Norfolk Southern Heritage event coming to NCTM | Events
SPENCER - The Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotives: A Family Portrait event at the N.C. Transportation Museum July 3 and 4 continues to grow to historic proportions.
The event celebrates Norfolk Southern Corporation’s 30th Anniversary, created by the merger of Southern Railway and Norfolk & Western Railway. These two companies, however, were the product of hundreds of predecessor railroads, some of which date back to the 1800’s.
To honor that history, Norfolk Southern has painted 20 locomotives in the classic paint schemes of some of those predecessor railroads. Some of these Heritage Locomotives have been traveling the country for months. In other cases, these engines have just rolled off the line with a colorful new exterior.
It was noted that gathering these Heritage units together would be an explosion of color, railroading history and a delight for the public. Putting all 20 locomotives in one place, however, was a challenging proposal.
Independence Day week was the only period available to pull all 20 engines out of service, due in part to the regular closure of the West Virginia coal mines. When a venue was sought, the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Bob Julian Roundhouse, the largest remaining in North America, proved to be the only place big enough for such a gathering to take place.
“This is the first and probably only chance we’ll have to get all these locomotives together in one place at one time,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. “We’re proud of the role railroads play in keeping the country’s economy strong, and July 4 is an opportune time to showcase that heritage of service and safety.”
In addition to the explosion of colors, Norfolk Southern’s official band, The Lawmen, will be performing throughout. The Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive will be on display, along an Amtrak Exhibit Train. A gathering of railroad historical groups, representing most of the railroads honored by the Heritage Locomotive program will also be available in the Bob Julian Roundhouse.
This one-time only event has captured the attention of rail fans nationwide and beyond. Advance ticket sales have been documented from 39 different states in the union, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario and internationally, from Japan and Austria.
“The response from the public has been phenomenal. The ticket sales have proven that this is indeed an event with great interest nationwide, and stretching even to other parts of the globe,” said N.C. Transportation Museum Executive Director Sam Wegner.
The event will provide time to highlight each locomotive and its history, in addition to providing the family portrait of all the locomotives gathered together.
Starting at 8:15 a.m. with the Heritage Power Parade, each engine will move from the turntable to the south end of the museum property, with views for rail fan photographers and the public alike.
At 11 a.m. July 3 only, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman, Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle and rail artist Andy Fletcher will speak. Fletcher designed the paint schemes displayed on these locomotives.
At 11 a.m. July 4, Fletcher, N.C. Transportation Museum Executive Director Sam Wegner and Trains Magazine Editor Jim Wrinn will speak.
For the afternoon, the focus turns to each locomotive “family” represented. The three largest contributors to Norfolk Southern’s history are Conrail, Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway. The locomotives that honor railroads from each branch of the family tree will each be featured at the Roundhouse through the afternoon, while locomotives from the other families will be available for up-close viewing by the public.
In the evening, the family portrait will take shape, as all 20 locomotives are gathered at the Roundhouse for a group shot. The Norfolk Southern #1030 will take center stage on the turntable, as the product of the history that surrounds it.
The Heritage Unit Family Portrait will also be a great time to see the Roundhouse and turntable in operation as it was when Spencer Shops was operating. The Roundhouse, shaped like a horseshoe with a lazy-susan in the center, allows locomotives to be stored, maintained and repaired inside. While the Roundhouse fell into disrepair in the 1980s, it was fully restored in 1996 and is an essential part of any visit to the N.C. Transportation Museum.
A night-time photo shoot will also be available for rail fan photographers from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. each night, featuring the locomotives lit beautifully for once-in-a-lifetime photographs.
Tickets for the event are $25 for adults and $15 for children in advance and $30 for adults and $20 for children the day of the event. Tickets apply to a single day of events. Nighttime photo shoot passes are an additional $20/person.
Those attending are reminded that parking at the museum will be at an absolute premium. The museum’s parking lots are expected to fill quickly. Everyone is urged to arrive early enough to provide time for parking on site or nearby in Spencer and be prepared to walk to the museum’s event areas.
Visitors are reminded that it will be very hot during the event and proper clothing, hats and sunscreen are recommended. Prohibited items include ladders, step stools, firearms and pets. Coolers will not be allowed into the event areas, but concessions will be available throughout.
About the N.C. Transportation Museum
The N.C. Transportation Museum, located in historic Spencer Shops, the former Southern Railway repair facility is located just five minutes off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C., and about an hour from Charlotte, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. The museum is part of the Division of Historic Sites and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
About the Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources serves as a champion for North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit www.ncculture.com.
About Norfolk Southern Corporation
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
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