Embark on a remarkable 50-mile journey through the picturesque lower Hiwassee River gorge, culminating at the peak of the iconic Hiwassee Loop—a unique rail marvel found only in Farner, Tennessee, and just six locations across North America. Experience this 5-hour trip with no layovers, immersing in the history.
- Adult Ages 13+
- Child Ages 2 - 12
- Infant Under 2
Includes all-day entrance to the property and exhibits on the property. Does not include a train ride.
Admission is included with a Train Ticket. Do not buy if you have already purchased a train ride.
Includes access to the grounds and access to the new exhibit building on Turntable Dr.
The special exhibits will be located in TVRM’s new exhibit building and include “TVRM’s First 60 Years,” a Railroad Post Office car display, and two exhibits by sponsor Scale Trains. This is the first use for this important addition to the TVRM Cromwell Road Campus.
By the post-WWII period, the experience of steam railroading in the heyday of the 1920s through the 1940s was slowly fading as diesels replaced aging steam locomotives, soon to disappear from the American landscape and memory. In the 1950s, rail enthusiasts Bob Soule and Paul Merriman met near Citico yard in Chattanooga, sharing mutual interest on the remaining use of steam locomotives in main line and short line service. The ultimate goal was to establish a museum facility to preserve the experience and impact of steam in the region with functional artifacts and equipment. Following a successful charter excursion via the L&N railroad to Tracy City, known as the “Mountain Goat Special,” Merriman, Soule, and others formed what would become the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in August 1961, combining railroad experience, passion for artifacts and historic steam equipment, and a drive to educate future generations.
- “TVRM: The First Sixty Years”
- “Railroads of the Tennessee Valley”
- “The Golden Age Of Passenger Travel”
- “Tell It To the Marines: The Railway Post Office in the 1920s”
TVRM’s First 60 Years
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is one of the oldest and largest operating historic railroads in the southeast, celebrating 60 years in operation. In 1961, a group of individuals founded the museum after the Southern Railway converted to diesel locomotives, preserving the golden age of railroading. Through the efforts of members, volunteers, and supporters, the museum has recreated a small-scale 1930s railroad with original equipment and a 1858 right-of-way. The museum’s collection has expanded over time with donations of locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and other artifacts from various railroads, even receiving significant diesel locomotives from the U.S. Army. Today, the museum has grown from a small shed to a multi-site experience that covers all aspects of railroad preservation and continues to preserve the golden age for present and future generations.
Railroads of the Tennessee Valley
The railroads in the Tennessee Valley played a significant role in the region’s development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, connecting the area to the national railway network through transportation of goods, people, and resources. Key railroads included the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway; the Louisville and Nashville Railway; the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Railway; Tennessee Valley Authority; and the Southern Railway, all of which contributed to the region’s historic development, cultural identity, and continued economic growth today.
The Golden Age of Passenger Travel
In the early 20th century, train travel was a luxurious experience, with companies like Pullman offering first-class services with innovative features such as air conditioning, personalized service, and top-notch car production. After World War II, the silver age of streamliners saw railroads revamping the passenger travel aesthetic to compete with new forms of transportation. This transformation included updated car designs, high-speed schedules, dome cars, and sleek mid-century modern designs.
Tell it to the Marines: The Railway Post Office in the 1920s
The 1920s were known as the “Roaring 20s,” with gangsters and robberies targeting banks and railroad shipments carrying valuable payroll and goods. Railway Post Office cars and mail trains were often targeted by criminals, but in 1921 and 1926, the U.S. Marines armed with the latest weapons technology rode the rails nationwide to protect American banking and finance. As a result, the “Mail Marines” reassured the nation and set the standard for rail shipment security.
- “Over Here and Over There”