio (George was part owner of Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH and he built the 36″ gage Cedar Point and Lake Erie RR in 1963 out of his pocket when the park’s Board of Directors wouldn’t build it !!).  One account had it going to western New York, possibly to a park near Springsville, but I have no evidence of it being used or of a park existing there.  There was also a rumor that it went to Rome, NY, but that has been proven false.  In 1982, it did arrive (and possibly run) at Wild World (now Six Flags America) in Largo, Maryland but returned to Sandusky, Ohio by 1984 where it stayed until at least October 1985 (there is no evidence that it was ever on Cedar Point property, so it must have been stored at Roose’s home).  George Roose died in 1992 or 1993.  One individual told me that after a couple of years it then passed through Shop Services in Iowa on its way to a developer in California.  That’s where the trail stops.  Does anyone know anything more about this lost locomotive?  Carowinds is said to have built four of Melodia’s coaches themselves from D&RGW steel chassis (which have more of a “trolley car” roof than the Crown coaches), and one is now at the LaPorte County Steam Historical Society railroad in Hesston, Indiana.  John Harbeck tells me that several were available in the Roose collection at the time.  I do not know the whereabouts of the others today.

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