The Chattanooga Choo-Choo: A Stop Back in Time

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Chattanooga Choo Choo Front


“Pardon me….is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?”   Yes, it actually is.

For many who know nothing else about Chattanooga, they know the song that Glen Miller and His Orchestra made famous in the 1941. They know that Chattanooga had a train station.

In fact, Chattanooga was a important part of rail travel in the United States from the mid-1800’s when the Western-Atlantic railway was the first to arrive. Others lines soon followed. Eventually, virtually all trains going to the south passed through Chattanooga.

In 1880, the first non-stop service to Chattanooga was made from Cincinnati, by a steam locomotive of the Cincinnati Southern Railway. It was dubbed in a newspaper article as the “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Thus, the inspiration for the famous song.

Today, one of those steam locomotives is on display behind what was the Terminal Station.

Chattanooga Choo Choo locamotive

On the existing tracks sit the locomotive, train cars, and even a working trolley.

Chattanooga Choo Choo Back

Many of the rail cars have been converted into guest rooms for the hotel. They provide a unique experience for guests.

Renamed the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Terminal building is now part of a thirty acre complex. It now houses a hotel lobby, restaurants, bars and shops.

Chattanooga Choo Choo Clock

Worth a visit…even if you don’t stay in the hotel.

What to Know Before You Go:

  • The Chattanooga Choo Choo Complex is located on Market Street in Chattanooga.
  • Parking for visitors (non-hotel guests) is available in a parking garage that is also the hub for Chattanooga’s free electric shuttle buses.  Parking for the day is $3, cash only.
  • There are a few places to eat in the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex:  The Gardens restaurant is just off the hotel lobby;  The Silver Dinner offers dining in a train car; and The Station House Restaurant offers great musical performances while you dine…by your waiters.
  • Going into the terminal building takes you into the hotel lobby and is very impressive to see.  Worth checking out.
  • The Model Railroad Museum is contained within the Choo Choo.  It offers an impressive display of a miniature Chattanooga and surrounding areas.  There is an admission charge of $4 for adults and $2 for kids.
  • Track 29 is a newer part of the complex.  It is a concert venue that books a variety of today’s music artists.

Age/Interest Appeal:

  • All ages
  • History, Railroad, Model Trains, Music

Physical Considerations:

  • Easy access to most areas.
  • Total access to the train cars may not be the only area with restrictive access.

How Long to Plan to Spend:

  • Less than an hour,  if just planning to check out the grounds and shop.
  • A couple of hours, if planning to eat at the Station House Restaurant (only open of an evening)
    The Station House Restaurant closed in December 2014.
  • Overnight, if you want to sleep in a Victorian train car.

Near by Things to Do, Places to Go, Sights to See, and Where to Eat:

Overall Experience:

  • :), :), 🙂
  • We enjoyed feeling as we were walking through history and the performances at The Station House.
Chattanooga Choo Choo

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Chattanooga Choo Choo 35.037236, -85.307009
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