SPENCER, N.C. – In association with the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Streamliners at Spencer railroading festival May 29 – June 1, the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation is offering an exclusive roundtrip excursion from Norfolk Southern’s Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility (CRIF) to the museum. Thousands are expected to descend on museum grounds during the four-day Streamliner festival, but only 120 passengers will have the unique opportunity to ride aboard the private varnish Streamliner Special trips.
These chartered trips will be offered May 30 and May 31, presenting a rare opportunity to travel aboard one of four beautifully restored private business class cars through North Carolina’s Piedmont Region to the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.
The Streamliner Special excursions are made possible through the generous support of Norfolk Southern Corporation, by allowing use of their rail lines and access to the newly-opened Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility, located between the runways at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Railroad enthusiast Bennett Levin, owner and operator of the Juniata Terminal Company, is generously providing the train set.
This unique excursion departs the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility at 1 p.m. for both trips and returns at 7 p.m. During the trip, passengers will be attended to by gracious stewards offering first-class white glove service, with heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. A special souvenir gift tote will be included with a commemorative route guide.
Tickets for this rare experience are $1,000 per person, with proceeds benefitting the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation. Funds raised will help restore and preserve historic rail equipment and facilities, as well as operate the regular on-site train ride, which is, for many visitors, their first experience riding a train. A portion of each ticket is considered a tax-deductible contribution.
“It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime event, to travel from the intermodal yard on some very fine business cars, pulled by Norfolk Southern’s streamliners, and see what life was like on the railroad 60 to 80 years ago,” said event organizer Roy Johnson. Johnson is the immediate past president for the NCTMF board of directors and serves as the architect for the airport.
The trip will include a 3-hour layover at the N.C. Transportation Museum during the Streamliners at Spencer rail festival. The event will feature classic locomotives of the 1930s – 50s, photo opportunities for rail fans, cab tours of attending locomotives and special operations. With more than 20 confirmed locomotives representing at least a dozen historic railroads, it is expected to be the largest gathering of these locomotives since their heyday.
Powering the Streamliner Special will be one of Levin’s Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives. These 1950s-era streamliners represent two-thirds of the original Conrail Office Car Special locomotive fleet.
The train set will include four business class or parlor cars, including the notable Pennsylvania Railroad No. 120 business car. Built in 1928, this historic car has carried a number of well-known passengers, including President John F. Kennedy and his family, the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor, and Prince Charles and his wife. In a more somber moment, the car was used to transport the body of Robert F. Kennedy to its burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Warrior Ridge No. 1157, originally built in 1953 for Southern Pacific’s “Sunset Limited,” was rebuilt in 2002 at the Juniata Terminal Company’s shops and converted into a parlor-lounge-buffet car. The car is named after a small town in central Pennsylvania, located 206 miles west of Philadelphia along the original route of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The Greenwich Harbor was built in 1952 as a first class parlor car for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Senator” train between Boston and Washington, D.C. The car, now owned and restored by Railway Entertainment Services, features a dining area with table seating as well as section with traditional passenger seating. The Greenwich Estate car also features both a dining and passenger section, and is also owned and operated by Railway Entertainment Services.
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