About an hour and a half southeast of us is Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM).
Choo Choo Town Adventure
Bart met with TVRM's Operations Coordinator Steve Freer, who took us on a six-mile trip to days when Arlo Guthrie sang about riding on The City of New Orleans or when WSM did a live broadcast each night of the Pan American's whistle blowing as that L&N train passed their Brentwood radio tower. That's not a big news story today, but in the Golden Era of Railroads there was an aura of romance and adventure tied to the rails.
CLOSE YOUR EYES...hit "start button", and ride into the past with TVRM in Chattanooga.
Freer noted that most of the club's volunteers have no railroad background, but just a fascination about the romantic days of smoke and cinders. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was started in 1959 by a small group of railroad fans who were concerned with the disappearance of steam locomotives and passenger trains.
Shop Allows Renovation and Repair
In 1981, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum invested $1-million to build the turntable, full shop and other improvements. Total renovations on old locomotives and train cars are done on site and visitors get to visit the giant maintenance facility.
(L-R above) Steve Freer stands beside a "truck". The two wheels and axel weigh approximately 8-tons. Also in the shop, welding and all renovation, repairs and maintenance are performed. At the right, Steve points out the giant lathes to work on the "trucks".
Your trip takes you over a bridge span of water, through the historic Civil War Missionary Ridge tunnel and more. (Below Photo) This is how the approaching tunnel looks from the engine and also an engineer's view of the diesel's controls.
There are dinner train excursions for Valentine's, Hiwassee River Rail Adventures, Thomas the Train Day and more. Plus, you can have membership in the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and volunteer for numerous jobs that make dreams come true. As Steve Freer noted, "This is just like other model trains, but our gage is twelve-inches equal a foot".
For more information, check the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's website: www.tvrail.com or phone 423-894-8028.
Some Faces Along The Rails
Photographs by Art Abdinoor