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Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' started by Buynot, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Buynot

    Buynot Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2018
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    Founded in the early 1960s, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) is located in the eastern portion of Chattanooga. During TVRMs early years, the museum didn't consist of much other than some old, rundown locomotives and rolling stock. This all changed in 1964 when Paul Merriman, brought Southern Railway 2-8-2 #4501 to the complex. The arrival of 4501 lead to a new partnership with the Southern Railway, and eventually lead to the birth of the now famous Southern (later Norfolk Southern) steam program. With this new connection with the Southern, they were kind enough to provide land and donate track to the museum for them to operate on. Throughout the 70s and 80s, TVRM became one of the main hubs of the Southern steam program (the other being the Irondale shops in Birmingham Alabama). Today the museum operates several different trips behind both steam and diesel power. In this proposal, I will be more focused on the steam aspect of TVRM, however if someone would like to, they can elaborate more on the diesel locomotives of TVRM in the replies.
    For steam operations, the TVRM has two main trains that they operate. Those being the Missionary Ridge Local, and the Summerville Steam Special. In addition, they have also been the starting point for several mainline excursions, espacially during the 70s and 80s when the Southern steam program was at its peak.
    Missionary Ridge Local
    The Missionary Ridge Local is a short 55 minute train ride that operates daily. The train departs from TVRMs Grand Junction, and runs to East Chattanooga, 6 miles down the line. There, the locomotive is turned on the turntable, and serviced. While this is happening passengers are given an opportunity to tour the shops at the TVRMs East Chattanooga yard. After servicing is complete, and the tour is over, passengers re-board the train and return to Grand Junction. The main motive power on this train during the summer months is Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630.
    Summerville Steam Special
    The Summerville Steam Special is an all day excursion that operates a couple of times a month, running from Grand Junction, to Summerville Georgia, 46 miles south of Chattanooga. During the trip, the train passes through old Civil War battlefields as well as dense forests, and old industries, giving the line a very early 1900s look to it all. The tracks which the excursion runs on are owned by Norfolk Southern and by the Genessee and Wyoming Railroad. Upon arriving at the old Summerville depot, the passengers deboard for a layover, while the locomotive is turned on the turntable, and serviced for the return trip to Grand Junction. The same route is also used in the fall months for the museum's Autumn Leaf Specials. The motive power for this trip is mainly assigned to Southern 4501, however for a few select trips throughout the year, 630 and 4501 are paired together.
    Throughout its lifetime, there have been several steam locomotives to have been owned and operated by TVRM. These locomotives are well known within the railfan community and would make for great additions to Train Simulator, whether as a mainline excursion locomotive, or as a shortline/museum locomotive.
    Southern Railway 722 & 630
    Southern 722 is a 2-8-0 consolidation and was built by the Baldwin locomotive works in 1904 as a freight locomotive. While in revenue service, the locomotive was primarily assigned to logging trains in North Carolina. The locomotive was retired in the summer of 1952. 630 is also a Consolidation and was built by ALCO in 1904. Like 722, the locomotive was assigned to local freight duties on branchlines throughout the Southern Railway system until retirement in 1952. During the fall of that year, the two were sold to the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad and renumbered to 207 and 208. The two locomotives operated there throughout the 1960s until they were traded back to the Southern Railway in 1967 for mainline excursion service. They were brought to the TVRMs shops for restoration. 630 returned to service in 1968, and 722 returned in 1970. During its restoration, 722 was given the Southern's iconic green paint scheme for use in excursion runs. The locomotives were loaned to TVRM in the 1980s to make way for larger locomotives to head up mainline excursions like Ex C&O 2716, CP 2839, and T&P 610. 722 was eventually taken out of service in 1985 when its boiler time ran out. Today 722 sits in piece outside of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina. 630 was taken out of service in 1989, however it was returned to operation in 2011 and continues to operate at TVRM.
    Southern 4501
    4501 is a 2-8-2 that was built by Baldwin in 1911. In revenue service it was primarily assigned freight duties up until retirement in 1948. The locomotive was then sold to the Kentucky and Tennessee Railroad. It continued to operate there until 1964 when the shortline had dieselized. The mikado was then bought by Paul Merriman in 1964 and ran an excursion to TVRM before going down for a rebuild. The locomotive was then donated to the TVRM in the late 60s and was the first locomotive in the Southern Steam Program. It was used on mainline trips throughout the entirety of the steam programs life up until 1994 when the program was ended. While running in the steam program, 4501 was painted in the Southern's iconic green paint scheme like 722. After the program had ended, 4501 was used by TVRM on the Missionary Ridge Local, and Autumn Leaf Special until the flues expired in 1996. In 2014, 4501 was returned to operation for use on Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam Program. 4501 was used on several mainline outings as well as 630. The program ended in 2015, and now the locomotive operates trips for TVRM once again.
    US Army 610
    This locomotive is another 2-8-0 Consolidation. It was built by the Baldiwn, Lima, Hamilton-Corporation in 1952 and ended up being one of the last steam locomotives to be built for the US Army. The locomotive was mainly used to train soldiers in railroad operation and maintenance. It was also used on the Fort Eusits Military Railroad in freight service until the late 1970s when steam was decommissioned by the railroad. After sitting in storage for several years, 610 was purchased by the local NRHS chapter and donated to TVRM, where it was returned to operation in 1991. 610 was mainly used by TVRM for the Missionary Ridge Local, however during the early years of its time at TVRM, 610 was used on a few mainline steam excursions by Norfolk Southern. After the steam program ended in 1994, it was back to pulling trains for TVRM. The locomotive continued to operate for many years until it was pulled from service in 2010 when its boiler time expired. Today the locomotive sits in the TVRMs shops in East Chattanooga, awaiting a restoration.

    So, what do you guys think? Would TVRM make for a good route in Train Simulator? I sure think it would, especially since the locomotives featured in the route would be pretty flexible since they can also be run on nearly any NS route as a mainline steam excursion scenario.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  2. treid09

    treid09 Guest

    Great idea on this! Would love to run this route.
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  3. steammaster4449

    steammaster4449 Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2020
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    This is another thread I'm surprised hasn't gotten more attention. I mean it's TVRM.
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