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NC Transportation Museum resumes train rides

Staff report

The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer resumed visitor train rides across the 60-acre historic site on Friday.  Train ride operations will include new procedures to help ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, and visitors. Visitors to the museum should also comply with Gov. Cooper’s executive order.

The museum resumed public operations May 28 with a reduced-price, outdoor-only walking tour, the Transportation Trail. While exhibit buildings remain closed, key pieces of the museum’s exhibit collection, including steam and diesel locomotives, firetrucks, the museum’s 1935 and 1978 Highway Patrol cars, and more have been positioned outdoors for visitors to see.

On Friday, train rides returned, rolling across the grounds of what was once Spencer Shops, Southern Railway’s largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast.

In accordance with recommendations from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the train will consist of open air cars that will be sanitized between each ride, including seats, windows, and handrails.

The museum will also continue to offer rides aboard the ADA car that features wheelchair access. Only those with mobility issues and their families will be seated in the ADA car.

Staff and volunteers will follow all health and safety guidelines, including wearing cloth face coverings, washing hands frequently, and observing social distancing standards. The conductor will not walk through the train to punch tickets and restrooms will not be available aboard the train.

Passengers will board in a one-way directional path, and seating will be at 50% capacity, with all parties separated by an empty seat during the ride. Announcements aboard the train will remind visitors of these new procedures and encourage them to follow the three Ws:

  • Wear a cloth face covering;
  • Wait six feet from others; and
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

Turntable rides are also offered at the museum, offering visitors a chance to take a spin on the Bob Julian Roundhouse turntable, used to position steam and diesel locomotives in the roundhouse for maintenance.

Admission to the Transportation Trail is just $3 for ages 3 and up. Admission plus the train ride is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and military, and $7 for ages 3-12. Taxes and ticket fees apply.

Turntable rides are just $1 per person.

No-contact, online purchasing is available at www.nctrans.org.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Train rides will be available Fridays at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3 p.m.; and Sundays at 1 and 2:30 p.m.

More information about train and turntable schedules, operations, and safety measures now in place at the museum can be found at www.nctrans.org.

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