Friday morning tourist railroad and preservation news:
North Carolina Transportation Museum to host weekend of 611 events
The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C., will host two special tours and a nighttime photo session featuring Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 Sept. 18-20. The Fired Up Behind The Scenes Tour, on Sept. 18, will offer a full day of access as crews fire the locomotive. Fired Up VIP Cab Tours, Sept. 19-20, will give visitors the chance to enter the locomotive cab and sound the whistle. And the photo session, beginning at 7 p.m., on Sept. 19 will provide photo opportunities at various locations around the museum, lit to recreate scenes from the past. All activities will take place outdoors; face masks and social distancing precautions will be required, and the number of participants for each session will be limited. The behind the scenes tour is $125; the photo session is $50, and the VIP tour is $35; there are also state sales tax and ticket handling fees for each item. For tickets, visit the museum website, then click “purchase tickets.”
Pikes Peak Cog Railway reaches midpoint of reconstruction
The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway has reached the halfway point of reconstruction of its 9-mile route, completing the Mountain View siding at approximately the 4.5-mile mark of the route. “We’re happy to share that we’ve reached a major milestone in our track renovations with the installation of two of the three passing siding tracks: Windy Point and Mountain View,” Ted Johnston, the railway’s assistant general manager, said in a press release. “The crews faced one of the toughest stretches of track to construct between these two points, a part of the line we call the ‘Big Hill,’ which is the longest, steepest, and narrowest portion of track.” Work is expected to reach the third siding, Minnehaha, by mid-October, with construction to be complete by the end of the year. Refurbishment of four diesel-powered trainsets is 90% complete, while three new trains are under construction by Stadler in Switzerland. The first trains are expected to operate in May 2021. More information is available at the railroad website.
East Broad Top receives grant for fire suppression system
The East Broad Top Railroad has received a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission to assist in the installation of a fire suppression system in the railroad’s machine shop complex. “Fire suppression is a critical component of our stabilization and preservation effort at the East Broad Top,” East Broad Top Foundation General Manager Bradley Esposito in a press release, calling the grant a tremendous vote of confidence in the EBT Foundation’s efforts to preserve and operate this National Historic Landmark for future generations.” The upgrade will allow use of the shop for public demonstrations as well as ongoing essential repairs as the narrow gauge railroad works to resume operations. State Sen. Judy Ward and State Rep. Rich Irvin announced the grant.