the Chattanooga Choo-Choo
the Train, Trolley, Hotel, and Signals

in Chattanooga TN

the Signals     the Hotel     the Train     the Trolley



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 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.

Chattanooga is also the home of the NMRA, National Model Railroad Association.

I'd like to thank my wife Dianne for putting up with a visit to the Choo Choo on the way home from Georgia.

Since my website is signal oriented, we'll start off with them.

Getting Here

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 Signals




Can't tell you much about the signals here at the Choo-Choo Hotel, other than who made them.  There was no-one around that knew anything about them, and there is no information anywhere on the grounds that I could find that might tell me something.  Darn.

The platform signals are probably the originals from when trains backed into the station, and are by GRS.

The wig-wags are made by Magnetic Flagman of Los Angles CA.


The interlocking machine is manufactured by GRS, and is on display in the lobby.

The Hotel






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. 

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.

The Train


The Hotel's website doesn't give too much info on the train, except that it was built by Baldwin in 1880, and is the same as the trains that used to run between Cincinnati and Chattanooga.  The railroad, as noted in the plaque, was the Cincinnati Southern Railroad.

It was last used by the Smokey Mountain RR in the 1940's, between Knoxville and the Smokey Mountains, refurbished, and then brought to the hotel.

The song "Chattanooga Choo Choo" did not refer to any particular train, although it is often connected to the L&N's Dixie Limited or the Southern's Crescent Limited.  The song was done by Glenn Miller and first appeared in the 1941 movie "Sun Valley Serenade"

The Trolley


An excerpt from the Choo-Choo's webpage tells about their 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 on opening day at the Chattanooga Choo Choo in 1973. 

The hours are as follows:
Sunday - Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
Friday & Saturday at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm




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New 10/6/06
Last Updated: 01/08/2014