The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum – Chattanooga Museums Series 5
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is more about riding real trains than it is a museum. Outside the Grand junction Depot you can walk inside one of the railroad cars, and a caboose.
The Grand Junction Depot
The signs inside the cars tell a story depicting what it was like to ride trains back in “the day”. I found the caboose especially interesting, with a coal stove, and ladders leading to an observation post for the senior trainman, also called the flagman or rear brakeman, to look towards the front as well as the rear the train. The rear brakeman could also stop the train in an emergency situation.
In the train yard you’ll see many types of cars and locomotives.
Inside the depot is an authentic old-timey ticket office and lobby. There are some train models to see too. And plenty of knick-knacks and souvenirs to buy in their gift shop.
Riding the trains
As I said, the Tennessee Valley Railroad is mostly about riding trains. There are rides for every occasion – Valentine’s Day, Dinner on the Diner, Halloween Eerie Express, Christmas Special Dinner Train, North Pole Limited, and many more. See their website to see their large selections of train rides. You can also sign up for their newsletter on the front page of their website.
You won’t want to miss their fall tours. You can ride the train through the Scenic Hiwassee River Gorge and witness the magnificent fall colors.
Their trains leave from the Grand Junction located at 4119 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421-2119. Some trains also leave from the Etowah, TN station at the old L&N Depot at 727 Tennessee Avenue South. There is no rail connection between these two stations, so you’ll need to drive to Etowah to board those trains.
When you book your special ride, be sure to check out their Premium Services too. On some tours lunch is served. Special seating is also available on some trains. Make the most of your trip, and splurge on these niceties.