What is Legends by Lantern, and where/when does it happen?

“Legends by Lantern” celebrates the numerous railroad legends in North Carolina Folklore. Beginning at the Barber Junction Visitor’s Center, the lantern-light tour will visit numerous buildings on site including the outside of the Back Shop, the Master Mechanic’s office, the Flue Shop, and the Roundhouse. Along with North Carolina railroad legends, the tour will also include stories of ghosts which still linger at Spencer Shops. The 90-minute walk will also include a behind the scenes, after hours view of a portion of the restoration bays, reportedly still used by Spencer Shops specters. For those who enjoy lantern tours, old-fashioned legends, and ghost walks, this tour is definitely for you.

The N.C. Transportation Museum, located on the grounds of historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway steam locomotive repair facility is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C., and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. The museum is part of the Division of Historic Sites and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

What is the cost?


Children 6-12: $5.00
Adults: $10.00
(Plus NC state sales tax)

What is included in the fee?

The participation fee includes admission to view the NC Transportation Museum in a rare, after hours setting. Additionally, the admission includes the tour program.

Is much walking involved?

The length of the tour will be roughly a mile-long round trip to and from Barber Junction, so there will be a good bit of walking involved. However, stops for stories will be every few hundred feet, so walking will not be very strenuous.

Where/When do we go to check in?

Upon arrival at the museum, tour attendees will check in at Barber Junction, and will meet the tour guide there as well to begin the tour.

What should I bring?

It is highly advised that tour attendees bring with them a flashlight, a water bottle and bug spray. Additionally, it is advised that tour attendees wear comfortable clothing for the summer weather.

For whom is the tour appropriate?

The Legends by Lantern tour is appropriate for children over the age of six and adults of all ages. As this is not a “Ghost Walk” or “Haunted Trail”, tour attendees will not be intentionally frightened. Therefore, even those who scare easily are encouraged to take the tour.

What kind of stories will be told on the tour?

There are many railroad legends which exist in the state of North Carolina, and a majority of them will be mentioned on the tour. These include the Maco Light, the Ghost Train of Bostian’s Bridge, and others. In addition to these North Carolina Legends, the tour will also celebrate the paranormal occurrences which reportedly occur at Spencer Shops, Stories of the Southern Railway at the Shops and the many individuals who worked here will also be included.

Who is the tour guide?

The tour guide for all three tours will be NC Transportation Museum Historical Interpreter Lucas R. Safrit. A History major at Catawba College, Safrit has been an NCTM volunteer for 10 years and an employee of the NCTM for one year. As a Rail Operations volunteer at the museum, Safrit will share testimony of things he has heard and seen. With a hobby of North Carolina railroad history, Safrit will tell the stories of North Carolina and Spencer Shops in an entertaining manner.

Is the tour ADA accessible?

The Legends by Lantern tour is 100% ADA accessible. Wheelchairs and scooters are welcome, but please note that there will be several ramps to climb during the tour.

How long does the tour last?

Beginning promptly at 7:30pm, the tour will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Upon return to Barber Junction at the conclusion of the tour, the tour guide will remain there for 15 minutes for questions regarding the tour information and basic questions regarding Spencer Shops.

Are children allowed to attend?

As previously mentioned, the tour is primarily focused for anyone over the age of 6. We do not advise for children under that age to attend the tour. However, children from age 6 to adulthood are welcome to be attendees.

Are there any restroom breaks?

Due to the amount of space to cover in a brief amount of time, restroom break opportunities will be limited. There will be a 10-minute restroom break at the end of the tour before the walk back up to Barber Junction. We advise for tour attendees to visit the restrooms at Barber Junction before beginning the tour.

Are cameras and picture-taking allowed?

Unlike many Lantern Tours and Ghost Walks, cameras and picture taking are indeed allowed on the tour. Please keep others in mind when using the flash feature on cameras. We encourage attendees to take photos during the tour. You might even photograph a shop worker from 100 years ago who never left!

In case of an emergency…

ALL EMERGENCIES should be directly reported to the tour guide, who will handle the issue with the best judgement and will contact 9-1-1 if necessary. If the tour guide is unable to be reached, report the Emergency to any NCTM Staff Member.

Ok, I’m sold! How do I register for this event?

Signing up for the event is easy! Just purchase tickets from the Legends by Lantern Tour event page at: http://www.nctrans.org/Special-Programs---Tours/Legends-By-Lantern-Tours.aspx

For any additional questions, please feel free to contact Tyler Trahan at tyler.trahan@ncdcr.gov or 704-636-2889 ext. 258.