So you’d like to jump on an old steam train in Alabama, well you’ve got a couple of great options.
Steam engine train rides in Alabama are located at The North Alabama Railroad Museum and Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. Let’s take a closer look at them.
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a ride on an old steam train. They may not be too popular today.
But, you can relive their history with steam engine train rides in Alabama.
The North Alabama Railroad Museum and Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum offer stunning steam engine train rides in the state.
You can literally get all aboard on the state’s railroad history; it’s like a flashback in time.
There are also other historical sights for railroads. For instance, the Wales West Light Railway is home to a one-of-a-kind two-food gauge railway. Thousands of visitors pay a visit to this area. So, it’s definitely a must-see if you’re a train fan.
And finally, several other museums maintain historical railroad artifacts.
So, where can you find steam engine train rides in Alabama? Let’s take a look.
A Brief View Of Alabama’s Steam Engine Railroad History
Alabama holds a long and varied history that began with steam trains.
The Tuscumbia Railway was the first railroad in the state. It was established in January 1830 and was initially a horse-drawn railroad.
This railroad was also mainly built for easier transport of cotton bales. It facilitated its movement from the city center of Tuscumbia to the Tennessee River’s wharf. All in all, the Tuscumbia Railway ran 2.1 miles of track.
Two years after, the Stourbridge Lion arrived from England. This was the first-ever steam train to be introduced in America. Shortly after its arrival, it replaced the horses on The Tuscumbia Railway.
Around this time, the Tuscumbia, Courtland & Decatur (TC&D) Railroad was also established. This railroad connected the three areas to better service the cotton trade. It began at a junction along the Tuscumbia Railway and traveled southeast.
And in 1850, the Memphis & Charleston Railroad bought the TC&D and merged it with the Tuscumbia Railway. The railroad successfully linked Tennesee to Alabama.
The TC&D and old Tuscomia was indeed a hub for trade. It served as the main route going to Memphis. On top of this, they also interchanged with the following historic railroads:
- Louisville & Nashville
- Gulf, Mobile & Ohio
- Illinois Central
- Missouri Pacific
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
- Cotton Belt
And from there, it was history! Alabama grew into a vital link for railroads. The state also grew to have many more types of resources. This includes coal, iron, and timber. It also had popular regions for commerce such as Montgomery and Birmingham.
And as of today, the state has nearly 4,000 miles of trackage.
2 Steam Engine Train Rides In Alabama – You Must Check Out
Ready to relive some train history? Here are the two museums that offer train rides in Alabama!
1. Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum
Looking to spend a day immersed in incredible train history with actual steam trains? Head on over to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.
If you’re a railroad enthusiast like I am, this is the place to visit.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum (HDRM) is Alabama‘s official railroad museum. The museum has been operating since the 1960s. For years, they have been restoring, conserving, and operating valuable railway machinery.
Their collection of rolling stock and machinery spans the years from 1890 to 2005. It will certainly take you on a journey through time.
The museum boasts four steam trains such as:
- Alabama Power Company 40 (0-4-0F)
- Batson & Hatten Lumber Company 2-8-0
- US Army Transportation Corps 0-6-0 “Switcher” Train
- ALCO 0-4-0 No. 3
They also feature nine diesel-electric locomotives. Three of these are used to operate their excursion trains.
On top of this, they have two restored depots on display. One of them is an old Southern structure that was created in the 1890s in Wilton. While the second depot served Birmingham in the 1880s.
Furthermore, they exhibit multiple railroad antiques and artifacts. The museum also has an outdoor display of locomotives, cars, and cabooses.
Finally, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum offers a picture-perfect train ride over 5.5 miles of track of the old Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
And as mentioned, their train rides are powered by their diesel-electric locomotives!
You can also ride a steam train Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum! They currently run a quarter-mile loop of a 2-foot gauge steam excursion.
However, these train rides are only operational from March-December. So, if you want to maximize your experience, visit during these dates.
Address: 1919 9th St, Calera, AL 35040, USA
Contact Number: 205-668-3435
Train Ride Availability: March-December (Tuesday-Saturday)
2.North Alabama Railroad Museum
The North Alabama Railroad Museum (NARM) is located inside Chase. Since its establishment in 1966, they have built up a large collection of rolling stock and several diesel trains.
And almost all of these are American locomotives.
The highlight of the museum is the beautifully refurbished Chase Depot. This train stop was originally situated at the intersection of two significant lines.
One of which was the Norfolk Southern. This line traveled across Chattanooga and Nashville. The other line was Louisville and Nashville, which traveled between Tennessee, Dechard, and Gadsden.
NARM offers train rides on their 10-mile track from March to December. There are plenty of beautiful landscapes to enjoy along the route. Their train ride themes are varied, too!
They alsovhold train rides for events like Father’s day and Mother’s Day too. Furthermore, they run a Santa train during the holiday season.
Each of their train rides has different ride times and ticket prices. Make sure to check out their website for more information.
Address: 694 Chase Rd NE, Huntsville, AL 35811
Contact Number: +1 256-851-6276
Train Ride Availability: March-December (Tuesday-Saturday)
All Aboard With Steam Engine Train Rides In Alabama!
If you’re looking to relive the history of steam train rides in Alabama, you must visit these two museums.
The Heart of Dixie and North Alabama railroad museums will definitely take you on a journey through time.