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Regional History

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is not just a testament to the golden age of railroads but also a deep dive into the rich regional history of Tennessee. From the booming industrial revolution that once steamed across its tracks to the people who built a life around the railways, the museum captures the essence of a bygone era, revealing stories that shaped the landscape of the Tennessee Valley.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is located in a region with a rich history. Here you will find file resources so that you can enjoy the many articles that have featured our region’s history. Click the Learn More links below to access the files.


In the 1830s, the frontier that was East Tennessee needed improved transportation to  reach seaports and commercial centers east of the Appalachians. The first step, in late-1831,  was the chartering of the Lynchburg and New  River Railroad, designed to link the James River and Kanawha Canal at Lynchburg, Va., with the Tennessee River at Knoxville.


Over 50 years ago, in 1961, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) was founded by a group of Chattanooga-area railfans. Most of these guys were members of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, who were tired of driving over 200 miles round trip on pre-Interstate highways just to attend the monthly meetings. A couple of years after TVRM was formed, one of the founders, Paul Merriman, purchased steam locomotive No. 12 from the dieselizing Kentucky & Tennessee Railroad of Stearns.


The year 2013 marks one of the sesquicentennial anniversaries of the Civil War. Mark Brainard, a keen Civil War historian (and re-enactment participant), is also a volunteer at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga.  TVRM owns and operates three miles of former Southern Railway right-of-way that, it turns out for Civil War aficionados, is hallowed ground.

Explore History on the Chickamauga Turn Train Trip

Explore History on the Chickamauga Turn Train Trip Are you ready for an enchanting train journey that combines the allure of travel with the richness of history? The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Chickamauga Turn offers just that – a captivating day trip to Chickamauga, Georgia, brimming with historical charm and comfort. What to Expect on…

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February 22, 2024

Century Celebration: Southern Railway Dining Car 3158

Celebrating 100 Years: The Journey of Southern Railway Dining Car No. 3158 A Century of Service – TVRM’s former Southern Railway Dining Car No. 3158 has long held the record of being the oldest continuously operating dining car in the country, and today that record enters triple digits, as the venerable 78 foot long, 87-ton…

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February 21, 2024

Missionary Ridge Local: Unique Valentine’s Day Train Experience

Make Valentine’s Day Unforgettable with the Missionary Ridge Local Train Ride Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and affection, and what better way to mark this special occasion than with a unique experience? The Missionary Ridge Local offers just that – a memorable train ride that combines romance with the charm of yesteryear. A…

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February 11, 2024