Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
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."
As a person who likes trains, this place is a miniature heaven. There is a rail yard full of equipment displays, (some in better shape than others), a great exhibit on timekeeping on the 2nd floor of the station at Grand Junction, and yes, lots of trains. They have two working steam locomotives and some diesels that will pull a train you can ride on to the other end of the line about 3 miles away at East Chattanooga. At East Chattanooga is a turntable to turn the locomotive around as well and their maintenance shops are located there also. The depot at Grand Junction is located next to the mainline of Norfolk Southern, so lots of trains go by during the visit. The people there are wonderful and will do what they can to provide a wonderful experience for the family.
My husband and I really enjoyed our beautiful train ride. The food was delicious, salmon plate and chicken plate. We shared. The cheesecake was to die for and my husband had the yummy apple pie. The staff was very friendly and went beyond. I would have given it a 5 star, wish the view was better.
This is the place to ride full size Steam Locomotives for a reasonable price. For 2 adults and 1 child to ride the Missionary Ridge Local, 55 minute round trip, it's $54. The trip I took was on time and includes a TON of photo opportunity. A highlight of the ride is watching the Locomotive turn on a turn table and see the place's work shop. If you wanna ride steam locos with AC cars and at a good price go here.
Really nice little train ride. Comes with a tour over the train lines from before and through the civil war and beyond into modern times. Great place to see the inner workings of a working train yard and the only place in the states that have all the working equipment to service steam engine trains. Kids loved it.
Good train ride. Reasonable but not cheap price. Coal train was fun as was the expert explanation of history and trains. Only some cars climate controlled. Would recommend to others if you like trains or have young kids.