North Carolina is home to the largest preserved roundhouse in the U.S. at the former Southern Railway's Spencer Shops. Norfolk Southern services 1,299 miles of the state's 3,225 route miles. North Carolina also boasts of the nations longest straight rail section at 78.86 miles between Wilmington and Hamlet.
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Tweetsie Railroad is a unique attraction that allows children and families to explore their imaginations and a whole lot more. Be a cowboy, Indian or an engineer. And of course, every guest will want to take a ride on the historic steam locomotive # 12, a 1912 Baldwin works narrow gauge 4-6-0, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Train rides include a Halloween Ghost Train. Directions.
The New Hope Valley Railway at the North Carolina Railroad Museum has monthly train ride days in season from May to December, with activities, themes, and events for visitors of all ages to enjoy. You can charter train rides, learn to operate-a-loco aboard the 1941 0-4-0T Vulcan built steam locomotive #17 or have a birthday party in a historic caboose. Operate-a-loco participants will practice the safe operation and handling of a locomotive and will be allowed to operate the engine for one hour under the supervision of one of a qualified engineer. Children's birthday party package includes the rental of a real Atlantic Coast Line caboose (non-airconditioned - as they were on the railroad) for 1½ hours, plastic train whistles and paper engineer's caps for each child, a special surprise for the birthday child, and free admission to the Museum for up to twenty-five (25) participants (children and adults). The participants provide all the food and beverages. A G scale, garden railroad, covers over 6000 square feet. Visitors are welcome to bring along their own G Scale equipment, and with the approval of the Mechanical Department, and are welcome to run it on their layout. Special train rides include aHolloween Express and a Fall Steam Spectacular. Directions.
Smoky Mountain Trains is large collection of 7,000 Lionel™ engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout, children’s activity center, and gift/toy shop. The Polar Express in Bryson City, NC is run by the Great Smoky Mountain Railway.
Denton FarmPark is a family owned historical park and campground with 15 restored buildings including a general store, grist mill, church, plantation house, blacksmith shop, log cabin. The Handy Dandy Railroad operates a full-size steam locomotive, a 1942 Porter 0-4-0, No.9, that encompasses the park on a 1 1/2 mile track. Country Christmas train. Directions.
The scenic Great Smoky Mountain Railway train rides cross fertile valleys, pass through tunnels and follow along river gorges in a spectacular region called The Great Smoky Mountains. This section of western North Carolina offers a wide array of ever changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes. The truly spectacular ride includes 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges. Polar Express Trains run during season. Ride a train and raft a river all in one day! GSMR offers a train and rafting combination that departs daily from Bryson City. Ride the Nantahala Gorge Excursion and whitewater raft the full length of the popular Nantahala River. This is a great trip for families wanting to experience the full adventure of the mountains! Four hour round-trip Tuckasegee River Excursions depart from Bryson City to Dillsboro and includes passing by the infamous movie set of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford!
Gourmet Dinning Train Service operations from Dillsboro were suspended on Monday, July 21, 2008. Tuckasegee River Excursions ceased operations from Dillsboro on Friday, August 8, 2008.
The Great Smoky Mountain Railway scenic train ride is listed in Parade's "Unforgettable Day Trips by Rail"
Exhibits include photographs and maps, displays, a model railroad layout, four pieces of rolling stock and a gift shop for your convenience. The depot was built in 1900 and was the home of the North Carolina Division of Seaboard Air Line Railway. A prime example of Victorian architecture, it is one of the most photographed stations in the eastern United States and is representative of great American railroad stations of that era. Admission is free.
Southern Railway's Historic Spencer Shops, located at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, includes a 25-minute train ride, which offers a narrated tour of the 57-acre site, and is pulled by an antique diesel engine. Trains generally run daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on weekends and for scheduled groups the rest of the year. Become a student engineer and take an engine cab ride. Diesel cab rides available on first come first served basis. And for only $10, this is a very popular package. The North Carolina Transportation museum also includes an impressive collection of antique automobiles, ranging from a 1901 White Steam Stanhope to a 1978 Plymouth N.C. Highway Patrol car. Directions.
The Wilmington Railroad Museum is housed in an authentic 1883 railroad freight warehouse. An eclectic collection of displays which you and your children will find fun and educational. There is a Thomas the Tank Train children's play area, operating HO and O scale trains, and a real life-size caboose and the 4-6-0 ACL steam engine #250 . In 1840 the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad was completed and became the longest continuous rail line in the world at 161 miles long. Directions.
North Carolina railways covered in the History of Railroading in Western North Carolina include the Appalachian; Asheville & Craggy Mount; Asheville & Northern; Asheville & Southern; Bee Tree Lumber Company; Black Mountain and the Yancey; Buffalo & Snowbird; Carolina & North-Western; Champion Fibre Company; Cliff-side; Clinchfield; East Tennessee & Western North Carolina; Graham County; Kitchen Lumber Company; Laurel River & Hot Springs; Lawndale; Linville River; Madison County; Marietta & North Georgia; Mount Mitchell; Notwood Lumber Company; Southern; Tallulah Falls; three Tennessee & North Carolinas; Transylvania; and Tuckasegee & Southern railroads