Science center gets on track for Old 97 Rail Days in September

Danville Science Center hosts Old 97 Rail Days in Danville, Va.
Tiny trains and tracks, bridges and tunnels, mountains and valleys — and all the assorted buildings, villages and scenery seen along routes — will be on display during the Danville Science Center’s annual Old 97 Rail Days on Sept. 23-24.

The Old 97 — a Southern Railway mail train — crashed in Danville on Sept. 27, 1903, killing 11 and injuring seven. Blamed on the engineer pouring on extra speed to keep on schedule, the event made headlines around the country and spawned at least one popular song.

To honor the lives lost, the science center first held Old 97 Rail Days on the 100th anniversary of the crash. The event’s popularity has kept it returning for 15 years since, Adam Goebel, executive director of the science center, said.

Model train clubs up and down the East Coast — collectively called the Eastern N-Line Partnership — got together to build a huge N-scale model train set-up, which is assembled in the Pepsi Building across from the science center.

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