SRM EXPANDS HOURS
For Immediate Release
The Southeastern Railway Museum will expand its hours of operation to include Thursdays and Fridays effective May 31. The museum is currently open Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays of each month’s third weekend noon to 5 p.m. Hours on Thursdays and Fridays will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This expansion is the latest of many “firsts” for SRM, which was named “Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum” by the state legislature in 2000, the museum’s 30th anniversary year.
Also underway is design work to implement improvements to the exhibit hall provided by an $840,000 federal grant sponsored by Gwinnett County. The exhibit hall, the first of two the museum will contain, was opened in April, 2000, to kick off SRM’s 30th anniversary season.
The 28,000 square foot building is one of three formerly used by a rail car repair shop on a 30-acre site donated in 1997. The museum closed its former 12-acre site in May, 1998, and reopened on the new site October 16, 1999, after moving its shop, over 80 pieces of railway rolling stock, and other large transportation related artifacts.
The exhibit hall features two passenger trains. The first, showcasing railway equipment common in 1930, is made up of the ex-Savannah & Atlanta steam locomotive #750 (built by ALCO, 1910), the first-class sleeper/lounge Washington Club (built by Pullman, 1930), and the Superb (built by Pullman, 1911). The Superb was used by President Warren Harding in 1923 for a cross-country trip, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The second train, with railway equipment common to the 1950s, is headed by ex-Southern Railway diesel locomotive #6901 (built by GM’s Electro-Motive Division, 1951), and consists of ex-Norfolk Southern 10 bedroom, six roomette sleeper Tugalo River (built by Pullman, 1949) and ex-Atlantic Coast Line private car #307 (built by Pullman, 1924, renovated 1980s).
Green-and-white locomotive #6901 and the silver-sided Tugalo River are old friends; both served on Southern Railway’s Crescent passenger train until the service was turned over to Amtrak in 1979. In fact, #6901 was pulling the Crescent from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., the day the train was turned over to Amtrak management.
Each rail car or locomotive is accompanied by an “exhibit information station” containing documentation about the equipment, photographs, and other artifacts.
Other transportation-related items are displayed in the exhibit hall, including a 1905 Ahrens fire engine and a Case tractor, both steam powered, wooden and metal baggage carts, and a wooden spring wagon. A display of early track construction tools and methods is also in place in the exhibit hall.
The federal grant will provide for construction of an audio-visual room, a platform between the two trains to allow “through the window” viewing of the rail cars, and conversion of a 3,500 square foot attached room into a properly climate controlled history museum for display of many of the museum’s non-rail car artifacts.
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