Norfolk Southern displays 20 diesel locomotives at NC Transportation Museum
By Shavonne Potts
SPENCER — Rail fans from as far as Japan and England will descend upon the N.C. Transportation Museum today and Wednesday for what has been hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
To commemorate Norfolk Southern Corp.’s 30th anniversary, the Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive fleet is on display for a couple of days at the museum.
Those interested will have the chance to see and photograph the locomotives housed at the museum’s Bob Julian Roundhouse. The fleet includes 20 locomotives painted to reflect the paint schemes of some of the railroads that preceeded Norfolk Southern.
Ticket sales as of Monday were at 1,500, with 500 sold for the night photo session. Those who’ve purchased advance tickets are from 39 states, Austria, Japan, Canada and England, said museum spokesman Mark Brown.
Monday was also a preview for media.
“We thought this was a wonderful partnership — a boost for the community,” said Jennifer Woodward, assistant secretary for the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
Woodward said this is a chance to introduce a new generation to trains.
“It’s kind of a goosebumps-type of experience,” she said.
The roundhouse is one of a kind, she said.
The 37-bay roundhouse is one of the largest remaining structures of its kind and is one of few preserved roundhouses left in the country.
The locomotives will be on display for a “family portrait” photo session later tonight.
“Norfolk Southern made the commitment to celebrate their heritage,” said Sam Wegner, museum executive director.
This was the only spot the locomotives could be displayed, he said.
“This is a historical and cultural resource for North Carolina,” Wegner said.
This event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase these units, said Robin Chapman, Norfolk Southern Corp. public relations director.
“It’s a way to celebrate and say thanks to rail fans,” he said.
Chapman said the Fourth of July week was chosen because of the holiday and because the demand for the locomotives in freight service would be temporarily reduced due to the traditional coal miners’ holiday.
Norfolk Southern was created June 1, 1982, a consolidation of Southern Railway Co. and Norfolk and Western Railway Co. Both companies can trace their lineage to hundreds of predecessors dating to the early 1800s.
Advance ticket sales have ended, but tickets are available at the gate. The cost is $30 for adults and $20 for children. Children 2 and younger are free. There is an extra cost for the nighttime photo shoot.
Tickets can be purchased at the museum’s website, www.nctrans.org, or by calling 704-636-2889, ext. 237