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Heritage unit event draws 4,000

Published: July 5, 2012
Photo by Jim Wrinn
SPENCER, N.C. -- Norfolk Southern's 20 heritage locomotives return to their normal lives hauling freight today after wowing more than 4,000 people who came out for this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of these modern diesels in historic predecessor railroad paint schemes.

Despite sweltering high 90s heat, Norfolk Southern's heritage unit event drew visitors from 39 states, 2 Canadian provinces and as far away as Austria, the UK, and Japan. Visitors climbed to a grassy slope nicknamed "Heritage Hill" to take roster photos of the heritage units as they slowly paraded by, took to the skies in airplanes for aerial views, and climbed an elevated platform for a panoramic view of the units parked in front of the 37-stall roundhouse and riding the 100-foot turntable at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in the Southern Railway Spencer Shops complex.

Artist Andrew Fletcher, whose work inspired the heritage units, and NS Chairman, President, and CEO Wick Moorman appeared at the event. Amtrak sent a display train with heritage unit 156 and an F40.

The units return to work with one group heading to Knoxville, Tenn., today, and another heading to Roanoke, Va., for set up or return to service. The Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit is set to pull excursions from Roanoke to Bristol on Saturday in place of ailing 2-8-0 No. 630. The N&W, Virginian, and Interstate heritage units will be on display Saturday at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, which is welcoming back Bi-centennial SD45 No. 1776, Trains magazine's 2011 Preservation Award Winner.
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5 stars
With events that are significant, I tend to note the "anniversary" of those times. At work today I remembered where I was last Tuesday and was so glad to have been there. It was great to meet folks from across the country. 4000 folks there; wow to be part of something so fine and grand. I continue to be grateful for this opportunity, look forward to getting my slides back, and look forward to the Trains book about these units. Now to get pictures of them working, not posing!
Even though it was firecracker hot on the 4th, the event was worth being in the heat for. The paint schemes were beautiful and being that close to all those units made you forget how hot it was. My wife had never seen a dome car except in pictures and the full length dome Amtrak had displayed there gave her a great perspective. Many thanks to the NC Transportation Museum staff, NS and all the volunteers who made this a wonderful and memorable experience.
I truly envy each and every person who had the opportunity to attend the event. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be an HO and/or O gauge manufacturer who will produce a series of the 20 locomotives.
I think that cool the railroad is honoring it past.
I think that cool the railroad is honoring it past.
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