The N.C. Transportation Museum welcomes warmer weather with the first ever Spring Kick Off March 19

Release date: 3/19/2011

SPENCER – Steam will again soar over Spencer Shops as the N.C. Transportation Museum hosts the first ever Spring Kick Off, March 19. The museum will welcome the warmer season with a day full of music, food, games for the kids and train rides. One of the museum’s largest and most impressive structures will also be honored during the day’s events. 
Tickets are available online at or at the museum grounds on the day of the event, allowing access to all events and unlimited train rides. The Spring Kick Off runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with trains departing at 10:00, 10:45, 11:30 a.m., 1:00, 1:45, 2:30, and 3:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children 3-12. Museum member discounts are available. 
The March 19 Spring Kick Off will feature two different trains. The museum’s regular passenger train will be pulled by a classic diesel engine, and special rides will be available on a train full of cabooses, pulled by the Flagg 75 steam locomotive.
Steam engine train rides have not been available at the museum for several years, so having the Flagg 75 caboose train adds a special touch to the event, particular on the grounds of the former Spencer Shops, which was built more than a century ago for the repair and maintenance of steam powered engines.
The Spring Kick Off will also feature live music across the museum grounds. JP and Crawdaddy will perform classic rock, beach, and country near the Barber Junction Visitor’s Center, while bluegrass act Piedmont Natural Grass will keep visitors singing along in the Bob Julian Roundhouse. 
Kids and adults will enjoy performances by Magician Ryan Short. A popular part of the museum’s “Day Out With Thomas” events, Short’s show incorporates humor, music, dancing and exploding shoes. Short will perform throughout the day in the Roundhouse.
Activities for the kids will be numerous. The Spring Kick Off will include miniature golf on the lawn, an outdoor play area, bubbles and sidewalk chalk behind the Master Mechanic’s Office, temporary tattoos, Thomas play tables and coloring areas in the Roundhouse.
In the midst of it all, Wacky-Doo the Clown will be roaming the grounds, creating balloon creations and spreading joy to all he sees.
The museum’s gift shop, The Gift Station, will host two authors. A.J. Fallon, author of “Choo Choo Woody, the Little Engine with a Heart” and Julia Taylor Ebel, author of “Walking Ribbon” and “Addie Clawson, Appalachian Mail Carrier” will appear beginning at 2 p.m. 
The museum will also receive a special honor during the Spring Kick Off. In a 2 p.m. ceremony, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers will grant Historical Landmark Status to the Bob Julian Roundhouse and Turntable. A bronze plaque will recognize the contribution of those structures to the progress of American railroading and evolution of mechanical engineering. Keith Hardison, Director of the Division of Historic Sites in North Carolina, will accept the award. ASME officials and museum Executive Director Elizabeth Smith will speak during the program.
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, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future.  Visit for more information. For information on the Department of Cultural Resources, call (919) 807-7385 or visit