Archive for March, 2011

Source: http://www.salisburypost.com

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — The Robert Julian Roundhouse and Turntable are probably the most popular attractions at the N.C. Transportation Museum and on Saturday they were designated a historic mechanical engineering landmark.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) presented the distinction to the museum at a ceremony during the Spring Kick Off event.

The Spring Kick Off featured a host of activities such as rides on the Flagg 75 Steam Engine, live music, the museum’s regular passenger train, miniature golf and others.

The Spencer facility is one of the few remaining early 20th century railroad locomotive repair shops in the U.S. It was built by Southern Railway in 1924 to repair steam locomotives.

The roundhouse and turntable were modified and expanded from 1948 to 1950 to accommodate Southern Railways diesel engines.

In 1979, the complex was donated to the state. In 1996, the roundhouse and turntable were refurbished and opened to the public.

The designation is to recognize the contribution of the roundhouse and turntable to the “progress of American railroading and evolution of mechanical engineering,” said Mark Brown, the museum’s information and communication specialist.

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Tweetsie Railroad is proud to operate two vintage steam locomotives: the #12 “Tweetsie” and the #190 “Yukon Queen”. When you visit Tweetsie Railroad during the operating season, the train will be pulled by one of these historic engines.

Locomotive #12 is the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC), which ran train service from Johnson City TN to Boone NC from 1919 to 1940. When the Tweetsie Railroad theme park opened in 1957, this was our sole locomotive.

In 1960, Tweetsie Railroad acquired another steam locomotive, the #190 “Yukon Queen” from Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon Railway.

Both locomotives are coal-fired narrow-gauge engines, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. #12 was completed in 1917, and #190 in 1943. Before entering service at Tweetsie Railroad, the locomotives were put into operating condition by veteran engineer Frank Coffey, who trained new generations in Tweetsie’s on-site steam train repair shop.

For more info, visit: http://www.tweetsie.com

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The N.C. Transportation Museum’s 2011 Family Rail Days Festival, scheduled June 11 and 12, will celebrate the golden age of railroading and offer something for every member of the family.

Featuring historic locomotives and rail cars displayed alongside modern rail equipment, the event will give visitors a chance to enjoy train rides, great music, model train layouts.

For more info, visit: http://nctrans.org/Events/Rail-Days.aspx

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Source: http://www.enctoday.com

Sun Journal Staff

There was a common denominator between the hundreds of people who came to Saturday’s opening day of the Carolina Coastal Railroaders show and the trains they came to see — both were all ages and sizes.

The 16th annual show, which continues today at New Bern High, featured a lobby full of vendors with any possible train or accessory. Inside the gym, there were 10 layouts — complete with detailed miniature scenery — and trains of varying sizes and historic reference.

Nic and Juanita Nicastro come from Newport to the show each year and walk away with memories and bags of trains and parts.

“I’m a collector, an operator and an accumulator,” he said of his own home layout, which measures more than 13 by 19 feet, with three different train “yards.”

He had trains as a child and when the couple started a family in the early 1970s, they wanted trains for the children.

He saw a want ad for trains for sale, so he bought six two-foot-square boxes. The Nicastros were off and running as collectors.

“It’s a toy,” he said of trains. “And I’m just a bigger kid.”

Juanita said that while collecting trains that date to the 1900s, it had given her a sense of watching changes in the way American manufacturing has changed over the years in production and materials, from tin to injection plastics.

Allison Stusse of Havelock brought her sons Noah, Henry and George — ages 2 to nearly 6 — because “They love trains. They have trains, too many trains.”

The Stusse brothers are still in the early stages of train love, with wooden trains that they have to push around the tracks.

“But, they build new track every day,” said their mother, as the three boys pointed and intently watched larger motorized miniatures in front of them at the Garden Railway Society’s layout.

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