N.C. Transportation Museum Gives Family the Ride of Their Lives

Assorted images from the 2012 Great Southeastern Rail Days Festival at the N.C. Transportation Museum

On June 2 and 3, hundreds of people transported themselves into the past at the annual Great Southeastern Rail Days Festival at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, but for one Rowan County family that trip had special significance.

For Darren Shell and his family, the event was like walking in the footsteps of previous generations. Though they took full advantage of the weekend’s activities by riding several trains, visiting most of the museum’s attractions, meeting train artist Andy Fletcher and snapping some pictures at a nighttime photo shoot, he says the connections to the past are were what truly stood out.

Shell says:

For me the best part was the memories. My grandfather worked for Norfolk and Western Railway when I was a kid, so being out around all the trains with my son just reminded me of a simpler time.

And Shell reports that Owen, his four-year-old son, couldn’t get enough of the action. He loved riding the trains, and he loved watching the turntable in action. Of the four train rides they took on the first day of the festival, Owen loved the engine ride most, Shell says, because the volunteers working on the tracks gave him a railroad spike to keep. “

His sister is jealous,” Shell says, “But the volunteers were great. We go to the festival every year and this year has by far been the best.”

The best part is the fun doesn’t stop . The next two weekends, visitors can ride into the past on a genuine 1904 steam locomotive with the 21st Century Steam Excursions, offered by the Transportation Museum in partnership with Norfolk Southern and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Details and tickets are available on the Transportation Museum website.

Editor's Note – The Great Southeastern Rail Days Festival is no longer offered, but the N.C. Transportation Museum now hosts a similar program each spring. Check out the museum's website for details.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
5 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.