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Southeastern Railway Museum, Georgia


Where Gumbo Was #503

The Southeastern Railway Museum (SRM) occupies a 35-acre site in Duluth, in northeast suburban Atlanta. In operation since 1970, the museum is Georgia’s official Transportation History Museum. It has roughly 90 pieces of railroad rolling stock, including historic locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and maintenance vehicles.

The museum also exhibits historic automobiles, firefighting equipment, and buses from the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and its predecessors.

Congratulations to ProfessorAbe, who quickly recognized the site!

Duluth Train Station

Along the entrance road sits the historic Duluth Train Depot which has been restored and is open to the public. The depot was built in 1871 and served the area for both passenger and commercial (primarily cotton) transport. Declines in passenger service and changes in rail freight led to the closing of the Duluth depot by the early 1950’s. The structure has been moved several times with different uses such as a police substation and a city parks office. The depot was finally moved to the museum entrance in August 2008.

Marathon Cab 001Vintage Checker CabPontiac Six TaxiI started in the main exhibit hall and toured the vehicles on display. The three Checker Cabs were interesting. Checker Motor Corporation built taxis from 1922 then exited the market in 1982. The Atlanta Checker Company was founded in 1947 and the cab with the 001 Medallion is a “Marathon” model built in 1978 and logged over one million miles. An older model touts 3 cents a mile on the side! In 1935 Pontiac Motor Company entered the taxi business and a restored model is on exhibit.

Seagrave Fire Engine

A beautiful 1940 Seagrave Fire Engine originally from Bamberg South Carolina has been preserved exactly as it did when retired from service. The 1904 Ahrens Continental Pumper was pulled by two or three horses and used fire tube boiler technology.

General II

Turning my attention to the railroad stock, the “General II” locomotive was built in 1919 and was exchanged amongst a few different railroad companies as a workhorse. In its pre-retirement days it was being used by Stone Mountain Scenic RR for their planned five-mile scenic railroad ride around the base of Stone Mountain, east of Atlanta. Finally it was retired to the SRM for public view. For movie buffs, the “General II” was utilized in several movies, including “The Rose and Jackal,” “Perfect Tribute” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.”

General II #2

The Campbell Limestone #9 locomotive is a geared locomotive with “V” mounted cylinders built in 1923 for big jobs like logging and quarrying on twisting tracks. The 1910 Savannah and Atlanta 750 steam locomotive was built in Schenectady New York and employed primarily for pulling excursion passenger traffic until retirement in 1989. It carried the nickname of “The Little Ballerina”. The 1924 Chatahoochee Valley No. 21 locomotive was used for freight service until 1961.

Campbell LimestoneCampbell Limestone #2Locomotive 750 #2Locomotive 750Locomotive 21

The 1899 Frick Eclipse Steam Traction Engine had a top speed of 2 mph. Interesting to note that George Frick got his inspiration in 1853 to start a company and build steam engines after he watched a tea kettle whistle. The 1906 Case Traction Steam Engine commonly referred to as “road locomotives” were primarily used to power farm threshing machines. The logo on the front was a Civil War Eagle called Old Abe adopted by J.I. Case in 1865.

Frick Eclipse EngineCase Steam Engine

A number of cabooses are exhibited indoors and outdoors along with train cars for different purposes.

Central Georgia CabooseFamily Lines CabooseWabash Caboose

Here are some of the special purpose cars, including an unusual rolling troop kitchen.

Army Troop KitchenSouthernAtlanta Chapter SpecialWestern Union

An unusual item was the Transette which was invented by Dr. Sutton who founded his company in 1972. It was supposed to be a conveyor belt and drive wheel methodology to transport people easily and cheaply around the Georgia Tech University campus. It was never implemented because of safety and reliability concerns and only two Transette cars were ever built.


Another hampered effort was the creation of the Atlanta Street Railroad in 1866 with mule driven street cars, but it didn’t get off the ground until 1871 because of conditions put upon the owners to pave dirt roads and lay rails. It was subsequently successful until 1891 when the company was sold.

Atlanta Street RailroadAtlanta Street Railroad #2

The very successful “Plane Train” began in 1980 as an automated people mover at the extremely busy Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. One of the earliest people mover cars is on display at the museum. The “Plane Train” currently moves over 200,000 people a day or over 80 million a year. Interesting to note that between 2006 and 2012, the voice on the “Plane Train” was that of Susan Bennett who is now famously known for the voice on Apple’s Siri device, and by the mid-2010s, the 1996–2002 voice of Bill Murray was still in use in the stations.

Plane Train

The museum also has a significant number of buses of various models. A few images inside and out including the bus driver compartment with coin machine, and signs for White Passengers Only and Colored Passengers.

211 BusB014 BusAtlanta BusBus 253A few images inside and out including the bus driver compartment with coin machine, and signs for White Passengers Only and Colored Passengers.

Bus DriverWhites Only

The last few exhibits include a Freight Office with actual artifacts, a ticket counter and a train time table.

Freight Office #1Ticket WindowsTime Table

One historic train car to mention is the Pullman Private Car “Superb” Observation and Dining Room. After his death in San Francisco, it served to carry U.S. President Warren G. Harding in State to Washington DC, then to his burial in Marion Ohio.

The Superb Car #1

The museum is at 3595 Buford Highway, Duluth Georgia 30096. There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the museum.

Museum Metal Sign

Admission is Adults: $18.00, Seniors: $15.00, Children (2-12): $12.00, Armed forces/Blue Star/First Responders: Free, Children (Under 2): Free, and cost of Additional train rides: $4.00.

The museum is open Thursday: 10am - 5pm, Friday : 10am - 5pm, Saturday : 9am - 5pm, and on Sunday : 1pm - 5pm.

The Superb Car #2The Superb Car #3The Superb Car #4The Superb Car #5Some scenes from a classic sleeper train at the museum

There is a lot to see and you can go inside many of the exhibits. I would allow approximately two hours or longer if you take the train rides or go through each exhibit in detail. Regular admission includes one (1) train ride on either the Historic Train or Park Train. Train rides typically start 1 hour after opening and stop 1 hour prior to closing. The Park Train does not operate on Thursdays.


Images (43)
  • 211 Bus
  • Army Troop Kitchen
  • Atlanta Bus
  • Atlanta Chapter Special
  • Atlanta Street Railroad #2
  • Atlanta Street Railroad
  • B014 Bus
  • Bus 253
  • Bus Driver
  • Campbell Limestone #2
  • Campbell Limestone
  • Case Steam Engine
  • Central Georgia Caboose
  • Duluth Train Station
  • Family Lines Caboose
  • Freight Office #1
  • Frick Eclipse Engine
  • General II #2
  • General II
  • Locomotive 21
  • Locomotive 750 #2
  • Locomotive 750 Boiler
  • Locomotive 750
  • Marathon Cab 001
  • Museum Metal Sign
  • Norfolk Caboose #2
  • Norfolk Caboose
  • Plane Train
  • Pontiac Six Taxi
  • Seagrave Fire Engine
  • Southern
  • The Superb Car #1
  • The Superb Car #2
  • The Superb Car #3
  • The Superb Car #4
  • The Superb Car #5
  • Ticket Windows
  • Time Table
  • Transette
  • Vintage Checker Cab
  • Wabash Caboose
  • Western Union
  • Whites Only

George G

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