• 54°

Rail Camp draws Boy Scouts

By Hugh Fisher
hfisher@salisburypost.com
SPENCER — Not only the smoke of locomotives, but the smoke of campfires rose from the North Carolina Transportation Museum’s grounds Saturday morning.
Boy Scouts from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia descended on Spencer for the museum’s annual Rail Camp, which concludes this morning.
Brian Moffitt, education program coordinator for the museum, said that since 1996 the event has continued to grow.
This year, as in several recent years, some troops were turned away from the weekend event.
Some 480 Boy Scouts and adult leaders and volunteers camped in tents around the Barber Junction station house.
During the day Saturday, they worked on the requirements for their Railroading merit badge.
“This is not a merit badge they can go just anywhere to get,” Moffitt said.
And, as an Eagle Scout himself, he knows how to both inform and entertain.
Throughout the station’s roundhouse, guides led the young men among boxcars, locomotives and other historic rolling stock.
“We give them all the information they need to get that badge themselves, and a chance to camp out at this wonderful facility,” Moffitt said.
During his part of the morning’s program, he talked to Scouts about how railroad engineers signal one another.
They learned what the various numbers of blasts on the train’s horn mean, and the meanings of the multicolored lights that guide passenger and freight traffic.
Other topics included railroad safety and how a railroad functions as a business.
In addition, they learned the history of the Spencer railway shops, where steam and diesel locomotives were serviced for decades.
For Troy Hall, a Scout with Troop 531 in Randleman, the visit was more than just a way to earn a badge.
It was also a family history lesson.
His great-great uncle, Lewis Waynick, worked for Southern Railway as an engineer after World War II.
Troy’s father, Todd Hall, accompanied his son’s troop on the trip.
Both enjoyed learning the history of the Spencer shops, which Troy got to visit for the first time.
“It feels really, really cool, like I’m in his footsteps,” Troy said, standing outside the roundhouse.
Other boys said they enjoyed learning some little-known facts about railroading.
“We learned about what kinds of cars do what,” said Aidan Lyons of Troop 167, based at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Charlotte.
His father, Scoutmaster Terry Lyons, said he enjoys Rail Camp because it’s more than just a fun event.
“The whole merit badge program is intended to explore potential career opportunities,” Terry Lyons said.
Though the golden age of the passenger railroad is gone, engineers and mechanics are still in demand for the thousands of freight trains that run every week.
But the sound of the whistles, the chugging of steam locomotives and the chance to ride a real, live train speaks to something even simpler, Lyons said.
“You show me a boy who doesn’t like trains,” he said, a good-natured challenge in his voice as the Boy Scouts around him walked among the towering, historic locomotives.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday