I did some digging through Google recently looking for some sign of the Daniel Boone Railroad. I was amazed to find a sign from the railroad on an auction site. I hope to get to Hillsborough for this auction and buy the sign.

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.

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polar expressOver 42,000 passengers rode The Polar Express™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2011 and we hope to see you this year! The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting.

Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 9th and operates through December 30th. View the 2012 departure schedule here!

For more information, visit: http://www.gsmr.com/create-content/event/polar-express/polar-express-0

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Nov. 24: Nov. 30 – Dec. 2; Dec. 7 – 9; 13 – 16; 20 – 23; 27 – 29, 2012

Park Opens: 5:00 pm

Train Rides begin at 5:30pm with the last train leaving at 9:00

Caroleers are a vibrant acapella group based at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church in Thomasville. Authentic costumes dating from the 1880’s allow listeners to be transported back in time as they listen to familiar carols like Silent Night, children’s songs like Rudolph, and seasonal favorites like White Christmas. Since 1994, the group has logged over thirty performances at Biltmore House in Asheville, sung at Chinqua Penn Plantation in Reidsville and has performed for numerous functions from banquets to nursing homes.

We have added 2 new passenger cars, therefore, we can ride an additional 100 people per train ride.  We are putting a new exhibit in the service station with antique toys and Coke memorabilia.  We are planning on having a horse drawn wagon ride to the Reid Plantation and having the blacksmith, slave kitchen and main house open.

DENTON FARM PARK
Park Opens: 5:30-9:00 pm
Train Rides begin at 6:00pm

Every 30 minutes the train will leave the station with the last train leaving at 8:00 pm.  If demand is high then we will run the last train at 8:30.
 
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This engine is an old 0-4-0 that the Daniel Boone Railroad used in conjunction with Melodia, which was sold. The railroad continued to use this Cooke 0-4-0 even after Melodia had been sold. I have no recollection of the Daniel Boone Railroad having 2 locomotives.

Tom Flanary from The Gold Coast Railway Museum was nice enough to share with me some new pictures of old #2. He sent me a link to it (HERE) with a photograph. The engine has been painted and is on display. Visit http://gcrm.org/!

Click on an image to enlarge…

  

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Excursion Travelers Can Enjoy Civil War History and a Great Harvest Festival with Trips Planned to Appomattox, Va. and Toccoa, Ga.

N.C. Transportation Museum & Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum Autumn Train Excursion Tickets Are On Sale Now, Rolling Out Nov. 3 and 4

SPENCER – An extremely popular offering from the N.C.TransportationMuseum and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum is just a few months from rolling down the tracks. This year’s Autumn Train Excursions will travel to Appomattox, Va. Saturday, Nov. 3 and Toccoa, Ga. Sunday, Nov. 4.

These excursions provide the rare opportunity to take a daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside during the autumn leaf-peeping season. Passengers can enjoy the romance of riding the rails and with great destinations. Tickets for the museum’s Autumn Train Excursions typically sell out and some options are already unavailable. Those wishing to purchase are urged to act quickly.

These one-day trips are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and act as fundraisers for both organizations.

The Virginia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer, N.C., with additional passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station. The train will travel through the northern portion of the North Carolina Piedmont before crossing into central Virginia. Passengers will be treated to spectacular views as the train crests the WhiteOakMountain and crosses the Dan and RoanokeRivers on its way to Lynchburg, where it will turn east toward Appomattox.

Passengers will disembark at the restored Appomattox Station, once a stop for the South Side Railroad in the late 1800s and now home to the AppomattoxVisitorInformationCenter. This charming small town holds claim to one of the most significant moments in U.S. history—the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to end the Civil War and reunited a divided nation.

Virginia Autumn Special passengers can enjoy the historic shops and restaurants of Appomattox’s quaint downtown, or, for a nominal additional fee, explore either the AppomattoxCourtHouseNationalHistoricalPark, or the Museum of the Confederacy’s newly-opened Appomattox site. Shuttle buses will provide transportation to both sites. We strongly recommend that passengers planning to visit either of these sites pack a lunch, pre-purchase a box lunch, or plan to purchase lunch on the café car, due to time limitations at the destination.

The Georgia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer, N.C., with additional passenger pick up at the Spartanburg Amtrak Station before traversing what was once Southern Railway’s main line, running from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, Ga. Passengers will enjoy the gala fall colors of Carolinas’ rolling foothills, before crossing the 100-foot Seneca River trestle spanning Lake Hartwell to arrive at Toccoa.

Nestled into the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the historic town will be bustling with activity during the 30th annual Harvest Festival. Passengers will have approximately three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 200 vendors, as well as delicious regional foods, great entertainment on two stages, children and youth activities, buggy rides and much more.

ToccoaFalls, named for the Cherokee word “Toccoah” meaning beautiful, is a must see. Located on the campus of ToccoaCollege, the 186-foot falls are 26 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Shuttle buses will be making a continuous loop between downtown Toccoa and ToccoaFalls.

Several seating options and pricing are available for excursion passengers. Prices are the same for each destination.

Tourist Class features the convenience and comforts of modern Amtrak cars. Each car has a center aisle with two adjustable seats and a wide window on each side. This seating area provides convenient access to the Souvenir and Cafe cars. Tourist class seating is $150 per person.

Deluxe Coach Class passenger cars feature spacious seating with adjustable seat backs and leg rests, as well as large windows for better viewing. Lunch will be served in vintage lounge and dining cars. Light snacks and beverages are also provided. Deluxe Coach Class seating is $185 per person. This option is already sold out for our Appomattox trip.

Premium First Class passengers will be seated in restored, vintage lounge or parlor cars. Each car is configured differently with a variety of seating options. Compartment seating is also available for small groups (only available with phone orders. Fare includes continental breakfast, newspapers, light snacks and dinner. Premium first Class seating is $260 per person Compartment seating is also available for groups of two, three or four at a reduced price. Compartment seating is only available with phone orders.

Featuring two levels, Dome cars offer the best views of the passing scenery. Windows stretch

across the walls and ceiling on the second level, providing a panoramic view of the entire ride.

Tickets include a continental breakfast and newspapers on the journey plus dinner on the return trip served in vintage lounge and dining cars. Dome tickets are $295 per person. This option is already sold out for our Appomattox trip.

Passengers that do not have lunch included in their ticket package have the option of a gourmet box lunch. Delivered to your seat, passengers can save time for shopping and sightseeing. Served in a souvenir tote, the meal includes chicken salad on a croissant, pasta salad, fresh fruit, homemade pound cake and a drink. Box lunches, available for $15 per person, should be ordered in advance with your ticket purchase. Those taking advantage of Saturday’s visit to the Appomattox Court House and Museum of the Confederacy are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this option.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Sara Gettys at 704-636-2889 ext. 237 or visiting online at www.nctrans.org.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum are non-profit organizations.

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On October 6th and 20th, folks will have the chance to ride the rails during our Fall Rail Rides on the Red Springs and Northern Railroad.Two different trips will be offered each day — departing from Red Springs,NC at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

“This will be a very different experience for folks,” said Carey Boney, one of the Railfan Day organizers. “You’ll really get to take in the scenery. It’s like hiking on wheels.”

A round-trip lasts a little more than three hours and will take riders on a scenic adventure in Robeson County from Red Springs to Parkton, returning through Shannon and Lumber Bridge, giving riders a view of farming country and mysterious Carolina bays along the way.

The train ride will feature open-air trailer cars with bench seating. There will be one photo stop per trip and a 45-minute layover in Parkton at the Parkton ACL depot and museum. Boney recommends bringing a comfortable seat cushion or blanket to sit on.

“A lot of these rails were laid 100 years ago or more,” said Boney. “You’ll see no signs of civilization for miles. It’s truly breathtaking.”

Boney, whose father was a railroad engineer, grew up in Hamlet,NC with the rails in his blood. He eventually began collecting railroad motorcars as a hobby, and then turned that hobby into a business by organizing and offering ride-along events similar to Railfan Day and the fall rides

The motor car train departs at the depot at Vance and Robert streets in Red Springs. Fares are $15 per adult and $10 for children 12 and under. For tickets, call 910-285-6242 starting Sept. 1st between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM. The rain dates are the following Sundays,Oct 7th&21st. The Red Springs and Northern Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization and proceeds will go to the continued efforts to revive and preserve rail service in Robeson County as well as the ongoing education on the past, present and future of North Carolina Railroads and rail safety.

Restroom facilities will be available in both Red Springs as well as Parkton. Food,drinks and souvenirs will be available for purchase at the Parkton Depot.

For more information, please visit our website at http://www.redspringsandnorthern.com

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By Shavonne Potts

spotts@salisburypost.com

SPENCER — Rail fans from as far as Japan and England will descend upon the N.C. Transportation Museum today and Wednesday for what has been hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

To commemorate Norfolk Southern Corp.’s 30th anniversary, the Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive fleet is on display for a couple of days at the museum.

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View amazing photos and videos from The Norfolk Southern Corp.’s 30th Anniversary, please visit the NC Transportation Museum’s FACEBOOK PAGE.

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