The North Carolina Transportation Museum is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Karen and I visited on June 24, 2017, the same day the Fire Truck Festival 2017 was held. The Museum site sits on 60-acres with a train depot, roundhouse, switchyard tracks and this massive maintenance and repair shop.
This mammoth shop allowed work on many projects at the same time.
Plains, trains, wagons, cars, farm equipment, if it had wheels on it they had historic examples.
The small aviation exhibit included a life-size replica of Wilbur and Orville’s flying machine at Kitty Hawk.
The pounding heart of the museum is trains. From steam engines to modern locomotives the NCTM had awesome examples with all the specialized cars they pulled and pushed. Train rides ran around the entire grounds at regular intervals, all on time of course.
A string of cabooses was added to the train ride schedule to accommodate the crowd from the Firetruck Festival.
The North Carolina Railroad Company shops were built here in 1856 for maintenance and repair of the N.C. Railroad.
At peak operating capacity during World War II there were some 3,000 workers at the Spencer Shops and freight yard.
The Bob Julian Roundhouse replaced a smaller one in 1924. It has 37 stalls with a turntable that can handle 100-foot locomotives. Lasting from the steam era to modern diesel locomotives it operated until 1979.
The Bob Julian Roundhouse was named after its foreman and is the largest roundhouse still standing in the United States.
Some of the coolest old locomotives and rail cars are kept inside the roundhouse. Many are complete and on display. Restoration and repair is underway on others.
The diesel powered Champion ran between North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.
This 1925 locomotive had a coal car attached . Standing at the controls you could almost feel how hot it must have been when the boiler was being fed fuel by the shovel load.
The detail in this mail car was fantastic. Sorting mail while chugging down the tracks would have been a real chore.
There was a steamer that held a coffee can with these instructions by the mail car restroom.
I searched until I found a genuine mail lock of the period. It is aluminum and I suspect it never really floated, which means the coffee boiled nonstop.
You never get too old to play with trains, the size just changes. This elaborate train set was located in the giant repair facility. It took three men to keep it running.
If you like trains, don’t hesitate to STOP and take a closer look at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.