Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

4119 Cromwell Road

In 1959, a small group of Chattanooga railfans, concerned about the dissaparance of steam locomotives and passenger trains for the railroads of America, organized the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM). In 1961, the TVRM was formally chartered as a non-profit, educational corporation.

The first eight years were devoted to collecting whatever equipment was obtainable by donation while seeking a permanent site for construction of an operating railroad in the Chattanooga area.

In 1969, this search ended successfully when the Southern Railway System (now Norfolk Southern) gave TVRM a 4-acre tract in East Chattanooga located adjacent to the original c.1856 Southern main line. This rail line had been abandoned upon completion of Citico Yard in 1954 (now renamed Debutts Yard) and an alternate double-tracked route around the base of Missionary Ridge which bypassed the single-track tunnel and its operational bottleneck.

Beginning in 1969, TVRM volunteers began the arduous reconstruction of railroad right-of-way and the eight-track East Chattanooga storage area. TVRM’s mainline penetrates Missionary Ridge about 1/2 mile east of the Depot, passing through a 979-foot long tunnel bored between 1856 and 1858. Our construction proceeded for the next six years at a slow, but steady, pace until stopped by a 146-foot long gap in the line which had been created by the removal of the original Tunnel Boulevard culvert.

In 1977, TVRM completed construction of a modern bridge panning the 4 highway lanes of Tunnel Boulevard and resumed track construction, which permitted doubling the length of our line, leading to a terminus near Cromwell Road (complete with a wye) where today all trains are turned.

Since TVRM is a volunteer (non-profit) organization, what might have taken a commercial railroad about four months to complete took us nearly 20 years.

Today, however, TVRM’s 6-mile roundtrip run stands as the only full-size operating railroad museum in the state and is providing the only regularly scheduled passenger service in east Tennessee" and generally pulled by a steam locomotive. It is the largest operating historic railroad in the southeast and Chattanooga’s "Trademark Attraction."


Eric Somers

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017

The train robbery you won't hear anyone talk about is at the ticket booth. I joke I joke. Being a frugal Fred, I didn't mind the expense. My wife actually found a $1 off coupon online which was honored in the shop where we bought the tickets so that was nice. The train ride was enjoyable and the commentary was informative. I missed some points as my wife and kid were a bit chatty about the fear of going through a tunnel (which he enjoyed during and after the fact). The guide was very passionate about his work and the history of the train(s) and sharing that love with others. Great time and worth every penny. Total trip time was about an hour


Friday, April 21, 2017

Fun stop off if you're in the area. Great for kids and people interested in trains. You only ride the train for about 20 minutes. A lot of the tour was the guide asking us for donations to keep the museum going.

Elizabeth Canada

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I took my grandson, 3 years old to A Day Out with Thomas. Even though it rained all day, it did not dampen our spirits. The depot is very nice and the activities were amusing. My grandson enjoyed himself by splashing puddles.

Michael Prewitt

Friday, March 10, 2017

It was fun for our 3-year-old. Personally I found the ride a little too short, and the views too littered with trashy areas and run-down neighborhoods. But our son didn't mind. There is some fascinating railroad history here. The railway bridges and the tunnel are kind of cool, and watching an engine being turned on a turn-table was fun. There are lots of old train engines and cars to look at.

Tony Cathirell

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017

Took my father in law and family here. Great place and if you're a Train buff this a great local history place about trains. Service and train ride is fun and very informative. Outstanding time here. They also have a Polar Express themed ride as well. Will have to try that next year for the kids. I highly recommend this as a great family experience.