At The Throttle Returns To The N.C. Transportation Museum

Release date: 1/16/2013

N.C. Transportation Museum Program Puts Visitors “At the Throttle” of an Antique Steam Locomotive
CONTACT: Mark Brown
                      Information & Communication Specialist
                      (704) 636-2889, ext 240
The Lehigh Valley Coal #126 returns to the museum
for this special offering in March and April
SPENCER – The N.C. Transportation Museum’s “At the Throttle” program begins its third season this Spring, offering a chance for visitors to live out their fantasy of operating an antique steam locomotive. 
No previous locomotive experience is required. The program is simply a unique opportunity for rail fans to live their dream of running a steam engine, taking a trip back in time to the golden age of railroading. 
A qualified engineer will be in the cab at all times, but participants will be operating the engine, following a short safety and operation session. Florida resident Mike Meisler participated in last year’s program, and said it was a blast. “At the end of the half hour, I almost knew what I was doing, although the engineer probably would only laugh at that thought,” he said.
For Georgette Schroyer, a Rockwell resident, participating in “At the Throttle” brought back fond memories. “As a child, when my mother and I would hear the Steam Engine approaching, we rushed to take the clothes off the clothes line before they were covered with soot.  I also never missed a chance to wave at the engineers,” she said. 
Visitors this year will again be operating the LeHigh Valley Coal #126, an authentic early 20th century steam locomotive. Originally created by Vulcan Iron Works in 1931, the engine spent its entire working career in Pennsylvania, first used by the Lehigh Valley Coal Company and later the Heidelberg Coal Company. The engine was later sold to a scrap dealer in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, where the engine was stored. The #126 deteriorated until its rescue in 1993 by the Gramling Locomotive Works. Now completely restored, the engine looks and operates as it did when it was first built in 1931.
This year’s “At the Throttle” sessions take place March 2, 16, and April 6, 13, 20. Sessions will be held between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day. Sessions are $150 for each participant. N.C. Transportation Museum members receive a discount. Rides can scheduled by calling 704-636-2889 ext. 237 or by emailing or  Gift certificates are available, as the program makes a unique and memorable gift for any rail fan.
Participants must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license. Release forms are required. Clothing appropriate to a working rail yard should be worn at all times. Jeans or overalls and boots are recommended. Participants wishing to have their picture made should bring a camera. Friends or family or a member of the crew can take a photo of each participant “At the Throttle”.
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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