NC Transportation Museum hosting 3 events Saturday

Published 12:05 am Monday, February 23, 2015

SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum has special train rides for families, a book sale die-hard rail fans are sure to love, and a great program for fans of Piedmont Airlines and aviation history. All three big events happen Saturday, Feb. 28.

Special steam-engine train rides are scheduled all day long. With an expanded ride schedule, visitors will have a chance to experience the golden age of railroading. Rides will be offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

This “Surprise Steam Train” came about due to the early arrival of the Lehigh Valley No. 126 steam locomotive. This touring engine was already scheduled to visit the museum for its sold-out “At the Throttle” program and Easter Bunny festivities April 4. But since she is arriving early, museum volunteers and staff want to put her on the tracks as soon as possible.

There will be only 50 seats available on this special mixed-freight train, sold on a first come, first served basis. The museum will also have the regular passenger train running on this expanded schedule. Not only will the train be a great photo opportunity for rail fans, but visitors will be able to ride along, see the sights and sounds of an authentic steam locomotive and experience traveling as it happened during railroading’s heyday.

Also Feb. 28, the museum’s big Railroading Book Sale will be taking place. More than 1,000 books from a private collector will be on sale in the museum’s expanded Gift Station. The books are first quality; many are out of print, and the book sale is sure to be a hit with die-hard rail fans. The varied topics represented include general railroading, interurban railroads, railroad annual reports and more. Softcover and hardbound editions will be available.

This book sale is a fundraiser for the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation, helping to fund rail operations, site repairs and renovations, new restoration projects and other fundraising efforts.

Finally, a week delayed due to bad weather, Piedmont Airlines Day is also happening Feb. 28. Celebrating the history and employees of the Winston-Salem based airline that was sold to US Airways in the early 1990s, the museum will host Capt. Cheryl Peters. The first-ever female pilot for the airline, Peters will tell her story of breaking new ground in 1974 and what it was like to take to the skies.

Piedmont Airlines Day will also feature a restoration tour of the Piedmont Airlines DC3, the Potomac Pacemaker. Capt. Bill Wilkerson, also a former Piedmont Airlines pilot, will update those attending on the status of the restoration project, what’s next for the DC3, and allow visitors an up-close look at this impressive airplane.

Regular museum admission applies for all events. Admission only is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and active military and $4 for children ages 3-12. Admission plus a train ride is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and active military, and $8 for children ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and younger are always free.

Those purchasing admission and a train ride may choose between the passenger train and the steam train. However, Groupon purchases will only be honored for the regular passenger train. Those wishing to ride both trains can do so with a $6 per person upcharge. Visit www.nctrans.org for more information.

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