Saluda Train Tales - First Peak of the Blue Ridge
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Saluda Train Tales

November 19, 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


November Saluda Train Tales™- “History of the Saluda Grade”

The November 19, 2021, Train Tales will be presented by David O’Brien, a Saluda Historic Depot docent and member of the Board of Directors.

David has acquired an interest in the history of the Grade and his talk spans the time from the “dream” in 1830 and the train’s first arrival in Saluda in 1878 to the cancelation of passenger service in 1968 and freight in 2001. Emphasis is given to the need for additional safety measures during the era of steam engines and the transition to the diesel era beginning in 1949.

An overview of his talk can be seen in the first 15 minutes of the video “Abandoned Railways – Saluda” available on the Depot’s website. The Train Tales presentation was first given at the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) regional convention in Greenville, SC, hosted by the “Swamp Rabbit Express” Model Train Club, in September 2021.

David’s career spanned more than 40 years, including the time he spent at NCSU and NASA Langley Research Center obtaining a Ph.D. with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. His career has focused on testing, data analysis, dynamics, noise control, product troubleshooting, and program management with John Deere Product Engineering Center and Honeywell Aerospace Aircraft Landing Systems. Currently, David “e-commutes” as a Senior Technical Specialist for an engineering consulting firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he develops and implements applied mathematical techniques for experimental data analysis. In addition, David has been an adjunct instructor for the Mechanical Engineering Departments of three universities: NCSU, Iowa State, and Purdue.

In the 1950s David and his father were avid “steam engine watchers” which initiated his love for trains – making it only natural that he enjoys volunteering at the Saluda Historic Depot. Dave has been a volunteer at the Depot for a number of years and has shared his love of trains and knowledge of the Saluda Grade with visitors. He has been a valuable resource to the board members and always willing to give a helping hand.

These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. Doors open at 6:30. Presentation is 7pm to 8:30pm. The events are free and voluntary donations are appreciated.

Due to COVID-19 CDC Guidelines to stay 6’ apart, we will be limited to 30 guests to the event. To keep everyone safe, we ask that you wear a mask covering.

The event will be videoed and available on


November 19, 2021
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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Saluda Historic Depot
32 W Main St
Saluda, NC 28773 United States
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