The North Alabama Railroad Museum will run numerous train excursions on its line April through December. Please see our Train Ride Schedule for more details. Our regular (long) excursion consists of a roundtrip of 10 miles, with some great scenery thrown in. The train travels over a section of the historic Huntsville Branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. Prior to 2008, the train was pulled by a 1949 ALCo S-2 with a 1000 horsepower turbo-charged diesel engine. It was repainted in a paint scheme fashioned after that of the of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway (see Completed Projects page). Beginning with the 2008 season, the museum is running the train in what is sometimes called a “pull-pull” operation. In this arrangement the train has a locomotive placed at both ends. Prior to this arrangement, when the train came to the end of the line, the locomotive had to be uncoupled and “run around” the train to be placed on the other end. However, with the pull-pull arrangement we use now the locomotives stay on each end and the train can be longer in length. So to that end, we have added extra passenger coaches and can now carry more people. While the consist of the train may vary, expect to see a train with three passenger coaches, a baggage/power car, a “diner” and or Pullman Sleeper coach 2006 with ALCo locomotives on each end. One coach we use, No. 6082, was made in 1939 by the Budd Company for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Later it was sold to Amtrak from whom it was purchased by NARM. Sister coach No. 6090 was built in 1940 and also was acquired through Amtrak. The baggage car is an ex-Southern Railway unit, No. 139, that has been prepared to use as a power car for the whole train. If you like the wind in your hair, this could be the car for you (complete with depot style benches) ! Coach No. 1000 was re-modeled years ago as a diner. It began life as an Army hospital car and later it was used as a Strategic Air Command car by the Air Force. When this coach is on the train it is used to sell souvenirs and gifts. It is also used to load wheelchairs with a total of 2 spaces available. During the Christmas season, Coach 1000 is taken off the train and used as a static Gift Shop. Our crown jewel of the train would be our 1949 Southern Railway Pullman Sleeper No. 2006, the Ocmulgee River (a river located south of Atlanta, Georgia). It has 10 roomettes (9 available) and 3 bedroom suites. When this coach is on the train it also provides its riders the VIP treatment !
On our regular excursion that lasts a little over an hour, the train departs from the Chase depot and travels down hill to the west. Our hard working volunteers keep our track in tip-top shape and safety is always our number one concern. As we progress down the hill we cross Chase Road and then Higdon Road. As we approach the woods, be on the lookout for the museum’s menagerie of concrete animals. Look carefully, they get really still when the train rumbles by. There are some more sites to see as we go deeper in the woods and reach the culvert. There, our “aquatic life”, as we jokingly call our concrete porpoise and frog, await the train. The kids can keep a watchful eye out for some real horses in these parts as well (not to mention the occasional deer and smaller animals you would expect to see in the woods)! Then we reach the stop known as Normal, Alabama. This is located just across from Alabama A&M University and used to be a regular stop for college students back in the day, as they say.
At Normal, we reach the western terminus of our track, the train stops and we will usually take a short break. This is a good time to visit the souvenir car to view and purchase some great railroad related memorabilia ! The museum can accept most major credit cards. Soon the train starts and slowly we will chug up the hill towards the Chase depot with an occasional burst of smoke from the locomotive as it works hard in “transition”. At this point the engineer in the locomotive on the other end of the train has taken over. After we cross the previously mentioned two roads, look for the Chase Depot which will be visible on the south side of the train and wave at the Station Operator as he or she inspects our train. After we pass the old Chase warehouse the train will slow as we approach a general store / saloon on the north side of the track that one of our local residents has made just for the train riders to enjoy. Then the train crosses Moores Mill Road where we will blow the air horns long and loud. Important tip: Please remind your family and friends to treat rail crossings with the utmost respect – and teach any young drivers in your family to do the same. Then we pass the museum’s repair facility named Mercury (which used to be an actual stop on this railroad) and proceed into the woods. Depending on the season, we have seen several types of interesting wildlife here, such as deer, owls, rabbits, groundhogs and even an occasional snake slithering across the tracks. Keep an eye out for such interesting sites as we proceed east. A pharmaceutical company is located to the north and the Huntsville Utilities facility is to the south. Finally we reach the TVA siding which leads to a large substation you will see in the distance. Next we come to Shields Road and from this point you are riding on some of our newer trackage. Now we will cross a high fill with a babbling brook below in a valley with cotton fields in the distance. Next we make our way into a newly developed subdivisions, then we reach the end of the line at Naugher Road. At this point the engineer in the locomotive on the other end of the train has taken over. The train crew turns some valves, the brake test is completed we begin our trip back to Chase. Now it’s your turn to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery ! Upon arrival at the Chase depot, the passengers are greeted by friendly waves as they complete their 10 mile trip. Hope you enjoy your trip!
We want your visit to the museum to be a safe and enjoyable one, so we ask that you please abide by the following guide lines:
- Train operations require the use of loud whistles that may startle very young children and there are safety considerations around trains and heavy equipment, therefore we ask that you keep young children close by your side and under control.
- Please wear comfortable properly fitting (casual) clothes and shoes that provide good footing for the train ride and / or tour.
- Please, when you visit, do not attempt to walk or balance on top of the rails or allow children to. Rails are very slippery and can cause a very a bad fall and serious injury.
- Please do not place objects such as coins on top of rails.
- Please do not allow children to climb on equipment as this could prove to be very dangerous.
- Please obey all of the museum signs including the “No Visitors Beyond This Point” signs.
- To order tickets by phone, please call the Chase depot 256-851-6276 Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 1PM to 6 PM to speak to an operator. You may also order your tickets using the “Buy Tickets” button on this website. Credit cards are accepted to include Visa, Mastercard and Discovery card .
- Prices are subject to change, please call to verify. All ticket sales are final and non-refundable. Museum website email address cannot be used to make or change reservations. For more information on ticket purchase restrictions please follow this link: com | Purchase Policy
- Any seats remaining or any unclaimed seats will be sold at 5 minutes before scheduled departure on a first come / first served basis at the ticket counter.
- Passengers should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure times.
- For all regular train rides, babes in arms (not requiring a seat) ride for free. For our special train rides (Peter Cottontail, Punkin’ Pickin’ Extravaganza, North Star Limited and the Santa Train), every rider, regardless of age, must have a ticket. These special train rides are specifically intended for families with children. All children must be accompanied by an adult on all train rides.
- No outside food or drink is permitted on the train. Remember, you’re riding in classic antiques.
- Our policy is we only allow certified service animals on the train.
- If you bring a baby stroller you will be asked to store it nearby before boarding the train for the ride.
- Wheelchair spaces are only available in car 1000, so please be aware of this when you purchase your tickets as this car is not always on the train (for example the Santa Train rides). When you buy your tickets you will be asked to specify if it is for a wheelchair space (only 2 wheelchair spaces are available per train ride).
- The souvenir shop is located in car 1000 and we do accept credit card purchases. When car 1000 is not on the train (for example the Santa Train rides) it will be parked across the tracks from the Chase Depot and may be visited before or after a train ride. This could be a good chance to get your Christmas shopping done!
- During your visit to the museum, pictures and/or videos might be taken by museum members for promotional purposes and possibly used in our newsletter, on the NARM website or on social media. If you do not wish for images of you or members of your group to be taken, please inform the museum volunteer taking them.
We recommend that riders make reservations in advance for the train rides, especially if you are coming from a far distance. Riders should always make reservations well in advance for the Santa Train and the North Star Limited as these rides sell out very early.