The North Carolina Railway Museum, Inc. (NCRM) is an IRS registered, educationally focused 501(c)3 non-profit organization, incorporated in North Carolina. Our mission is to preserve and share North Carolina’s railroad history with the public. We are especially proud of our work with school and children’s groups, special needs groups, senior groups, and many others who visit us from North Carolina, across the US, and beyond. We are a 100% all volunteer operation.
The NCRM was originally incorporated in 1963 in Greenville, NC as the East Carolina Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. (ECC NRHS). The NRHS is an over 80 year old non-profit dedicated to rail history preservation with nearly 50 chapters across the US. It serves as an umbrella organization for many rail history enthusiasts, railroad preservationists, museums, and historic railroad operations. For more info, see www.nrhs.com
Beginning in the 1960’s the ECC NRHS began acquiring and preserving historic railroad equipment in Greenville, NC. During this time, the ECC NRHS became an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit to facilitate donations for the acquisition and preservation of rail equipment. Several years later, their equipment was relocated to a short line of track in Farmville, NC where it remained until 1983. In 1983, the ECC NRHS acquired the historic railroad and property located in Bonsal, NC that was being abandoned by the Southern Railway (SOU).
To better communicate its mission to the public, the ECC NRHS changed its name in 2008 to become the North Carolina Railway Museum, Inc. It continued as a 501(c)3 non-profit as originally registered with the IRS in 1966, but with the organization’s new name.
NCRM is an “open-air” facility with exhibits that include a collection of historic and heritage railroad equipment dating back to the 1920s, two steam locomotives, more than a half-dozen diesel engines, covered open-air excursion cars for passengers, a working garden railroad (G Scale), and numerous artifacts of North Carolina railroad history. We have designed our rail yard in a way to show visitors what a typical short line railroad looked like in North Carolina in the 1950s.
The NCRM also operates the New Hope Valley Railway (NHVRy) so that visitors can experience a ride on our historic railroad. Also affectionately known as the “Triangle’s Train”, it travels along 4 miles of historic track through piney woods and over a trestle on an hour-long round trip from Bonsal to New Hill and back. In addition, on some ride days we also offer food, drinks, music, and other entertainment for families, children and railroad enthusiasts. For more info about the NHVRy history, see our history page.
One-hundred percent of NHVRy ticket fare revenues after sales taxes, and donations received, go directly into our museum. Aside from maintaining our track and equipment, we are also engaged in several important railroad preservation projects including the 1884 Goldston depot relocated 30 miles to our property in 2017, returning to operation a historic sawmill that was typically found in many small towns in NC, and restoring our two steam locomotives. Some of NCRM’s future projects include constructing additional buildings to house railroad equipment and artifacts, and to continue to offer educational opportunities to our visitors.
For nearly 40 years in Bonsal, NCRM volunteers have provided a memorable experience to those visiting us. As an educationally focused non-profit, we hope to continue to share our love and knowledge of North Carolina railroads with future generations. We enthusiastically welcome new members to join our organization and become active volunteers. Any skills or interests can be put to good use. We do not require any railroad industry experience (but that is certainly highly desired). We can train volunteers who might be interested to serve as car hosts, tour guides, brakemen, conductors, and even engineers. See our Membership page for more info.
The North Carolina Railway Museum is a nonprofit organization recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Code. As a charitable organization, all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Copies of NCRM’s tax-exempt determination (EO) letter and IRS Form 990 filings will be made available upon request.