#4501 Departing Grand Junction

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum used to offer several steam powered excursions in the fall to enable folks to view the autumn colors. These were labeled as The Autumn Leaf Specials and were day-long trips originating in Chattanooga, and running down into Georgia and return. The turntable in Summerville didn’t exist at that time, so the train only ran as far as LaFayette or possibly Trion. The return trip had the diesel locomotive hauling the train as the steamer had no way to turn around at the end. I understand that these trips are now offered under the label Summerville Steam, with the train running all the way to Summerville.

If I recall correctly, this photograph was taken in November of 1996 just as the train was departing the museum’s Grand Junction depot in Chattanooga early in the morning. The signal bridge in the background is on a mainline of the Norfolk Southern Railway (formerly the Southern Railway).

Southern Rwy #4501 at Grand Junction

The Grand Junction depot is a great place to watch trains. There is a yard adjacent to the depot where locomotives and cars are on display, and NS freight trains frequently pass by over the aforementioned tracks. The depot itself has a snack bar and rest rooms, and of course a gift shop with railroad oriented merchandise. I’ve visited their facility and ridden several of their trains quite a few times over the years and highly recommend them.

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