The museum, which is located in the Campus Center Building at East Tennessee State University, was temporarily closed to the public during the month of January due to the regional spike in positive COVID-19 cases. During that time, volunteers continued to work on the train layouts, so returning visitors will find new structure and scenery in each of the two large galleries.
Beginning Saturday, Feb. 6, the museum resumed its normal operating hours on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. All recommended university, state, and CDC guidelines relative to COVID-19 health and safety will be observed and enforced, including temperature checks, wearing masks and social distancing.
Members of the Mountain Empire Model Railroaders (MEMMR) club, and the George L. Carter Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) serve as hosts during the museum’s operating hours, and often bring their personal model railroad equipment to display on the museum’s massive 24×44-foot HO scale model display. The newest addition, dedicated to the long defunct, but well-remembered ‘Tweetsie’ line, the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad, is focused on the ore mining business and its narrow-gauge trains run through Appalachian mountain scenery. This layout has been published nationally and internationally in a major model railroad magazine for the past seven consecutive years and is thought to be the largest layout of this local railroad in existence.
The museum can be identified by a flashing railroad-crossing signal at the back entrance to the Campus Center Building, 176 Ross Drive. Visitors should enter ETSU’s campus from State of Franklin Road (at the traffic light) onto Jack Vest Drive, continue through the roundabout and then turn left onto David Collins Way. At the end of the road, turn right onto John Robert Bell Drive then take the next left onto Ross Drive (176) and look for the flashing RR crossing sign.
For more information about the Carter Rail Road Museum and its Heritage Day events, held the last Saturday of each month, visit etsu.edu/railroad or contact Dr. Fred Alsop at 423-439-6838 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For disability accommodations, please call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.