Kids love trains. Lots of adults love trains. That's why the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, near Charlotte, is so popular. It's chuck full of trains, mostly (with a good sprinkling of displays and artifacts of other modes of travel from North Carolina's past.)
Before becoming a state museum, the complex at Spencer was a main working yard for a major railroad company.
One big attraction is the enormous Back Shop. For the first time in 25 years of operation, the Museum will offer a "Behind the Scenes" tour. You can stroll through the Back Shop, view the Roundhouse Restoration bays, and enjoy a tour through the private rail car of James Duke.
Spencer operators say the tour opens "new areas of the historic Spencer Shops, while providing a unique view of museum artifacts and restoration projects.
"A stroll through the awe-inspiring Back Shop starts the 'Behind the Scenes' tour. Visitors can marvel at how such a massive structure, three stories high and the equivalent of two football fields in length, was built in the waning years of the 1800s.
Visitors will also get an up close look at the DC-3 Potomac Pacemaker, undergoing cosmetic restoration in the Back Shop. The WWII era airplane was used for passenger travel by Piedmont Airlines and still bears the company's logo. The Potomac Pacemaker is an important piece of the history of the Winston-Salem based airline, which became a part of US Air in 1989."
Cost is $15, which includes museum admission and the tour but not a train ride. The 90-minute tours are available at 1 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and are by reservation only, at least three days in advance.
Here's how: Call 704-636-2889 ext. 258; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.