Spencer, Train History, Train Rides in NC

N.C. Transportation Museum: Rail Days, 2011

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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Train History

Reynolda House Museum of American Art Opens Trains that Passed in the Night The Photographs of O. Winston Link

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art presents Trains that Passed in the Night: The Photographs of O. Winston Link on view February 19—June 19, 2011.

O. Winston Link’s haunting black-and-white photographs from the 1950s depict the end of the era of steam railroading in the United States and the rural landscapes of Virginia and North Carolina that these last trains passed through. Link’s evocative nocturnal images are at once highly staged technical feats, nostalgic representations of a disappearing way of life, and beautifully strange works of art produced during the era of film noir.

Link, a commercial photographer in New York City, made more than twenty trips to Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina between 1955 and 1960 to photograph the Norfolk & Western Railway. His photographs convey an eerie sense of absence, representing the vanishing “species” of the steam locomotive. But the images, which often include railroad workers or local residents, are also imbued with a deep humanity, a reminder of the complicated relationship between man and machine.

Link’s achievements have received international recognition and his photographs can be found in the nation’s premier museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2004, the O. Winston Link Museum opened in Roanoke, Virginia.

Trains that Passed in the Night is drawn from the collection of Link’s former assistant and agent Thomas Garver and is circulated by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. The exhibition is comprised of fifty black-and-white gelatin silver photographs printed and signed during O. Winston Link’s lifetime. Reynolda’s installation of the exhibition will include text by experts on photography, railroad history, film, and contemporary art, and a multi-media section featuring train films and sounds.

For more, visit: http://museumpublicity.com/2011/02/20/reynolda-house-museum-of-american-art-opens-trains-that-passed-in-the-night-the-photographs-of-o-winston-link/

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Train History, Train Rides in NC

New book tells history of ‘Railroad that Couldn’t Be Built’

Source: The McDowell News

By Mike Conley

In the 1870s, the state of North Carolina set out to build a railroad across the steep mountains between Old Fort and Ridgecrest. The job would be done with convict labor, dangerous nitroglycerin and incredible determination. Many thought the railroad could not be built.

But the railroad would be built, even if many lives were lost along the way. Today, long Norfolk Southern freight trains travel up and down on what was constructed more than 130 years ago.

Marion Mayor Steve Little has long been fascinated by the story of the construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad, now considered an engineering marvel. He wrote his college thesis about it and for years has given talks to civic groups and schools.

Now, Little, who is also a Marion lawyer, has written a new book about the construction of the rail line. It is titled “Tunnels, Nitro and Convicts: Building the Railroad that Couldn’t Be Built.” It is published by Author House in Indiana.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Little. “This has been a goal of mine for years.”

As a student at Wake Forest University, Little wrote his history major thesis about the building of this railroad in the 1870s. It was a very detailed work, which included a lot of technical information. Little did a great deal of research unearthing the story about the railroad. And in May 1976, the young Little, who was still a law school student, gave a speech about it at the rededication ceremony for Andrews Geyser.

“That was a real honor,” he said adding he was not even a McDowell resident at that time.

Since then, Little has often spoke about its construction for various audiences, including the Railroad Day celebration in Old Fort. When he gives those talks, he condenses the story down and makes it more understandable for younger folks.

This new book is a written version of his talk. It is dedicated to the memory of the late historian Warren Hobbs, who was also Little’s brother-in-law.

“I thought I would write down the story I tell,” he said. “Everything in there is true.”

The book is also illustrated with color photos taken by Little of the rail line between Old Fort and Ridgecrest and the seven tunnels that were carved out of solid rock, using mostly convict labor. It also features vintage photos from the 1870s.


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Train History

Old Fort’s Railroad Day set for Saturday

old fort train depot

By Mike Conley | The McDowell News

Old Fort will again celebrate its railroad heritage with exhibits, music and fun-filled activities for young and old alike.

The Third Annual Railroad Day in Old Fort will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Depot, which for many years was a station for the Southern Railway. The event is free to the public.

At Railroad Day, folks will be able to enjoy trackless train rides around the streets of Old Fort. There will be face painting for the kids and the local band Rewind will provide music.

Larry Weed will have two model railroad layouts set up inside the Depot. One will be a Z-scale layout, which is a very small scale, and another will be an HO-scale Thomas the Tank Engine layout. These exhibits have been set up through Old Fort Model Trains.

Local resident Karen Allison will have her custom T-shirts and other items that feature the railroad track and tunnels that wind through the Swannanoa Gap between Old Fort and Ridgecrest. The Western North Carolina Model Railroaders will have a display at Saturday’s event. Representatives of the McDowell Quilt Trail will be on hand with interesting quilt block items for sale.old fort train

The Depot’s visitors center and railroad museum will be open, along with the former Southern Railway bay window caboose.

The event is hosted by the Old Fort Mountain Heritage Alliance. The alliance is a committee working in corporation with the town of Old Fort, HandMade in America’s Small Towns Program and the N.C. Rural Center’s STEP program to increase economic development opportunities in Old Fort.

The alliance’s Web site is http://www.downtownoldfort.org/.

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Steam Locomotives, Train History, Train Rides in NC

Theme Song for The Daniel Boone Railroad – Lost Train of Hillsborough, NC

In my quest to locate the train or locomotive I used to ride as a small boy with my grandfather in Hillsborough, NC I have been able to locate many pictures and much info regarding the old engine and cars.  The story started when I posted a story and photo of me in front of the train on this forum on January 3rd something interesting happened. Click HERE for the initial post.

A gentleman from the Pacific Coast Railroad Company in California posted a comment about the engine known as “Melodia.” Come to find out, his company has the engine and operates it. I was thrilled. I had found the locomotive. I posted a follow-up story from my initial post exclaiming how excited I was to find the engine. Click HERE for the second post.

A THIRD POST was written detailing the whereabouts of one of the old engines that used to operate on the Daniel Boone RR. It sits in Florida…sadly, rotting away.

Imagine my excitement when a reader emailed me an mp3 of the actual Daniel Boone Railroad theme song. Obviously, he captured it from vinyl. I thought it would be fun to take the tune and some pictures and create a YouTube video to share. I sprinkled in a couple of other pictures to keep in interesting. Hope you enjoy it.

All we’ll ever have are memories. I would love to get any photos you may have of the old train, station or railroad line. Please email them to tarheeltrains at gmail dot com.

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Festivals, Steam Locomotives, Train History, Train Rides in NC

Two Big Railroad Festivals in NC!

Two of the largest railroad festivals in NC are this weekend and next weekend.

Picture12 First, the establishment known as Tweetsie Railroad will host its annual Railfan Weekend this Saturday/Sunday, September 12th & 13th. Tweetsie breaks out #12 (Tweetsie) and also 190 (Yukon Queen) for a double-barrelled shotgun full of fun on their historic steam locomotives. For more, visit: www.Tweetsie.com!

And if that’s not enough…Great Smoky Mountains Railroad holds its annual Railfest on the following weekend. Friday/Saturday/Sunday, September 18th – 20th will be a three day gathering for railroad enthusiasts and history buffs from around the world provides an opportunity to ride special excursions, see railroad memorabilia and experience music of the rails. For more, visit www.GSMR.comgsmr-logo-2009

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Train History, Train Rides in NC

Scenic Town Has Many Ties To Old Railway


Source: Tricities.com

 By Joe Tennis
Features Writer / Bristol Herald Courier
Published: August 20, 2009

Roll into West Jefferson, N.C., and you wonder: What if? What if the old Virginia-Carolina Railway had not been broken up and lost in time?
What if this place looked more like the Old Dominion?
“If they had done it like they did in Virginia, with that bike trail, it would have been great,” said West Jefferson’s Calvin Green.
In Virginia, from Abingdon to Whitetop to the North Carolina border, this old railroad – later part of the Norfolk & Western line – has been preserved today as the Virginia Creeper Trail.
That logging line was once called the “Virginia Creeper Train.” And, at one time, it ran from Abingdon to West Jefferson, an Ashe County, N.C., town that boasts a bustling downtown district, including an arts scene with 13 murals on various buildings.
West Jefferson also has its own cheese factory. So … what if this train had become a trail here, too?
“My gut tells me it would have changed the dynamics of the community,” said Mike Everhart, the owner of Ashe County Cheese.
Today, you can still see parts of the old railroad bed in West Jefferson. Mysteriously, a cardboard sign nailed to a telephone pole says R/R – with no explanation – and points to the rail bed.
Yet, nearby, another sign marks this level, grassy area as “PRIVATE PROPERTY.”
Several yards from here, near the town’s new Backstreet Park, you can still see the old West Jefferson train depot, now used for storage by Green, 51, the owner of W.J. Hardware on the town’s Main Street.
Green bought the depot in the mid-1970s, just as the trains had quit running on the line. Once painted white with green trim, like so many other depots, it is now bright red.


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