Aug 042013

The N.C. Transportation Museum’s next major railroad event, ‘Streamliners at Spencer,’ will be a four-day festival for lovers of classic streamlined locomotives of the 1930s through the 1950s. Happening May 29 through June 1, 2014, these engines will be gathered around the 37-stall Robert Julian Roundhouse turntable for daytime portraits, Southern Streamlinerspecial operations, nighttime photos and more. Primarily a railroad photography event, “Streamliners at Spencer” is sure to be a rail fan’s delight.

Popular in the 1940s and 1950s, more than 8,000 Electro-Motive Division streamliners, or ‘cab units,’ were built with additional locomotives coming from Alco, Baldwin, and Fairbanks-Morse. These locomotives replaced steam power and pulled great passenger trains like the Crescent, the Champion, the Broadway Limited, among others.

They developed a loyal following thanks to their smooth shape, colorful paint schemes, and their look of speed,’ said Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn, also a N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation vice president. ‘2014 is a great time to recognize them as the year marks the 75th anniversary of the first such successful diesel freight locomotive—the FT demonstrator of 1939.’

Despite the popularity of these locomotives in their day,’ Wrinn says, ‘Today they’re all gone except for a few dozen in museums, on Class I railroads as executive units, and on tourist railroads and short lines as curiosities.’ The museum’s own Atlantic Coast Line E3, the Southern Railway E8, and Southern Railway FP7 will serve as the event’s host locomotives.

Southern Streamliner HeadonThe museum’s goal will be to bring as many streamlined units together as possible for an event on par with 2012’s Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive Family Portrait. With just six weeks to plan and execute, that event drew thousands of attendees from 39 U.S. states, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario and internationally, from Japan and Austria.

N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation Board President Steve Mersch says, ‘Our 2012 Heritage Locomotives Family Portrait gave us the chance to showcase 20 brand new locomotives in historic paint schemes to more than 4,000 rail fans. ‘Streamliners at Spencer’ will again provide us with the opportunity to use the unique setting we have with the 1924 Bob Julian Roundhouse and the 57-acre Spencer Shops complex.’

Attending locomotives are being confirmed and transported in cooperation with Norfolk Southern Corp. More details will be announced as the summer comes to an end with a great slate of visiting streamliners expected. Those wishing to stay up-to-date should either visit and check the event tab or follow the museum on Facebook at ‘N.C. Transportation Museum.’

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