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Top railroad museums in the country

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me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,295
Has anyone visited the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga.? I'm spending about a month in Atlanta this summer and considering checking it out.
I stated volunteering there in 1992 when it was at its original 12 acre location. In 2002 I moved to NC long after the museum had moved to a new location on the opposite side of the NS main line a mile or so north to a former privately owned railcar maintenance facility. I continue to volunteer periodically when I have a chance and some free time on visits to my 6 y/o grandson and his parents (who don't count when you have a train-nut 6 y/o grandson).

It is virtually all volunteer run. As far as I know, the only paid people were the front gate admission people but that may have changed (to them not being paid).

Wonderful museum with a great management team unlike years past. They are open about letting you walk though historic cars. If I were there when you came, I'd take you through the shop area.
 

BCL

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
3,795
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Nevada has a couple. The main museum is in Carson City and has a building with several cars. It also has a train ride. The southern branch is in Boulder City. It only has free outdoor exhibits, but they also run an excursion train.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
9
The Nevada Northern is unparalleled. A short line whose shops and equipment were left intact from operating days and turned directly over to a museum. It is very out of the way in Ely, NV.
Totally agree. As a retired machinist I was impressed with the all but unlimited access to the shops. Had a nice chat with a 14 yr old volunteer who was working on a set of cylinder liners for one of their diesels.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
513
Location
Denver
A couple of specialty museums:

The Colorado Railroad Museum at Golden specializes in narrow-gauge history, although it has regional standard gauge, too. In 2002 when I visited the Dutch narrow-gauge museum they knew all about the Colorado museum (as there seems to be a secret fraternity of less-than-standard fans).

The Edmonton Radial Railway Society runs the streetcar service in Fort Edmonton Park, a living history museum. Besides miscellaneous cars from elsewhere they have done a wonderful job of restoring actual Edmonton cars, some drawn in from farms hundreds of kilometers away. There's also a classic prairie branch line steam train, but as we traction fans know, the streetcars move the crowds more efficiently. One subtle detail: because it's living history, the overhead matches the era, whether running in 1905 Street, 1920 Street, and the open stretch for expansion that used to shock Baby Boomers when I was a motorman, 1950 Street. (Direct quote: "1950? THAT'S not historic." Her children laughed.)
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
872
Location
Carolinas
Don’t forget the East Broad Top RR in PA that will resume operations later this summer. Like the Nevada Northern, it also has an extensive shop complex. Which reminds me of Cass Scenic RR in WV. The line between excursion railroads and railroads that maintain and operate a rolling museum is fuzzy!
 

tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,367
Location
Texas
Two small museums that are quick visits, but pretty cool nonetheless:
Marshall Texas, lots is artifacts and written history
Wichita Falls, Texas has some old rolling stick including a "diner" style car with long counter and stools, some old coach cars and an old Pullman sleeper.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
When I was a kid I liked to visit something called the Penn Central Railroad Northeast Corridor Service. Classic stations in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington. The trains were pulled by original GG-1 electrics and the rolling stock was plucked from every kind of passenger car built between 1920 and 1968. This included the unique tubular "Keystone" train that was not in compliance with the ADA. They had everything from non-airconditioned coaches with overhead fans and horsehair covered bench seating to 48-seat long-distance reclining seat streamliner coaches to P70 and Silverliner EMUs. There were also parlor cars and dining cars. No dome cars or double-deckers due to clearance issues. What an experience!

Unfortunately, it was taken over by an outfit called "Amtrak" which soon replaced all the vintage coaches with some sort of 1970s monstrosity that tried to emulate the look and feel of airliners. A little later, they replaced the GG-1s with locomotives of a foreign (Swedish) design. Who cares that over the years they increased the number of trains and made them all faster and more reliable and you can buy tickets using your smartphone? It's just not the same as in the good old days. :)
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,705
Location
South Carolina
This included the unique tubular "Keystone" train that was not in compliance with the ADA.
One of the cars from that train still survives. Up until a few years ago a few of the coaches did too, but I want to say they were scrapped in Michigan about 2009. But the Head End Power Generator for that car still operates to this day for Ferromex in Mexico. It is part of Dr. Vagon a rolling hospital on rails. It provides electricity for an operating suite, a pharmacy, three or four cars of exam rooms, and another 5 or 6 cars for the doctors, mechanical crew, and other employees. It roams the Mexican Rail System providing free medical care for rural Mexico.
 

manchacrr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
339
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
I really want to badly revisit the Illinois Railway Museum, one of these days. It's too bad you have to drive or bike there from Crystal Lake(or Woodstock) on Metra(and back of course, though I wouldn't mind biking the distance between CL or Woodstock to Union and back), to get over there. I'd been meaning to buy a new bike, but just hadn't done so yet. And also don't own a car. I'm sure I'll get there again, one of these days.
Actually, you can get to the Illinois Railway Museum with public transit now using the McHenry County McRide Service.

Taken directly from the IRM's website:
"IRM is now accessible by public transit! Take MCRide, the county Dial-A-Ride service, to IRM from any location in the MCRide Service Area - including the Woodstock or Crystal Lake Metra stations. MCRide trips must be reserved in advance. Call 1-800-451-4599 to make an MCRide reservation. For more information click here or call 815-334-4960. MCRide operates seven days a week, except on major holidays."

The link to their website for more information:
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
755
Location
HFD
Actually, you can get to the Illinois Railway Museum with public transit now using the McHenry County McRide Service.

Taken directly from the IRM's website:
"IRM is now accessible by public transit! Take MCRide, the county Dial-A-Ride service, to IRM from any location in the MCRide Service Area - including the Woodstock or Crystal Lake Metra stations. MCRide trips must be reserved in advance. Call 1-800-451-4599 to make an MCRide reservation. For more information click here or call 815-334-4960. MCRide operates seven days a week, except on major holidays."

The link to their website for more information:
I suppose this is an improvement for those who must use public transportation. However, I don't think dial-a-ride reservation required service can even be called public transportation. How is the average member of the public supposed to know it even exists? Those have always baffled me. Oftentimes they are mid-size vans to accommodate wheelchairs though they often run empty or with only a single passenger, so is it really saving on emissions? No.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
I suppose this is an improvement for those who must use public transportation. However, I don't think dial-a-ride reservation required service can even be called public transportation. How is the average member of the public supposed to know it even exists? Those have always baffled me. Oftentimes they are mid-size vans to accommodate wheelchairs though they often run empty or with only a single passenger, so is it really saving on emissions? No.
Well, there's always Uber or Lyft. That's how I got to the NC Transportation Museum from the Amtrak station in Salisbury.
 
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