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About the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Chattanooga welcomed its first rail line with the arrival of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1850. A few years later, in 1858, the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad also arrived in Chattanooga. The city quickly became a railroad hub with industries springing up in the area to take advantage of the new transportation corridors.

During the Civil War, confederate and union leaders recognized Chattanooga’s strategic advantage because of its railroads, and in subsequent decades, the city’s railroad reputation gave rise to the iconic song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

By the late 1950s, railroads were waning as interstates and airlines made travel faster and more personal.  With automobiles, Americans could choose their own schedule and stop as little or much as they wished. Passenger operations all but ended in the 1960s, and freight operations suffered as big trucks hauled much of the freight across the country.

During this period, railroad museums formed to save some of the histories of this most iconic mode of American transportation.

In Chattanooga, as steam made its last appearances on the country’s major railroads, a few railroad fans began buying steam engines and passenger cars that the railroads would otherwise have scrapped.  This small collection was the beginning of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, which was founded in 1961 by a small group of local residents who were intent on trying to save some American history by preserving, restoring, and operating authentic railway equipment from the “Golden Age of Railroading.”

Railroads like the Southern Railway also made generous donations of obsolete rail cars to museums like TVRM, expanding their collections and the story the museum could tell. In addition, Southern Railway donated the original East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia roadbed (absorbed into the Southern Railway System in 1894) on which TVRM could operate.

TVRM’s passenger trains run on the historic route, which includes Missionary Ridge Tunnel, completed in 1858 and on the National Register of Historic Places.  The tunnel is the primary reason TVRM runs on the 3-mile section of the former Southern Railway. As railroad equipment grew too large to pass through and the single-track tunnel became a traffic jam for an otherwise double-track railroad, Southern Railway abandoned the 3-mile portion of the line and built a new section around the end of Missionary Ridge, avoiding the tunnel altogether.

Today, TVRM preserves railroad equipment not only to preserve machines but to preserve an experience as well. In providing this historical experience, TVRM hopes to educate our visitors about the importance of this industry and how it helped create the modern world in which we live.

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Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Southern 4501 in front of Grand Junction Station
The southern 4501 steam engine started up in front of Grand Junction Station, rumbling its way to Missionary Ridge. This amazing piece of history is one you should not miss while visiting our town! (Steam on the weekends)
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Dinner on the Diner - Table with glassware
Come to our dinner on the diner, where you can see firsthand how we serve up fresh and delicious food with a smile! We have one seating each night - Fridays & Saturdays.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - TAG 80 at our Grand Junction station waiting for  the next trip
The TAG 80 at our Grand Junction station is waiting for the next Missionary Ridge Local trip.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Southern 4501 leaving East Chattanooga yard limits
Southern 4501 leaving East Chattanooga yard limits on Missionary Ridge Local trip.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - US 610 Steam Engine on turntable
US Army 610 Steam Engine on our working turntable during the Missionary Ridge Local trip
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Southern 630 on the turntable
Southern 630 on the turntable during the Missionary Ridge Local trip (Steam on the weekends)
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Southern 630 returning back from Missionary Ridge Local trip on South Chickamauga Creek Bridge
Southern 630 steam engine returning back from Missionary Ridge Local trip on South Chickamauga Creek Bridge
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - NC&StL 710 leading the way to East Chattanooga station at Switch
NC&StL 710 leading the way to East Chattanooga station during Missionary Ridge Local trip.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Train crew waiting for next trip
Train crew waiting for next Missionary Ridge Local trip.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - TAG 80 in rail yard waiting to pull the Dinner on the Diner trip
TAG 80 in rail yard waiting to pull the Dinner on the Diner trip - Fridays & Saturdays
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum directly.

Address

4119 Cromwell Rd.
Chattanooga, TN 37421

Contact

Questions? Please Email
Contact Phone Number
Toll-Free Phone Number

Admission Rates

$24.00 Adults, $15.00 Children (2 - 12).

Hours

Hours
Exhibit Building
Open Daily (except Christmas Eve, Day, and Easter Sunday)

Train Rides:
Mid-March to October (daily), Nov-Feb. (weekends) - Check website for more details
Dates Closed
Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, Easter Sunday

Payment Methods Accepted

  • AMEX
  • Cash
  • Discover
  • Mastercard
  • Visa

Discounts Given

  • Senior Citizen Discount
  • Active Military
  • Group Discount
  • Military Discount
TripAdvisor Rating
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