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Rail Equipment -- Steam Locomotives
Graham County Railroad #1925
The locomotive was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in February 1925. This Shay type of locomotive, named after the inventor, was designed for the steep grades, sharp curves and bad track conditions found on logging railroads. The Shay locomotives were different in that pistons were vertically mounted on the engineer’s side of the boiler, using connecting shafts and gears to turn the wheels. The 1925 was used by the Graham County RR to haul logs out of the Snowbird Mountains to the Bemis Lumber Company mill in Robbinsville, NC. The logging portion closed in 1948, but the railroad continued to carry general freight between Robbinsville and Topton, NC, where an interchange was made with the Southern Railway. Due to dropping freight levels and track conditions, the Graham County ceased operations in 1970. In 1974, a tourist operation, the Bear Creek Scenic Railroad, tried to re-open the line to Robbinsville, but also ceased operation within a few years. The 1925 was donated to the NCTHC in 1988, and restored to operation in 1998 to pull the on-site train ride. This locomotive is currently awaiting a mechanical overhaul and is not in service.
The locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in September 1926. This 2-8-0 Consolidation type locomotive was built for the National Railway of Mexico as oil burner number 200, but never delivered. Instead, it was converted to coal firing and sold to the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad in West Virginia as number 4. In 1964, the locomotive was sold to the Quakertown and Eastern, a tourist line in Pennsylvania. They later sold the number 4 to the Southwest Virginia Scenic Railroad in Hilton, VA. The NCTHC bought the locomotive in 1978, which was restored to operating condition in 1987 by retired Southern Railway employees who volunteered at the museum. The 604 was numbered after similar class locomotives on the Southern, and was used to pull the on-site train ride. This locomotive is currently awaiting a mechanical overhaul and is not in service.
Atlantic Coast Line #1031
The locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive works in June, 1913. This 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler was one of 25 ordered at that time by the ACL. These class of locomotives earned the nickname “Copperhead” because of the bright copper rings around the tops of the smokestacks. The ACL used them for freight and passenger service around Fayetteville, Rocky Mount and Wilmington in NC, and many places from Richmond, VA to Jacksonville, FL. The Atlantic Coast Line had their corporate headquarters in Wilmington, NC from 1900 until 1960, when it moved to Jacksonville, FL. It was the only Class 1 railroad to be headquartered in this state. As dieselization occurred, many of these locomotives found use on smaller subsidiary lines of the ACL. The 1031 was used on the East Carolina Railway in Tarboro, NC during the mid-1950s and the Virginia & Carolina Southern in Lumberton, NC during the later part of the decade. In 1959 it was placed on display in Florence, SC behind the passenger station adjacent to the rail yards. The City of Florence donated the 1031 to the NCTHC in 1994, resulting in a cosmetic restoration to a 1940s appearance in 1996 for display in the Robert Julian Roundhouse.
Carolina Power and Light #3
The locomotive was built by the H.K. Porter Locomotive Company in February 1937. This 0-4-0 switcher is a “fireless steam-storage” locomotive. There is an insulated tank instead of a firebox and boiler. It could be charged (filled with steam) in about 15 minutes and would run for two to five hours, depending on working conditions. These locomotives were used in power plants, lumberyards, textile mills and other areas where a large, ready supply of steam was available or burning cinders were dangerous. The number 3 arrived at the CP&L Lumberton Plant (known as the Weatherspoon Plant after 1958) in 1949 and used until March, 1980. The locomotive was donated in August 1980 to the State of North Carolina and is currently on display in Stall 13 in the Robert Julian Roundhouse.
Duke Power Company #111
The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company around 1922, sold to the Stewart-Jones Company of Great Falls, SC in February 1922 and the Wateree Power Company (later Duke Power Company) on July 7, 1924. This locomotive is similar to the Bonsal #7, except the water tank rides atop the boiler, giving locomotive the nickname “saddle-tank.” Duke Power used the locomotive at their Mt. Holly and Cliffside plants along with the Buck Steam Plant on the Yadkin River north of Spencer. Not much is known of its service before 1942 or after 1953. The locomotive was donated to the State of north Carolina in the late 1970s, and is currently on display in Stall 13 in the Robert Julian Roundhouse.
Seaboard Air Line #544
The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company in March 1918. This 2-10-0 Decapod was built for the Russian State Railroad, but never delivered due to the Revolution of 1917. Before the locomotive could be used in the U.S, wider tires had to be installed since the Russian Railroads used 5-foot gauge, instead of 4 feet 8 ½ inches. It then became the property of the United States Railroad Administration, begun in 1917 to control the shipment of vital war supplies during World War I. Decapods were employed on branch lines throughout the Seaboard system, being based in North Carolina at Hamlet and Raleigh. During the 1950s these decapods were transferred to the Gainesville Midland, a Seaboard subsidiary in Georgia. The 544 was placed on display in Atlanta in 1965 and later sold to the North Carolina Railroad Company in 1980, which donated the locomotive to the State of North Carolina. The 544 was cosmetically restored in 1996 for display in the Robert Julian Roundhouse.
Southern Railway #542
The locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903. This 2-8-0 Consolidation operated in North Carolina on the Southern Railway around Statesville and Winston-Salem. Repairs were performed at Spencer Shops. Similar class 2-8-0 locomotives were extensively used by the Southern for local freight trains throughout the entire system. In North Carolina they were found from Raleigh to Asheville. Southern owned only 90 of this rare J class locomotive, and the 542 is the sole remaining example. In 1954 the Southern donated the locomotive to Tanglewood Park, near Clemmons, NC. A trade was made in 1991 using the ex-Illinois Central 0-8-0 1894 to obtain the 542 for the museum. It was cosmetically restored for use in the Leatherheads movie as #604 during 2008.
The locomotive has now been restored to it's original numbering, restored with its original coal tender and is regularly on display.
W. R. Bonsal Company #7
The locomotive was built by the H.K. Porter locomotive Company in 1943. The US Army as number 5012 used this 0-6-0 switcher for several years until purchased by the W.R. Bonsal Company, a gravel operation in Lilesville, NC in 1947. The locomotive does not have a tender, instead a water tank sits on each side of the boiler and a coal bunker is located behind the cab. These type of locomotives were designed to switch yards or pull very short distance trains. The Bonsal Company donated the locomotive to the State of North Carolina in February 1978. It is now stored awaiting restoration.
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NC Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC 28159
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