The North Carolina Transportation Museum is located on the site
of what was once Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive repair
facility. Begun in 1896 at a point halfway between Washington and Atlanta,
Spencer Shops and the town of Spencer, N.C. were both named for Samuel Spencer,
the first President of Southern Railway. The site contains an authentic train
depot, antique automobiles, and a 37 stall roundhouse that includes 25
locomotives and other exhibit areas. The museum offers seasonal train rides,
guided tours, and special events scheduled throughout the year
of Spencer Shops
by Southern Railway in 1896 as a large repair facility halfway between
Atlanta GA and Washington, DC. Repairs, overhauls and maintenance
were done on steam locomotives and later on freight equipment. Dieselization
of the Southern Railway in the 1950s made most of the buildings
at Spencer Shops obsolete. Diesels could be repaired in half
the time and with fewer people. A majority of the shops closed
in 1960. Diesel repairs continued at Spencer Shops until the late
1970s when the repairs and servicing of locomotives was moved to
the new Linwood Yard about 12 miles north in Davidson County. In
1977 Southern Railway gave a little more than 3 acres to the State
of North Carolina. In 1979 they gave another 54 acres for a total
of the Museum
Visitor Center, located originally in the Master Mechanic’s Office,
opened in 1980, followed by the first exhibits in 1983. In
1987, the volunteers began operation of the train ride. 1990
saw the opening of a new exhibit area, “Bumper to Bumper,” representing
automobiles through the decades. 1996 saw major improvements
including the opening of the Bob Julian Roundhouse exhibit area
representing trains, an updating of the earlier exhibit area “Wagons,
Wheels and Wings,” representing other forms of transportation, a
new gift shop and the opening of the Barber Junction Depot as the
museum’s Visitor Center.
The museum is owned and operated
by the State of North Carolina, Department of Cultural Resources,
Division of State Historic Sites. The North Carolina Transportation
History Corporation was formed in 1977 as a non-profit to support
the North Carolina Transportation Museum. In 1996, they changed
their name to the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation
to better describe the function of the organization.
– October 31 Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m.–5
p.m. and Sunday 1–5 p.m.
November 1 – March 31: Tuesday
– Saturday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sunday 1–4 p.m.
is closed New Years Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Veteran’s
Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Holidays.
25-minute train ride is offered daily April 1 – Labor Day and weekends
in March and September- December. No rides are available in
January and February. The train operates at 11 a.m., 1, 2,
and 3 p.m. Monday – Saturday, and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
A fee is charged. Steam-powered rides are offered on
weekends after June 1; at other times the diesel operates. Cab
rides are available on diesel locomotives only, on a first-come,
first-served basis. A fee is charged for cab rides.
The turntable was used
to turn locomotives at the Roundhouse and still operates for our
visitors and our trains. A five-minute ride on the turntable at
the Roundhouse is available on the half-hour for $1.
A 15-minute film on
the “History of Spencer” is available in the Roundhouse Orientation
Room. The film is offered on the quarter hour and there is
Schools are offered guided
tours, classroom activities, a ride on the turntable and a ride
on the train for a small fee. Schools are scheduled on a first-come,
work in the shop area on trains, operate the train ride and assist
with trackwork and restoration projects. Interpretive
Volunteers give tours to school groups, assist with special events,
give the narration on the train ride and greet/orient the visitors
to the museum.
411 South Salisbury Avenue, Spencer, N.C. 28159,
Phone: (704) 636-2889