This morning, a small group of museum volunteers at the New Hope Valley Ry., in Bonsal, NC welcomed home the "first half" of a neat 1927 Vulcan 2-6-2. The tender will be arriving in the next couple days. It's in fairly good shape, but will need many years, and lots and lots of money, before it will become operational again. But we've got a dedicated team of volunteers, and hopefully we can bring another one back from the dead.
New Hope Valley Railway Brings Home Historic Steam Engine
(Bonsal, NC, Feb. 6, 2013) The New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR) will bring historic steam locomotive, Cliffside Railroad 110, home to North Carolina after more than 60 years in residence at Stone Mountain Park, Georgia. The Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), which manages the park, recently gifted this treasured, old-time engine to the NHVR located in Bonsal, N.C.
The engine, numbered 110 and affectionately called “Old Puffer” by the train crews who ran it down the three-mile Cliffside Railway, served the town of Cliffside, N.C., located 47 miles west of Charlotte. From its beginnings in the early 1900s, it hauled in supplies for town residents from nearby junctions, sent finished products to connecting railways and brought in raw materials to Cliffside Mills, the South’s largest gingham textile plant. The train carried passengers in and out of Cliffside and even picked up school children on their way back to the schoolhouse during its mid-day run into Cliffside.
The most famous passengers on the Cliffside 110 were a family of chickens who took their first ride in the early 1930s just as the train was nearing Cliffside Junction. One of the engineers spotted a hen and three chicks on the tracks, stopped the train and loaded them on board. The family of chickens must have enjoyed that first ride because for years after when the whistle sounded they would scurry up to the train to board and then hop back off to scratch and peck around the yards as the train stopped or pulled into the shop between runs.
As automobiles became a more popular mode of transportation for passengers, the Cliffside 110 continued to carry freight until it was retired and replaced by a more modern diesel engine in 1962.
“As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, it’s only fitting to bring a steam engine with such rich North Carolina history back to its original glory,” says NHVR President Mike MacLean. “A dedicated team of New Hope Valley Railway volunteers has been restoring and running trains since 1983. Our knowledge and expertise will help put the Cliffside 110 back on the tracks chugging among the North Carolina pines once again.”
The NHVR shares a similar history to Cliffside’s, both railways were organized in the early 1900s and their short tracks were used to carry materials and some passenger cars from North Carolina mills to connecting rail lines. While the Cliffside freight cars were hauling textiles, the NHVR’s were running timber along with other supplies like cotton, corn, beans and tobacco.
NHVR will restore the historic steam engine so it can operate on the 4-mile main line used by the railway for public ride days, generally held the first Sunday of each month beginning in April and running through the end of the year. The restoration effort will take five to seven years and cost an estimated $350,000 to $600,000, which will be funded exclusively through the generosity of our members and donors. Donations can be made on the NHVR website at www.TriangleTrain.com.
About New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR)
The Triangle’s Train is located in historic Bonsal, North Carolina, just 10 minutes south of Apex off of U.S. Highway 1 at Exit 89. Trains generally operate one Sunday each month beginning in the spring through the end of the year. There are also special Halloween and Santa trains as well as themed events, charter and group train rides, opportunities to operate-a-locomotive and birthday parties in an historic caboose. The North Carolina Railway Museum, a collection of antique train cars and an elaborate G Scale model garden railroad, is also part of the NHVR grounds along with a gift shop. Visit www.TriangleTrain.com.
Lotsa RR history activity there in central encee. Was just paging through books on the Edwards Co. of Sanford, N.C., in that area. That railcar factory was later used for a lot of things and may still be cranking out something, as it was recently. Are those buildings still standing in Sanford, along the track of the old Atlantic and Western?
Somebody started a company to restore those old Edwards cars and cranked out at
least one new one that I think ran on a tourist line in W.Va......is that company still in existence..., either, the restoration company or the tourist line? This about 2005, so not so long ago.
??Another one of THOSE!!?? What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!
Great news regarding the #110 as it joins one of Cliffside's woodside cabooses in North Carolina, an early restoration sitting on the rails in the Roundhouse at Spencer Shops of the Transportation Museum.
The Cliffside Railway connected the hydro-electric-operated Gingham/Towel/ Denim plant with the Seaboard Railroad at Cliffside Junction. It served three other Textile Plants located along the Little Broad River, the sister plants in Avondale and Caroleen as well as one owned by a competitor in the town of Henrietta.
During the 87 year life of the railroad its primary job, along with transporting the chickens and human "hobos", was cotton, coal and general supplies inbound and cloth outbound.
When the engines were headed forward [north] they were going to the SAL Junction and when backward to the Mill--no turntable.
Interestingly, the Clinchfield Ry with its huge 4-6-6-4s was located across the River and served Duke Power's huge Cliffside coal-fired power plant down river toward Spartanburg from the Cliffside Textile plant.
#110, a Vulcan engine bought used in 1933 ,was the last of the several steamers the Cliffside owned, starting at the beginning with two very small NYC El system engines, and in 1921 a new 2-6-0 built by Glover in Marietta,Georgia. In July 1962 #110 had the "honor" of hauling in its own diesel replacement and along with Baldwin #40* was retired and both were sold. Cliffside was the last commercially operated steam railroad in the state. However, even the diesels did not survive trucking, lawyers, liability insurance and 18 grade crossings and the Railroad shut down in 1992. The old original Mill did not survive China and the other "Asian Tigers" and was demolished in 2005.