The North Carolina Railway Museum is now home to two historic nuclear fuel train escort cabooses once used by Carolina Power & Light Company (now Duke Energy) to move spent nuclear fuel between nuclear power plants in the Carolinas. Both cabooses were donated to the NCRM by Duke Energy. After moving them to the NCRM as part of our “Save the Ten”  project completed in May 2022, the two cabooses were meticulously restored by our volunteers. Read below to see how you can explore inside or take a train ride on these very special cabooses.

During our 2023 operating season, the first of these two cabooses entered service on New Hope Valley Railway train rides. Caboose #302 (formerly CPRX 10002) is a museum in itself that tells the history of the nuclear fuel trains and their crews with many displays and pictures. For the 2024 season, caboose #302 is planned to be primarily on static display in our railyard. When it is open to see, a docent will be onboard to explain its history.









 During our 2024 operating season, our second fuel train caboose has entered service for train rides on the New Hope Valley Railway. Caboose #309 (formerly CPRX 10009) will be our “rolling” museum to tell the history of the nuclear fuel trains and their crews. During train rides a docent/brakeman will be on board to also talk about the utility, railroad, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol that rode together on #309 when it was in fuel train service. A special feature of #309 is that it has a very quiet diesel generator underneath that creates the electricity for lighting and two ceiling mounted AC/heat pump units to keep the inside cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Another feature is that four of the seats on board are “air cushioned” to give a comfortable and adjustable seating position using high pressure air. There is a large storage locker with padded seating on top for up to 4 riders to sit together. A ride in #309 is offered as a private experience for a family or group limited to 10 people (note: two seats require climbing up a ladder into the cupola observation area up top). Children under age 2 that can sit in an adult’s lap can ride along at no extra cost.

Tickets to ride caboose #309 may be purchased on our Buy Tickets Calendar Link. If not listed for a date/time you select it is already sold. Try another date/time. Be careful when trying to book caboose #309 to not incorrectly book either caboose #308 “The Family Caboose”, or the stationary “Party Caboose”.

 See the link to the Simulated Fuel Train Video

History of the Fuel Train Cabooses

In May 2022, the NCRM successfully moved 10 railroad cars over public roads from the Harris Nuclear Power Plant to our rail yard. Two of these railroad cars are cabooses that were used as escort vehicles to accompany trains carrying spent nuclear fuel between Duke Energy predecessors Carolina Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy nuclear power plants in the Carolinas. These trains ran between 1989 to 2008 safely moving spent nuclear fuel without incident. Aside from utility and railroad personnel that would ride in these cabooses, there were also NC State Highway Patrol personnel providing security. Given their unique escort duties, these cabooses received many modifications not normally seen in typical railroad cabooses. Diesel generators, upgraded electrical systems to support utility and NC SHP radio equipment, air conditioning, and other creature comforts for the crews. There are also gun mounts installed for the rifles carried by the NC SHP personnel.

Actual Fuel Train in Operation

Save the Ten Cabooses as found at HNP in 2019













Over the past year these two escort cabooses have been meticulously cleaned, and repainted. The many, many items left behind by the last crews have been curated for display. And yes, the “historic” Fig Newtons left behind in one of the cabooses by its last crew are on display, too. A collection of historic photos, maps, and diagrams have also been installed to tell the history of the nuclear fuel trains.

To inaugurate the escort cabooses into operation on the NCRM’s New Hope Valley Railway, a special event was organized on May 20, 2023 for 11 remaining nuclear fuel train veterans, their families and guests plus a number of NC State government dignitaries. All were able to ride a “simulated” fuel train with both cabooses and other fuel train rail cars plus our regular excursion train to allow a run by of both trains at our north end.

Fuel Train Veterans Ready to Ride May 20, 2023

Fuel Train Veteran Event Attendees May 20, 2023


NC State Highway Patrol Fuel Train Veterans and Current Hazmat Escort Team