Plan Your Visit

Discover the people and machines that have moved North Carolina. Located on the site of Southern Railway's former steam locomotive repair facility Spencer Shops, this is where locomotives that hauled Southern's passenger trains and freight trains filled with North Carolina furniture, textiles, tobacco, and produce were serviced from 1896 to the late 1970's. Up to 3,000 people once worked here but today visitors can see an authentic train depot, antique automobiles, and a roundhouse with 25 locomotives. 

Hours of Operation

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday

Regular Train Rides

Thurs. and Fri.: 10:30, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm
Saturday: 10:30, 11:30 am, 1:30, 2:30 pm
Sunday: 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 pm

Regular Museum Admission*

Adults: $6
Seniors/Military: $5
Children 3 to 12: $4
Children 2 and Under: FREE

Admission Plus Train Ride*

Adults: $12
Seniors/Military: $10
Children 3 to 12: $8
Children 2 and Under: FREE

*NC state sales tax applies
*Events may have special admission
prices and different schedules (Day
Out With Thomas, THE POLAR BEAR
EXPRESS Train Rides, etc.)


From Interstate 85 north of Salisbury take exit 79. Turn west following the brown signs to Salisbury Avenue. Make a left; the entrance is approximately one-half mile on the left. Travel time from Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Statesville is less than one hour.

North Carolina Transportation Museum
Phone: (704) 636-2889; Fax: (704) 639-1881
411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer, N.C. 28159
GPS: 35.68717933120, -80.43469621250 


Historic Structures
Buildings open to the public include Barber Junction Depot (1913), the site reception center; the Master Mechanic's Office (1911), with museum offices, the Gift Station, and the Wagons, Wheels, and Wings transportation exhibit; the Flue Shop (1924), home of the Bumper to Bumper automobile exhibit; and the Bob Julian Roundhouse (1924), a 37-bay 100,000-square-foot railroad exhibit.
Structures viewable from the exterior but not open to the public include the Paint Shop (1902), Oil House (1913), Storehouse #3 (1896), Roundhouse Office (pre-1940s), Powerhouse (1913), Car Repair Shed (1917), Wheel Balancing Shed (pre-1940s), Sand House (1913), and Backshop (1905).
Visitor Center
Barber Junction, adjacent to the parking lot, serves as the site orientation point. Site information, train ride tickets, train boarding, shuttle service, restrooms, and group check-in are all located here.
Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibits
Walking paths extend to all exhibit buildings (shuttle also available). A historic bridge overlooks the train ride tracks, and the Centennial Brickyard honors Spencer Shops employees and museum supporters.
Handicapped Accessibility
The museum exhibit buildings and restrooms are accessible. A shuttle bus with wheelchair lift for on-site transportation is available. The train ride is wheelchair accessible with a 15-minute notice. Entry to most historic rail cars is not accessible. All video programs are captioned.
Picnic Facilities
Picnic shelters and tables are available on the grounds.
Gift Shop
The Gift Station has items for children and adults including books, videos, T-shirts, sweatshirts, Christmas ornaments, Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise, and other souvenirs.

Programs, Group Activities

Guided school programs are offered with a variety of themes and grade levels on different subject matters. Space is in high demand during school months. Church groups and home schools are encouraged to visit after lunch. Call (704)636-2889 early for reservations and group rates. No charge for school programs (excluding train/turntable). Self-guided tours of the museum's three exhibit areas are available daily.

Train rides

A 25-minute ride around the 57-acre museum property is available. See fees below. The train ride schedule is:

April 1 through Labor Day (diesel Mon.-Fri.; steam on weekends)

  • Mon.-Sat.: 11 a.m.; 1, 2, and 3 p.m.
  • Sun.: 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m.

September through mid-December (diesel only)

  • Sat.: 11 a.m.; 1, 2, and 3 p.m.
  • Sun.: 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m.
Turntable Rides
Ride the 100-foot-long turntable which moves the locomotives from one track to another. See fees below.
Video Program
The 15-minute video Spencer Shops details the history of the shops, the town, the wreck of Old 9, and more.
Slide Show
The 13-minute slide program, housed in a railroad refrigerator car, details the history of transportation in North Carolina.

Guided Tours

We ask that groups make reservations in advance.

Museum Admission (Includes on-site train ride)

Adults $12
Seniors (60+)/Military $10
Children (ages 3-12) $8
Children 2 and under FREE