The N.C. Transportation Museum will welcome the
warmer weather with a great event, the Spring Kick Off!
The Spring Kick Off is our way of welcoming back warmer weather and gearing up for our busiest seasons of
the year. Two trains will be available, including the steam powered caboose train. See below for details!
NCTM Passenger Train: The N.C. Transportation Museum's passenger train is pulled by a vintage diesel engine, with visitors riding in 1950s-era passenger cars. The newly restored Clinchfield 100 will be in the consist for visitors to ride. About 25 minutes long, the ride provides a "from the tracks" view of the town of Spencer and the N.C. Transportation Museum's historic buildings.
Steam Engine Caboose Train: A special offering for this event, the Lehigh Valley #126 will be pulling five of the museum's colorful cabooses for a different view from the rails. The Lehigh Valley #126 is an authentic steam engine, built in 1931. After a long career of working in the coal industry, primarily in Pennsylvania, the engine was nearly lost to a scrap yard. It was purchased by the Gramling Locomotive Works, restored and now tours the country appearing at events like the Spring Kick Off. There is nothing like the sound of a steam engine chugging down the tracks. And since everyone's favorite rail car is the caboose, we give you a train full of them. Ride along in the cupola for an "above the rails" view of the N.C. Transportation Museum.
Clinchfield 100 Passenger Car and Activities: Those on the museum's Passenger Train will be able to ride along in the Clinchfield 100. This newly restored rail car represents the history of the Clinchfield Railroad. Started in 1902, the passenger and freight train line ran from Virginia to South Carolina, with a popular stop at the Little Switzerland resort in the North Carolina Mountains. The railroad is also remembered for it's "Santa Clause Special" that started in 1943 and ran the lenth of the railroad's main line, from Elkhorn City to Spartanburg, handing out gifts for children along the way.
Another part of the day's activities will feature A.J. "Alf" Peoples and Mark Stevens, co-authors of "The (1) One and Only," which details the history of the Clinchfield #1 Steam Locomotive. The engine, created in 1882, now lives at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore Maryland.
Other speakers with ties to the #100 rail car will include: Jim Lonon, Jr. - son of the former Superintendent of the Clinchfield Railroad, Mike Tilley - CSX employee and former Clinchfield Railroad employee and President of the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum, Bob Willetts - President of Willetts Railcar Services, which oversaw the exterior painting of the car and Skip Oldham - President of Oldham Travel Agency and frequent traveler in the Clinchfield 100.
Mike Tilley and Skip Oldman: 10:15 - 11:15 a.m.
A.J. "Alf" Peoples and Mark Stevens: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Jim Lonon: 12:45 - 1:45 p.m.
Bob Willitts: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society Whistle Machine The Whistle Machine is a self-contained trailer featuring a collection of unique, historically significant whistles from the steam locomotive era and the means to blow them. Steam locomotive train whistles were the sound of an era, more musical than modern horns. Engineers also often had a distinctive way they would sound their whistles as the steam engine moved down the track. The Whistle Machine offers an opportunity for all ages to hear to distinctive sound and to create their own signature whistle sound.
NASCAR Field of Honor Race Car: This NASCAR car, decked out in red, white and blue, serves as an attention getting and fund-raiser for the Carolina Field of Honor at Triad Park. A joint venture of Forsyth and Guilford Counties, the park will commemorate and honor those who fought in the nation's battles, creating a timeline from Iwo Jima and Germany to Iraq and Afghanistan. A project of the War Memorial Foundation, more information on the construction plans for the park can be found at www.ncwmf.org.
History In Person: Across the museum grounds, visitors will find figures from the past. Figures include the hobos at the box car telling their tales, the milk man and his Divco milk truck in the Bumper to Bumper exhibit (with milk and cookies for guests!), the railroad shop worker in the Roundhouse, Wright Brothers' sister Kate Wright at the Wright Brothers Flyer, and the soldier in the Back Shop near by the Deuce and a half army truck. All will provide visitors a unique look at transportation history, from their perspective.
Piedmont Airlines DC-3 Restoration: Special tours will be available as part of your ticket price, including a walk through the Back Shop to get an up close look at the Piedmont Airlines DC-3. The airplane is undergoing a restoration. Former Piedmont and US Air pilot Captain Bill Wilkerson will provide his expertise. Tours happen at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Visitors will gather at the Master Mechanic's Office (near the caboose train boarding) at the appointed times to take advantage of these tours.
Kids Crafts, Storytelling: In the Wagon's, Wheels & Wings exhibit area, crafts will be available (at no extra fee) while Barbie LeBrun will tell children's stories to the gathered kids.
Gold Panning: Our Historic Site partners at Reed Gold Mine will provide their gold panning activity. See how gold was found in the days of the first gold rush and pan for gold yourself! NOTE: Gold panning requires an additional $2 fee.
Fire Truck Displays: See a great display of antique fire trucks on the museum grounds from a private collection. Plus, the museum's own 1929 Ford Model AA Fire Truck will also be displayed.
Rowan Areo Modelers: The Rowan Areo Modelers will be flying their ultra-cool model airplanes from the museum's lower parking lot. See the models on the ground and in flight and talk with the model pilots. Find more at www.rams-fly.com.
MORE!: Events and activities are still being added for what promises to be a huge day of fun at the N.C. Transportation Museum. Purchase tickets now online (see below).