Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Back Shop

Located in Spencer, North Carolina an old railroad town were the Spencer Shops a repair facility for Southern Railway that was named after the first president of the company Samuel Spencer, the old back shop shown here was photographed in the late 1980's, it was built in 1905 to serve as a major overhaul facility for steam locomotives and at one time the largest commercial building in North Carolina, standing 60 feet high 150 feet wide and two football fields long it is the largest structure on the grounds, it housed lathes and milling machines to re-machine parts before the reassembly of the locomotives, at its peak of activity two or three locomotives emerged from its doors every day.

In whole the facility was founded by Southern Railway in 1896 and served its rail lines between Washington DC and Atlanta Georgia, overhauls were first done on steam locomotives then on freight equipment. In the 1950's with the dieselization of Southern Railways the facility slowly became obsolete throughout the 1960's and 70's and because diesels could be repaired in half the time and with fewer people by the late 1970 the doors were closed at Spencer and its repairs and service moved to the Linnwood Yard located 12 miles north in Davidson County.

In 1977 Southern gave the State of North Carolina 3 acres of the Spencer Facility and another 54 acres in 1979 and made way for The North Carolina Transportation Museum which opened its doors in 1980 with one or two building followed by more throughout the 1980's and 90's, ongoing preservation projects still continue to this day.
The site also has besides the old repair buildings a 37 stall roundhouse and turntable that includes 25 locomotives and other exhibits.

If ever visiting the Charlotte or Winston-Salem areas of North Carolina, both within 30 miles away, this is a must see museum and town !


johnV said...

Hi Ratso,

Welcome to the blogspot group of blogcatalog.

Your pics are pretty awesome.

Richard Rizzo said...

thank you John for both the welcome and compliment. :)

Jasmine said...

Very interesting post.
Informative and educational.

Richard Rizzo said...

thank you Jasmine, its history brings its images to life and I was happy to be able to photograph this place several times over a period of a decade or so during the late 1970's through the early 90's.