Posts Tagged ‘train stories’

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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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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Little Red Caboose

This is another children’s book about trains that I grew up with. It’s still as popular today as it was 30 years ago.

The story helps improve self-worth as the little red caboose is sad about never getting waves from people like the big steam engine or other cars.

One day as the train starts it’s way up a tall mountain, the train starts to slip and the little red caboose throws on the brakes and works hard to keep the train from sliding down the mountain or derailing.

It manages to hold on long enough for 2 steam engines to come to the rescue and push the train up and over the mountain. So, the little red caboose sves the day and ends up becoming the most p0pular part of the train.

Probably the best lesson here is that you’re never too small to make a difference in life.

Children’s books about trains are magical because of the stories and images that manage to stay in our heads for decades. It’s hard to believe this book was first published in 1952, but I remember loving it as a child…and my 7-year old has loved it since he was born.

ORDER THE LITTLE RED CABOOSE

 
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