Information on:

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."


Kristie McDermott

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
We had a wonderful experience! Several trains in the "museum train yard" to see and a few to climb up in and tour. We rode the 1:15 Missionary Ridge Train (55 min) and it was just long enough to enjoy but not so short that you felt your money was wasted. The staff was very friendly and helpful. My son loves trains, so the gift shop was stocked for him to have a good selection and I felt it wasn't overpriced. It's nice to see history being salvaged and preserved for future generations to experience.

Jarvis Suggs

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
I don't know about you but, I love trains. All kinds of trains, big ones little ones, fast ones , slow ones. The Chattanooga area is blessed with having a rail system in and about the city that is very affordable and open to the public daily. The main station is located on Cromwell road off hwy 153. Included in my review are several pictures of my Grand children and my children . There is an event available to families and couples even if you don't have kids. Hint there is a New Year's trains and a Valentine's day train that are available to the couple that want lasting memories.

Sherry Peranteau

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018
This was a very interesting place, the train ride was informative as well as fun. Wish it was longer. They also have trains in front of the depot for you to look at as well as go inside a few to see what the different cars looked like. They will have train rides for Halloween as well as Christmas. Can't wait for those. If you like or love trains this is a great place to visit.

Bill Koch

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Great afternoon destination. Lots of old train cars, but only two you can actually enter. Great train ride with a stop halfway to experience a turntable and a maintenance shed. The conductor was very knowledgeable. Bring a picnic basket, picnic near the tracks and watch trains go by. The only reason I did not give five stars is because there was no inside museum. I would have liked to see old pictures and memorabilia. Other than that, great destination for the family.

Kittie Sonnier

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018
It was okay.... Nothing to write home about. You ride a train for 5 minutes then listened to "the conductor" talk about the new mechanic shop (basically) and then back on the train for a backward 5 min trip to the depot. The cost was $17 per person, for pretty much nothing. We did get to meet some pretty awesome people who were also visitors/travelers as we were. THAT was a plus.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media