published Sunday, June 17th, 2012

21st Century Steam excursion train trips scheduled in North Carolina, Virginia

The scenery will be new, but the train may look familiar. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is selling tickets for out-of-state train rides pulled by a century-old steam locomotive that was restored on-site.

A number of excursions are being offered this month in North Carolina and Virginia behind Southern Railway steam locomotive No. 630 as part of the 21st Century Steam program. The program is a partnership between Norfolk Southern and the TVRM to operate steam-powered excursions throughout the territory Norfolk Southern serves.

No. 630 is a Consolidation-type locomotive built in 1904 at the Richmond, Va., works of the American Locomotive Co. No. 630 pulled freight trains during the first half of the last century, mostly in North Carolina, and in the 1970s and '80s traveled extensively in excursion service throughout the Southeast.

Small of size but big in character, the locomotive underwent an exhaustive 10-year rehabilitation at TVRM's Soule Shops complex in East Chattanooga before returning to service in 2011.

Tickets are available through the TVRM website, www.tvrail.com.

Additional one-way excursions are planned in July and September. Updates will be posted on the website, or those interested in riding may call 894-8028.

SCHEDULE

Today

Where: Spencer, N.C., to Barber, N.C., and return.

Host: North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Schedule: Train departs from museum at 9 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day.

Route: Norfolk Southern "S-Line" between Spencer and Barber, 24-mile round trip.

Power: Steam locomotive No. 630 only (no diesels assisting).

Equipment: Air-conditioned coaches with reclining seats and large picture windows.

Fare: $35 adults, $25 children ages 3-12. Kids 2 and younger not occupying seats are free.

June 23

Where: Spencer, N.C., to Winston-Salem, N.C., one way (bus return)

Host: North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Schedule: Train departs museum at 10 a.m., arrives in Winston-Salem at 2 p.m. Bus arrives North Carolina Transportation Museum at 3 p.m.

Route: Norfolk Southern main line Spencer-Greensboro; NS "K-Line" Greensboro-Winston-Salem.

Power: Steam locomotive No. 630 with diesels assisting.

Equipment: Air-conditioned coaches.

Fare: $80. Includes box lunch and bus return to North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.

June 24

Where: Winston-Salem, N.C., to Roanoke, Va., one way (with bus connections from Roanoke and to Winston-Salem).

Schedule: Train departs Winston-Salem at 10 a.m. Train arrives Roanoke at 3:30 p.m.

Route: Norfolk Southern "Punkinvine" line, Winston-Salem-Roanoke.

Power: Steam locomotive No. 630 with diesels assisting.

Equipment: Air-conditioned coaches.

Fare: $95. Includes box lunch and bus transportation. For Roanoke-originating passengers, bus will depart Roanoke 7 a.m.; for Winston-Salem-originating passengers, bus will depart Roanoke within a half hour of train's arrival in Roanoke.

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