Facebook Page
NC Museums, Tourist & Prototype Railroads

Track Spacer

Welcome to NC sign

Museums, Tourist Railroads
& Prototype Railroads
in North Carolina


Track Spacer

Table of Contents

Museums, Tourist Railroads & Prototype Railroads in NC

  Museums & Tourist Railroads

  NC Prototype Railroads


Click on title for desired topic.


This alphabetical listing of railroad museums, tourist railroads and prototype railroads in North Carolina is provided as a service to Club Members and visitors to this area.

The NC Transportation Museum (Historic Spencer Shops) in Spencer NC is one of the outstanding railroad museums in the country, and well worth a special visit. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Dillsboro NC is highly recommended for scenic excursions and special events.


Track Spacer

Museums and Tourist Railroads


East Carolina Chapter, N.R.H.S.
New Hope Valley Railway

North Carolina Railroad Museum
3900 Bonsal Road
New Hill, NC 27562-0040

Phone: (919) 396-5833

Connect to the New Hope Valley Railroad Web-Site:


As well as a museum, the New Hope Valley Railroad operates over 6.5 miles of track. Equipment includes two General Electric, two Whitcomb diesel-electric locomotives, a tank (0-4-0) steam locomotive, and passenger and freight cars.

Train Ride Days are the first Sunday of each month from May through November. Halloween trains operate the Saturday before Halloween. Christmas trains operate on the first three weekends (both Saturday and Sunday) following Thanksgiving. Check the NHV web site for schedules. Group Rides are available to Civic Groups, schools and other organizations; call the number at the left. The museum is staffed only on Saturday, and Train and Group Ride Days, although the Museum and Railroad equipment can be viewed any day of the week.

The museum has constructed a 6,685 sq. ft. G scale garden railroad with a walking path surrounding the layout. There are 3 main outer loops, consisting of 210, 215 and 220 feet of track with 2 large tunnels and a 12-foot long overhead truss bridge. AristoCraft, Bachmann, LGB, Piko and USA Trains stock, buildings and equipment are used on the layout. Current construction is the 1200 sq. ft. center layout area, consisting of 9 loops, 2 large mountains and numerous bridges, trestles, waterfalls, ponds, buildings, cars, people and many plants. There will be a model of the City of Apex, logging, industrial and rural areas of North Carolina.

Directions from Raleigh: Take US 1 south to exit 89, the Jordan Lake/New Hill exit. Turn right and go 1 mile to New Hill. Turn left and go 2.5 miles south on old US 1. Turn left onto Bonsal Road just before going under the two railroad bridges. Parking is on your right before crossing the railroad tracks.

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
P.O. Box 1490
Dillsboro, NC 28713

For information, schedule and reservations, call 1-800-872-4681 or 828-586-8811
connect to the GSMR Web-site at
E-mail the GSMR at

Directions to Dillsboro:
From Interstate 40 Exit 27 follow the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway (Highway 74) to Dillsboro.

Frequencies: 461.575 & 463.250 MHz

Special Excursions include:
Valentine's Day Dinner Train
The Little Engine That Could
Cottontail Express
Freedom Train
Mother's Day Gourmet Dinner Train
Father's Day Beer/Dinner Train
New World Wines Dinner Train
Old World Wines Dinner Train
Day Out with Thomas
Leaf Season Viewing Train
Oktoberfest Beer/Dinner Train
Veteran's Day Train
Biltmore Estate Wine/Dinner Train
Peanuts the Great Pumpkin Patch Express
The Polar Express
Polar Express Dining Train
New Year's Eve Gala

Gourmet Dining & Mystery Theatre Trains

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad provides a full season of over 836 tourist railway round trip excursions. On passenger schedules, the railway operates four diesel-electric locomotives and one Baldwin steam locomotive (No. 1702, ex-US Army). Passengers ride comfortable, reconditioned coaches, crown coaches, club cars, dining cars, cabooses and open cars which are ideal for viewing and picture taking. Scenic excursions take you through a beautiful section of western North Carolina with views of the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains, winding rivers and lakes, and white-water rafting.

The GSMR operates 53 miles of former Southern Railway track and right-of-way between Dillsboro and Andrews, NC. Depots are located in Dillsboro, Bryson City and Andrews, NC. Excursions run from Dillsboro to Bryson City, Bryson City to the Nantahala Gorge and Dillsboro to Andrews.

On Saturdays from February through November the GSMR operates a Gourmet Dinner Train -- a romantic dining experience (departing from Dillsboro). Dinner includes an appetizer, choice of three entrees, fresh vegetables, salad, dinner rolls, dessert and coffee or tea. Cocktails and wine are available. Advance reservations required.

On certain Fridays from May through November the GSMR operates a Mystery Theatre Dinner Train, a three hour dinner and performance where passengers participate in solving the mystery on board.

Many special excursions are operated throughout the year, as listed at left.

Over the last several years the GSMR has played a part in several motion pictures: "The Fugitive," starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones; "My Fellow Americans," starring Jack Lemmon, James Garner and Dan Aykroyd; "Digging to China," with Kevin Bacon; "Paradise Falls," with Sean Bridges and Nick Searcy; and "Forces of Nature," with Sandra Bullock and Ben Afleck. Steam Locomotive 1702 starred in the movie: "This Property is Condemned," with Robert Redford, Natalie Wood and Charles Bronson.

Visit the Smoky Mountain Trains scenic model railroad museum in Bryson City, adjacent to the train depot, which features a collection of 7,200 Lionel locomotives, cars and accessories. There are 24' x 15' and 15' x 21' operating layouts.

National Railroad Museum
and Hall of Fame

(Seaboard Museum)
PO Box 1583
120 Spring Street
Hamlet, NC 28345

Phone: (910 582-3555

The museum, the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame, occupies a portion of the old (1900) passenger station at the diamond. There is a Seaboard SDP35 (#1114) and a caboose. In the station are nicely done exhibits and a gift shop. There is plenty of modern action outside -- the largest CSX yard in North Carolina is nearby, and nearly all the traffic passes within sight of the museum.

Visiting hours are Saturday, 10am - 5pm and Sunday, 1pm - 5pm. Free.

NC Transportation Museum
Southern Railway Spencer Shops
411 S. Salisbury Avenue
(Exit 79 on Interstate 85)
PO Box 165
Spencer, NC 28159

Phone: 1-877-628-6386
Phone: (704) 636-2889
Fax: (704) 639-1881

Connect to the museum's web-site at:

Directions: After exiting Interstate 85 at Exit 79, there are several signs directing you to the museum. Exit 79 is approximately 40 miles north of Charlotte and 50 miles south of Greensboro.

Frequency: 155.145 MHz

While this state-owned museum attempts to cover all forms of transportation relevant to NC, railroads are the primary focus. The site was a Southern Railway heavy maintenance shop for much of this century, located halfway between Washington and Atlanta.

The roundhouse is the largest surviving roundhouse in the south, and enables the proper display of much rail equipment, including a Shay (Graham County #1925), Seaboard 2-10-0, ACL 4-6-0, SR 2-8-0 #604 (ex BC&G #4), SR GP30 #2601, N&W GP9, ACL E3 #501, SR FP7 #6133 and SR E8 #6900. Some of these locomotives pull a weekend train on a 3 mile trip around the 57-acre grounds. Check the museum's web-site or call for train ride schedules.

The restoration job done on the roundhouse and passenger station, and the working equipment, is first class. This museum is among the finest. Definitely worth a day trip if you are within 200 miles.

Hours are 9 -5, Mondays - Saturdays and 1 - 5 Sundays, April 1 - October 31. Hours are reduced and the museum is closed Mondays during winter. Admission is free.

Piedmont Railroad Museum & Library
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut Street
Cary, NC 27513

Connect to the museum's web-site at:

Founded in 2009, The Piedmont Railroad Museum & Library, Inc. is dedicated to preserving the rich railroad history of the Central and Coastal Piedmont Region of the State of North Carolina. The Museum and Library will be a new destination to meet and enjoy the extensive history of the over 200 railroads which served the Piedmont area.

Click on the link at left to read about our plans to Preserve the Past, Educate the Present, and Build the Future.

The Museum has a store in Cary Towne Centre mall that sell model railroad equipment in all scales.

The Piedmont Railroad Museum & Library, Inc. is currently looking for a suitable site to locate our museum building to provide space for exhibits and prototype rolling stock. The Museum has also begun the architectural design of a suitable building to contain our exhibits, prototype displays, the library and model railroad layouts, plus a meeting room and gift shop.

Smoky Mountain Trains
100 Greenlee Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone: 1-800-872-4681 x 215

Connect to the Smoky Mountain Trains web-site:

Smoky Mountain Trains is more than an ordinary museum. With its collection of 7,000 Lionel™ engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout, children’s activity center, and gift/toy shop, Smoky Mountain Trains has something for everyone.

The vast collection dates back to 1918 and features such classics as the 1934 Blue Comet Passenger set and the more recent Joshua Lionel Cowen Challenger steam locomotives.

A second layout, built by model railroad custom benchwork, opened in 2006. We are excited about what it will provide to our young visitors — and those who still think young! We have G-gauge, Lionel Standard gauge, O scale and HO operating on the new layout. But, what is different is that you (or the kid in you) and the kids can push buttons and operate the trains and over 20 accessory items.

Tweetsie Railroad
P.O. Box 388
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Phone: (828) 264-9061
Toll Free: 1-800-526-5740

Connect to the Tweetsie web-site:

Send E-mail to the Tweetsie at:

Located on Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

Off the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 291 at the Boone exit.

Frequencies: 468.400 & 468.900 MHz

The Tweetsie Railroad is North Carolina's first theme park, and offers a trip back into the days of the Old West. Hop aboard the train for an unforgettable three-mile journey through the scenic mountains . . . but watch out for train robbers and marauding Indians! There are also amusement rides for all ages and live entertainment throughout the park, including the musical show and Can-Can girls at the Palace Saloon. Walk down Main Street, and chat with the cowpokes and gunslingers. Ride the chair lift to Miner's Mountain, where you can pan for gold and stroll through the Deer Park.

There is a special Halloween Festival and Ghost Train in October.

The railroad operates two steam locomotives. 4-6-0 Engine No. 12 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1917 for the original ET&WNC railroad. 2-8-2 Engine No. 190, the "Yukon Queen" was purchased in 1960, brought to the Tweetsie Railroad from Alaska and restored for operation. An authentic ET&WNC wooden coach remains and runs regularly, usually on the rear of the train.

Wilmington Railroad Museum
501 Nutt Street
(Red Cross and Water Streets)
Wilmington, NC 28401

Phone: (910) 763-2634

Connect to the museum's web-site:

Located in part of an old ACL warehouse complex, now mostly shops, close to the Cape Fear River front. The local model RR club has HO and O scale layouts upstairs. There are a variety of exhibits that include folklore, ghost stories, railroad advertising, railroad police, railroad accidents and disasters, and various equipment and gear used by railroad workers. Outside are various items of rolling stock (RF&P boxcar and 2 cabooses) and a steam locomotive (ACL 4-6-0 #250) that has recently been renovated. The Museum has a children's corner.

Admission is $4.00 for adults, $3.50 for senior citizens and military, $2.50 for children 6-11, free for children under 6.

Worth visiting if you are in Wilmington.




Track Spacer

Prototype Railroads

Railroad Name Notes


Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway




Operates Amtrak and NCDOT passenger trains.


Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad



Alexander Railroad



Atlantic & Western Railway, LP

Owned by Genesee & Wyoming, Rochester NY.


Chesapeake & Albemarle Railroad

Owned by RailAmerica, Inc., Boca Raton FL. ROW owned by NS.


Carolina Southern Railroad



Cape Fear Railways

Owned by Seaboard Corp, Shawnee Mission, KS.


Carolina Coastal Railway

ROW owned by NS


Craggy Mountain Railroad



Camp Lejeune Railroad

Owned by USMC, affiliated with Norfolk Southern.


CSX Transportation

Class 1 Railroad


Clinton Terminal Railroad Company



Caldwell County Railroad

ROW owned by Caldwell Co. Economic Devel Comm.


Great Smoky Mountains Railway

Tourist Railroad, owned by American Heritage Railways, Coral Gables FL.


High Point, Thomasville, & Denton Railroad

Owned by CSX & NS.


Laurinburg & Southern Company, Inc.

Owned by Gulf & Ohio Railways, Knoxville, TN


North Carolina Department of Transportation

Owns Rights-of-Way and Passenger Trains.


North Carolina Railroad

Owns Rights-of-Way, all leased to NS.


North Carolina State Ports Authority

Owns Right-of-Way.


North Carolina & Virginia Railroad

Owned by RailAmerica, Inc., Boca Raton FL.


New Hope Valley Railroad

Owned/operated by East Carolina Chapter, NRHS.


Norfolk Southern Corporation

Class 1 Railroad


Pee Dee River Railway



Piedmont & Northern Railway

NCDOT (Right of Way)
Patriot Rail Corporation (Operations)


Red Springs & Northern Railroad

Red Springs & Northern Foundation, Parkton NC.


State University Railroad

Owned by NC & NCRR, ROW leased to NS


Thermal Belt Railway

Owned by Southeast Shortlines, Morganton, NC.
ROW owned by Rutherford Railroad Development Corp.


US Army Railroad



Winston-Salem Southbound Railway

Owned by CSX & NS.


Wilmington Terminal Railroad, Inc.

Owned by Genesee & Wyoming, Rochester NY. ROW by NC Ports Authority


Yadkin Valley Railroad

Owned by Gulf & Ohio Railways. ROW owned by NS.

Source of information: NCDOT
For more information about prototype railroads in North Carolina, click here to go to the NC Railfan Guide for Shortlines.




Track Spacer

Copyright © 1997–2020 North Raleigh Model Railroad Club. All rights reserved.
The NRMRC is a Not-For-Profit Corporation incorporated in North Carolina.
The various logos and heralds shown here are the property of their respective organizations.

Last updated: Monday April 6, 2020


North Raleigh Model Railroad Club
Webmaster: John M Wallis (Email)