Diesels from two railroads honoring first responders will headline fire truck festival in N.C.

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CSX 911 and 1776 will add to the fire truck festival at the N.C. Transportation Museum Saturday.
Chris Anderson
SPENCER, N.C. — Commemorative locomotives from CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway are set to meet for the first time at an event at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer this weekend.

The museum says that as part of its annual Fire Truck Festival, set for June 22, CSX's "Spirit of Our First Responders" locomotive no. 911 and "Spirit of Our Armed Forces" locomotive no. 1776 will join Norfolk Southern's "Honoring First Responders" no. 911 on display. The event will mark the first time the locomotives have been displayed with one another.

"As soon as CSX released their 911 and 1776 locomotives, we were in touch to see if they would consider sending the 911 here," NCTM Administration Director Marcus Neubacher tells Trains News Wire. "We had also requested Norfolk Southern’s 911, which had appeared at this event in previous years. We worked with Stacey Mansfield and Casey Thomason of NS and Eric Hendrickson of CSX, all of whom were very supportive of getting the locomotives together for this big event. It’s an opportunity for both Class I railroads serving North Carolina to show their appreciation for our heroes at the largest gathering of fire trucks in North Carolina."

The Fire Truck Festival will feature more than 100 vintage and modern fire trucks from collectors and departments across North Carolina, Neubacher says. The Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band will also perform during the event. Neubacher says NS has been a part of the event for several years, and CSX is also no stranger to supporting the museum's efforts.
"NS has been supporting the Fire Truck Festival and many other NCTM events for years," Neubacher says. "We have also worked with CSX on past projects including the 2017 post-restoration debut of the “Texas” locomotive from the Atlanta History Center."

The festival will also include several events involving the CSX and NS locomotives.
Neubacher says a night photo shoot will be held Friday, June 21 from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. featuring the 1776 and the two 911 locomotives. The Fire Truck Festival gets underway Saturday at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. that same day with a fire truck parade. Also at the conclusion, the 1776 and the 911 locomotives will be displayed at the museum's Bob Julian Roundhouse. The museum will also offer train rides in its own passenger trains, not powered by the CSX or NS locomotives. Tickets are available online at www.nctrans.org or by calling 704-636-2889. Tickets are also available at the gate, but advance ticket purchase is highly recommended especially for the train rides which typically sell out.

CSX Network Planning Director Eric Hendrickson tells Trains News Wire that the gathering of the locomotives was a "last-minute decision," but he is looking forward to gathering his railroad's and Norfolk Southern's locomotives together.

"North Carolina is a state we serve, and this will be a good showing for the first responders locomotives. It's rewarding to partner with Norfolk Southern and the museum on this because, yes, Norfolk Southern is a competitor, but more than anything they're a partner is this and so much more, and it's terrific to get together and team up to display the gratitude that both railroads have for our first responders," Hendrickson says.

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