Lesser known Railroad Museums in small towns

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Northwestern

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
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103
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Santa Rosa
I hope I might get a chance to visit a few of the more prominent and acclaimed railroad museums across the US. The only major museum I've visited is the Calif. State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Others would be the Colorado Rail Museum, Illinois Rail Museum, Tennessee Central RR Museuim, B&O museum, and many more.

Here is a list of railroad museums, state by state:


I also have stumbled across a few small railroad museums in various small towns, not knowing they were even there. One example, the Stumptown Museum in Whitefish, with a lot of history pertaining to the Great Northern RR:


Both GN history and the history of Whitefish. I don't know about that fur covered trout.

I once walked by a small railroad museum in Ashland, Oregon. Not a whole lot there, but some interesting railroad paraphernalia. Too bad there isn't a railroad from Portland, Eugene, Medford, and Ashland like in the old days. A Portland to Ashland railroad might be popular, today, for people attending the Shakespeare Festival.

If I remember correctly, there was a set-up of an old railroad office in the depot at Lake Louise, AB. Also, something similar at the Amtrak depot in Glenwood Springs, CO.

Another: The Rail Museum at Toppenish, OR. I've never been there, but it looks interesting.


What small town railroad museums can you recommend?
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
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Oct 25, 2011
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954
The Milwaukee Road Museum in Harlowton Montana! Tons of memorabilia and excellent photos. Plus there is an exhibit/diorama built by a gentleman, James Hamre, who used to post regularly on this site.


 

Northwestern

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Santa Rosa
A lot of good suggestions. The Inland NW Rail Museum looks really interesting. Especially the SP&S sleeper-buffet car.

I believe I visited the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, a few years ago, while on the American Cruise- Columbia and Snake River journey.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
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676
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Lubec, ME
Here in Maine the two foot gauge railroads are our specialty. The Maine Narrow Gauge RR and museum in Portland is worth a visit, and as an excuse to check out the waterfront and restaurant scene in this great little city. The WW&F in Alna just North of Wiscasset had recreated stations and shops on the original right of way of the WW&F railroad that ran until the 1930s. It runs steam powered trains on weekends. There are also smaller museums in Albion and Phillips.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
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LAX
While not quite extensive enough to be considered a "railroad museum", I have seen at least some type of railroad history displayed at many places across the land.
This was an unexpected delight I discovered on my Columbia River cruise last summer...
I also visited this museum a few years ago as part of a Snake/Columbia River cruise with AQSC.
 
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Joined
Jan 15, 2012
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LAX
In Cleveland, Mississippi last August I visited the Martin and Sue King Heritage Railroad Museum. A lot of stuff in there!

Cleveland, MS is also home to the Mississippi Grammy Museum. Another gem in Bolivar County Mississippi with many excellent exhibits.
We visited Cleveland as part of AQSC's "Mighty Mississippi" Cruise (Red Wing, MN to New Orleans, LA) last August.
 
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TWA904

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
82
I would suggest the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC. The museum is mostly dedicated to Railroads but also has displays for cars and airplanes. They do seasonal train rides and
have a roundhouse with a turn table. It has been a few years since I was there but I would consider it one of the best rail museums in the U.s.
 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
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Sep 19, 2014
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255
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Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
I sure wouldn't call it a railroad museum, but if you're in the DC area and looking to get away (but not too far away) from the tourist track, visit Arlington's Bluemont Junction. It has a restored caboose that absolutely delights kids. Of all ages. This part of the trail network uses the old right-of-way of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) railroad, a short-haul line that took sweltering Washingtonians to the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.

More at:

Bluemont Junction Park (But this page is maddeningly car-centric. It tells you to drive and park to visit the Junction, whereas if you're in reasonably good shape you can walk the 1.6 miles from the Ballston Metro stop along the lovely trail, and pay a bonus visit to BonAir Rose Garden. Or take a Metrobus or ART bus. You absolutely do not need a car.)

 

AlamoWye

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
51
Location
Central Texas
Some small town railroad museums in Central Texas:
Central Texas Rail Heritage Center (Flatonia)
New Braunfels Railroad Museum
Kyle Railroad Depot and Heritage Center
James H. Long Railroad Park and Museum (Smithville)
Burton Railroad Depot and Museum
Elmendorf Heritage and Railroad Museum.
All within a 2 hour drive (depending on the horrific traffic) to Austin.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
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1,784
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Denver
A lot of good suggestions. The Inland NW Rail Museum looks really interesting. Especially the SP&S sleeper-buffet car.

I believe I visited the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, a few years ago, while on the American Cruise- Columbia and Snake River journey.
The SP&S 'Mt. St. Helens' is the sister car of the 'Mt. Hood' owned by the Portland NRHS. On the original streamlined Empire Builder, they used both cars for Spokane <> Portland service, with early boarding in Spokane. That didn't last very long, as Train 3 still had a sleeper two hours ahead, and they began to use Mt. Hood every night/day, for the 758-mile round-trip. Mt. St. Helens was used as the back-up and on some excursions that I rode. It was equipped with a console radio with push-buttons for the pioneer radio stations.

The interesting thing relevant to today's equipment scenario is that Mt. Hood was in better shape at the end than little-used Mt. St. Helens.

And relevant to today's fares and on-line booking, these cars created the alternative of switching sleeper rooms in Spokane when space in the through cars was booked. It's one of the points that is set up for that in Amtrak's website.
 

SwedeC

Train Attendant
Joined
May 31, 2021
Messages
43
Location
NE Florida
Sad about the Wichita Falls museum. They have/had a bunch of rolling stock.

Another small RR museum is in Folkston, GA (the place called the Folkston Funnel since most Florida-bound traffic goes through there). There are places to sit and listen to the RR radio traffic approaching.
 
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