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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.

THE EAST TENNESSEE (THE CRITICAL LINK)

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.

CIVIL WAR ECHOES AT THE TENNESSEE

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.

EAST TENNESSEE & GEORGIA RAILROAD AND THE CIVIL WAR

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.

When History Comes Full Circle: Honoring the Legacy of William James ‘Papa Lee’ Lee

When History Comes Full Circle: Honoring the Legacy of William James ‘Papa Lee’ Lee At the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, we cherish moments when history comes alive in the most personal ways. Recently, we had the honor of hosting Nicholas, Liz, and Nolan—descendants of William James ‘Papa Lee’ Lee, a revered engineer of the famous…

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June 9, 2024

NS Days June 8: Engines 4501 and 630 Featured on the Missionary Ridge Local

Steam Engines 4501 and 630 Enjoyed by Norfolk Southern Guests At the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, history came to life with the presence of Steam Engines 4501 and 630, offering a double dose of steam-powered excitement. June 8, we hosted special guests from Norfolk Southern and their families, both locomotives worked hard on the Missionary…

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June 9, 2024

NS Days celebrated June 8 at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

NS Days June 8, 2024 Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was honored to host Norfolk Southern Employess and their families on Saturday, June 8. Guests traveled from all around the region to come spend the day with us. We showcased two of our iconic steam engines during the day – 4501 and 630.  Steam Engine 630,…

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June 9, 2024