North Carolina Transportation Museum, Spencer
Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
The North Carolina Transportation Museum is a transport museum in Spencer, North Carolina. The museum is largely devoted to the state's railroad history; however, its collection also includes exhibits of automobiles and aircraft. It is the largest repository of rail relics in North and South Carolina and averages 80,000 visitors annually. The museum is located at the former Southern Railway's 1896-era Spencer Shops.HistoryThe museum was founded in 1977, when the Southern Railway deeded 4acre of land to the state of North Carolina for a transportation museum. Two years later, another 53acre was added to the original donation; the entirety of the railway's largest former steam locomotive repair shops. The museum's first exhibit opened in 1983, called People, Places and Time. The museum grew over the years, most notably in 1996, with the opening of Barber Junction, a relocated railroad depot from some 30 miles away, and the newly renovated Bob Julian Roundhouse. Barber Junction serves the museum's Visitor's Center and departure point for the on-site train ride. The Bob Julian Roundhouse serves as the hub for most of the museum's railroad exhibits, but also includes aviation exhibits and site history.Several bays of the Spencer Shops roundhouse are devoted to volunteered restorations of locomotives and rolling stock in the museum collection. It was here that the 542 was worked on and steam locomotives from 1896-1953 were repaired. In the first 16 stalls, visitors can walk among the massive locomotives and rail cars on display. Moving into the Elmer Lam gallery, aviation exhibits dominate, with a full size replica Wright Flyer, Piedmont Airlines exhibits, and more. Moving into the restoration bays, visitors may also see volunteers working on various railroad pieces, and even manufacturing their own parts, as steam engines have been out of date so long it is impossible to obtain replacement parts from any manufacturer.To visit North Carolina Transportation Museum on your trip to Spencer, use our Spencer vacation builder.
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I can't believe I've never walked around this museum! What a fantastic place to visit!! Even if you are not a train fanatic, you will become one. Seeing these beauties close up is mesmerizing and awe-... read more »
We attended this museum solely for the Day Out with Thomas and Percy event. We had a great time, the event was well organized. There is very little shade on the premises without actually going inside,... read more »
This museum is still being developed BUT well worth going there now. Wonderful exhibits and even a Roundhouse that operates on some schedule.
As a model railroader and rail fan this museum is not to be missed. I spent the entire day, open to close, taking in all the displays. They also had a small air, car and bike display rooms that were nicely done. The recently restored N&W 611 just happened to be there and clearly it's the gem of the lot. If you're in the area and have a morning, afternoon or all day to spend there, you won't be disappointed.
Great place for a family afternoon, and a must stop for any train nut. The round house is beyond unique and filled with legendary giants from an era long ago. Plan ahead to be sure to catch (or avoid) certain event weekends. The train ride around the yard in vintage passenger cars is an experience every youngster should have. If your lucky it may be pulled by one of their classic F-series locomotives (think of the diesel loco from nearly every train set you ever seen). Check out Groupon too as they occasionally have savings offers posted.
The museum has a great assortment of trains, and even cars. The working train yards, with working circular turning track to point the locomotives to the train house is one the best attractions. The train ride was disappointing, the train moved about a quarter mile and then reversed. We sat still for more time than moving. Still the assortment of trains to walk around and examine is cool, kids love this museum. The staff and volunteers were nice too. There is considerable walking to do, so bring some water and comfortable shoes.
Horrible grandkids very disappointed train ride was a joke they make you.wait on the platform in the hot sun to get on instead of letting you get on a little earlier so you can relax in the nice air conditioned car. THEN THE SO CALLED RIDE STARTED WE DID.NOT KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON THE TRAIN STARTED GOING BACKWARDS AT I DON'T KNOW TWO MILES AN HOUR AND THAT'S IT BACKWARD AND FORWARD FOR THE WHOLE TWENTY.FIVE MINUTES NO NARRATION AT ALL WE EXPECTED A REAL TRAIN RIDE GOING A BIT FASTER. IT WAS MY GRANDAUGHTERS FIRST EVER TRAIN RIDE AND SHE WAS VERY.UPSET. I ASKED FOR A REFUND WHICH I DID RECEIVE BUT THIS WAS NOT A TRAIN RIDE!!!!
There is a lot of history here and the museum seems to be well maintained. There are some kid friendly toy sections available but I would wait until the kids are around 7 or older to really appreciate the history.
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