Step back in time and explore the history of steam railroading in the Tennessee Valley at our new exhibit building.
Nov 27
Nov 20
2023 - 2024

Exploring the Past: A Journey Through the Museum's Exhibits

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Chattanooga, TN

Learn more about Exploring the Past: A Journey Through the Museum's Exhibits.

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Explore the rich history of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

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The TVRM exhibit building will feature a range of exhibits, including "TVRM's First 60 Years," which will give visitors a look into the museum's history and founding. Additionally, there will be a Railroad Post Office car display and two exhibits from sponsor Scale Trains. This exhibit space will deepen visitors' understanding of the impact of steam railroads in the Tennessee Valley region and its history.

Railroads of the Tennessee Valley

The railroads in the Tennessee Valley played a significant role in the region's development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, connecting the area to the national railway network through transportation of goods, people, and resources. Key railroads included the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway; the Louisville and Nashville Railway; the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Railway; Tennessee Valley Authority; and the Southern Railway, all of which contributed to the region's historic development, cultural identity, and continued economic growth today.

The Golden Age of Passenger Travel

In the early 20th century, train travel was a luxurious experience, with companies like Pullman offering first-class services with innovative features such as air conditioning, personalized service, and top-notch car production. After World War II, the silver age of streamliners saw railroads revamping the passenger travel aesthetic to compete with new forms of transportation. This transformation included updated car designs, high-speed schedules, dome cars, and sleek mid-century modern designs.

Tell it to the Marines:  The Railway Post Office in the 1920s

The 1920s were known as the "Roaring 20s," with gangsters and robberies targeting banks and railroad shipments carrying valuable payroll and goods. Railway Post Office cars and mail trains were often targeted by criminals, but in 1921 and 1926, the U.S. Marines armed with the latest weapons technology rode the rails nationwide to protect American banking and finance. As a result, the "Mail Marines" reassured the nation and set the standard for rail shipment security.

TVRM's First 60 Years

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is one of the oldest and largest operating historic railroads in the southeast, celebrating 60 years in operation. In 1961, a group of individuals founded the museum after the Southern Railway converted to diesel locomotives, preserving the golden age of railroading. Through the efforts of members, volunteers, and supporters, the museum has recreated a small-scale 1930s railroad with original equipment and a 1858 right-of-way. The museum's collection has expanded over time with donations of locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and other artifacts from various railroads, even receiving significant diesel locomotives from the U.S. Army. Today, the museum has grown from a small shed to a multi-site experience that covers all aspects of railroad preservation and continues to preserve the golden age for present and future generations.

Customer Reviews:

I rode the Missionary Ridge Local and really enjoyed it. Seats were comfortable, staff was friendly and informative, and exhibits at the museum were reasonably well-kept. Will have to come back sometime to ride one of the longer excursions. Peter D - Google Review

Excellent place to visit and incredibly informative. I definitely recommend the train station and it’s exhibition museum. Also the store has many nice things as well as a café. Very nice! They also have Halloween and Christmas experience! - Diane V - Google Review

Additional Questions:

You can reach us through email at, by phone at 423-894-8028, or by clicking on the chat button located in the lower right corner of our website at

About Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum:

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a railway museum located in Chattanooga and Delano, Tennessee. It was established in 1961 to preserve and operate historic railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of future generations. The museum features a variety of vintage trains and railcars, including steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars. Visitors can experience the history of rail travel through excursions, exhibits, and hands-on activities. The museum operates on a historic rail line, offering scenic rides through the Hiwassee Loop and providing a unique perspective on the region's history and culture. With its rich heritage, educational programs, and engaging events, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a must-visit destination for railway enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Learn more

Did you know that when you purchase a ticket with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, you are helping to preserve the history of railroads?

As a non-profit organization, it takes a lot of resources to restore and maintain our vintage trains and equipment. In fact, it can cost up to $1.5 million to completely rebuild a steam engine, which must be done every 15 years or sooner. Your support helps us to continue to share this important piece of history with the community. So not only are you enjoying a unique and memorable experience, you are also contributing to the preservation of railroad history.

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From the founding of the museum to the golden age of passenger travel, our exhibits will take you on a journey through the past.
From the founding of the museum to the golden age of passenger travel, our exhibits will take you on a journey through the past.
Don't miss our Railroad Post Office car display and special exhibits by sponsor Scale Trains.
Don't miss our Railroad Post Office car display and special exhibits by sponsor Scale Trains.
Get ready for an immersive and educational experience!
Get ready for an immersive and educational experience!
Exploring the Past: A Journey Through the Museum's Exhibits
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