Information on:

Chattanooga - 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."


Anne Nocher

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Fantastic museum so full of information it's hard to take it all in. Great people there to help interpret. Train rides are fantastic, even in iffy weather (if you tend to be chilly bring a light lap blanket or throw). Highly recommended, and not just for train fans... those who enjoy getting out into nature and trying something new will love the fun and the little surprises, like the food trucks at the turn around and the unique gifts available.

linda ellen Barrett

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018
The train is lovely, the service excellent. Sadly the tour is not good at all. The trash out the windows the entire ride is appalling. So much trash as to be commented on by everyone we talked to. The ride only has one interesting thing: The National cemetery. Trash everywhere. This should be kept clean by the railroad, at least, as far as they can go to clean it. Sadly, the trash was vast and as far as the eye could see. The ride is through a slum area and old industrial buildings, some dilapidated. The river was lovely, but gone in a wink, so the ride was not pretty overall.

eric sisemore

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018
Had valentine's dinner on the Pullman car, completely restored. Fine dining experience. Slow ride down the tracks to Sculpture Field and then a faster ride back to the depot. Great food, wonderful experience. Would recommend.

Jimmy Martin

Monday, Jan. 1, 2018
We dined on the New Year's Eve train at 8pm. The train cars have been restored to their original glory and there is so much history in each car. The food was delicious and the service was too notch. Everyone must experience this dinner trip at least once as you will thoroughly enjoy! We will definitely enjoy again!

Todd Ball

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017
This is a great place to go if you and or your children love trains. They have a very cool station with lots of trains to look at and some to board. They have a large gift shop and most of all trips to ride the trains. My son was over the moon about the steam engine ride we took and the scenery in this area is gorgeous. We will definitely go back and I highly recommend it for others.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media