Location / Name:
Chattanooga TN, Chattanooga County
the Chattanooga Choo Choo and Hotel
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Norfolk Southern has a large presence
CSX has a smaller presence
NS's DeButt Yard
CSX's Wauhatchie Yard
Plenty of other non railroad sights, see below
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 423
Access by train/transit:
None, Amtrak only stops in Memphis and Newbern/Dyersburg TN, on the west side of the state
Chattanooga is nestled away in the very southern part of Tennessee, and easy to get to from just
about anywhere, but especially from Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville.
While the Chattanooga Choo-Choo is technically not a museum, it is still very worthwhile stopping
here for the things it does has and the depot which is now a hotel.
Chattanooga is the home of the NMRA, the National Model Railroad
Association. More info below.
Heading north out of Chattanooga beyond Knoxville and Oak Ridge is a Norfolk Southern line nicknamed
"the Rathole" for the plethora of tunnels on the line.... mostly inaccessible railfanning in a very mountainous area in
Tennessee and Kentucky, on its way to Cincinnati. Denver Todd has put
together a great guide to the Rathole at the link below.
In another "Choo Choo" related item, Choo Choo VORTAC, a radio aid to airplane navigation, is sited near Chattanooga at 34.5741,
These are directions to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.....
From the east, and western Virginia via I81: coming south on I81, it will
turn into I40 about 30-40 miles out of Knoxville. Continue through Knoxville
on I40. After passing thru Knoxville, in about 15 miles, you'll hit I75, head south
on it. From there, it's about 85 miles to exit 178, Market St. About
5 miles from the exit, we will find ourselves trading in I75 for I24, which heads
west (if you decide to stay on I75, you'll wind up heading south towards Atlanta).
The Hotel is north of I24 about a mile.
From the south and Atlanta via I75: Heading north on i75, a few miles into Tennessee,
you come to the junction of I75 and I24, follow the signs for westbound I24, and
in 4 or 5 miles, you'll come to the Market St exit, exit 178. Head north on
Market to the Hotel on your right in about a mile or so.
From the west: come into town via I24 from Nashville, and take exit 178 north,
which will put you on Broad St. Take any of the streets over to Market,
like 20th, 17th, or Main St (a right turn). From Nashville, you have I65
running north into Kentucky (Louisville), and south into Alabama (Birmingham and
Hunstsville - altho from Huntsville, I would be tempted to get here via US72 east out of town).
The hotel is in what used to be the former Terminal Station under the Southern Railway,
and saw it's last train in 1970. The depot was built in 1908, and saw
it's first train in 1909. It opened as a hotel in 1973.
In addition to staying at the hotel, you can stay in half of a restored passenger
car (of which there are several).
There are several places to eat at the complex, including a top rated diner in a
restored dining car, the main restaurant, or a sandwich shop which is open when
everything else is closed.
From the Hotel's website: The Terminal Station seemed destined
for the similar fate of Union Station (parts
of which were built before the Civil War) at the center of town, which was
demolished in 1973. But Terminal Station was saved from the wrecking ball by
a group of local businessmen who were inspired by the theme of the "Chattanooga
Choo Choo." They invested $4 million before its new grand opening on April 11,
1973, and the beautiful Terminal Station once again opened its doors to welcome
visitors to Chattanooga - this time as a unique vacation complex. With its
listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Chattanooga
Choo Choo Historic Hotel is considered one of the city's first historic
preservation projects. Now 46 years later, the Choo Choo is still going
strong, providing travelers with beautiful and comfortable accommodations
in unique Pullman Train Cars and traditional hotel rooms. The property is
also a hit with locals and features two full service restaurants and numerous
bars, two music venues, a comedy club, a distillery plus various retail outlets.
The Song: A newspaper reporter dubbed the huffing and puffing little
steam locomotive the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Although the Chattanooga’s
Terminal Station was significant in its role of the train era with its “Track
29”, little was known about the first Chattanooga Choo Choo. Only after Glenn
Miller's orchestra made the catchy song popular in the late 1940's did the
name become world famous. Introduced in 1941 by the Glenn Miller Orchestra,
the song was featured in the movie "Sun Valley Serenade" and performed by
Tex Beneke and the Modernaires. Harry Warren wrote the original music score,
while Mack Gordon takes credit for the rhythmic words. The Chattanooga Choo
Choo song traveled fast throughout the circles of Europe during World War II,
and today it is an international favorite.
Picture found on several websites - from soon after it's opening.
This is a Mogul type (2-6-0) locomotive built in 1904 as #9 by the Baldwin Locomotive
Works in Philadelphia PA, for the Genesee & Wyoming Railroad. It had a relatively short
stay with the G&W and, in 1918, was sold to the locomotive dealer Southern Iron &
Equipment in Atlanta GA, who sold it the following year to the Butler County
Railroad in Pine Bluff MO. In 1927, the BC sold #9 to the dealer Georgia Car &
Locomotive in Atlanta, who sold it on to the East Texas & Gulf, where it was
renumbered #57. Two years later, the ET&G sold the locomotive to the dealer
Birmingham Rail & Locomotive who then sold it to the Tennessee & North Carolina
where it became #206. The T&NC operated #206 until selling it to the Smoky
Mountain Railroad in Sevierville TN, in 1937. The engine weighs 107,000 lbs,
91,000 lbs on its 50” drivers. It has a driver wheelbase of 11’ 6” and engine
wheelbase of 19’ 4”. With Stephenson valve gear and 18” x 24” cylinders, it
has a 20.7 sq ft grate, 118.9 sq ft firebox and total heating surface of
1,263 sq ft. Operating at a boiler pressure of 180 psi, it delivered 23,795
lbs tractive effort. From rgusrail.com
From Hawkins Rail
About the Trolley: In 1924, Pearly Thomas Car Works of High Point NC, built the Choo
Choo's trolley. The reversible seats were constructed in Philadelphia PA. The Trolley
operated on the Canal Street Line in New Orleans from 1924 to 1960. The Tennessee Valley
Railroad Museum obtained the Trolley and brought it to Chattanooga in 1964. After being
restored in Georgia, the Trolley began operating from the opening day at the Chattanooga
Choo Choo in 1973 and provides one of the most unique experiences on the property. As of
2019, the New Orleans streetcar operation has been removed from the Choo Choo grounds.
Some of the trackwork remains, as well as some of the overhead catenary hangers, but
all of the trolley wire has been removed and some of the track has been paved over in
the parking lot area. Informal conversation with the hotel staff indicates that the
streetcar itself was moved to a nearby apartment development for use as an outdoor
bar. (from Hawkins Rails dot net)
Norfolk Southern's Harry A. DeButts Yard is a hump type classification yard. It was formerly
Southern Railway's Citico Yard. It is the 2nd largest classification yard on the NS system according to Wikimapia.
The NMRA is a non-profit corporation. It has a President and other officers and a Board
of Directors. The Headquarters of the NMRA are in Soddy Daisy TN (near Chattanooga),
with several paid staff members. Many of the functions of the NMRA are performed by
the Departments, which are staffed by volunteers. The NMRA holds a National
Convention each year, and regions sponsor conventions in their areas as well. The picture
below from Google is 6 years old, so I don't know if there is a sign out
front or not.
A beautiful underground waterfall. In 1928, Leo Lambert and a team of excavators found a breathtaking waterfall located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout
Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Lambert named the falls after his wife, Ruby, and opened the area as a public attraction in 1930. Today, Ruby Falls welcomes thousands
of visitors each year. Come tour the falls for yourself and see why it has been one of the best Chattanooga attractions for over 85 years.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my
indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented
I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while,
an error may creep in :-)
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or
disoriented. Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the
railroads on them. If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job
of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads. Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit
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Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true.