Duluth railway museum offers 'speeder rides' this weekend

All aboard! 

Visitors to Duluth’s Southeastern Railway Museum this weekend will have a rare opportunity to ride the rails in a type of railcar many people never even realized existed.

This Saturday and Sunday, the North American Railcar Operators Association will offer speeder rides to museum visitors for just $4 per ride. So…what is a speeder, exactly? It’s a small railcar that once carried railroad crews throughout North America. In other words, if there was an issue on the track, workers used a speeder to get there and fix it — which means the motorized cars were vital to keeping railroads open and operational. And don’t let the name scare you; speeders may be faster than a hand-powered car, but they’re not nearly as fast as a train!

The North American Railcar Operators Association, by the way, is a nonprofit organization aimed at the preservation and safe operation of historic railroad equipment. NARCOA members (there are more than 1,400 of them around the world) actually buy and maintain the speeders, and often hold events like the one happening this weekend in Duluth.

The Southeastern Railway Museum is located at 3595 Buford Highway in Duluth, and museum admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for children. Speeder rides will take place from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and cost $4 per ride. For more information on the event, click here.

As soon as we heard about the speeder rides happening at the museum this weekend, we knew we needed to hop aboard and experience one for ourselves! So, we spent the morning with NARCOA member Ben Harrell, riding the rails and learning more about these fascinating pieces of railroad history. Click the video player in this article to check it out!