Photos/Tooele Valley Railroad Museum
If the diligent chug and cheery whistle of a locomotive instantly grab your attention, the Tooele Valley Railroad Museum is a must-see attraction. The story of Tooele Valley centers on the railroading industry, and the museum is a vivid memorial to those pages in history. Whether or not you have an interest in railroads, you and your entire family will enjoy this thoughtfully constructed display.
Railroading, mining and smelting were once core components of the economy in the Tooele area, so you can expect to see great representations of these industries at the museum. The focal point is Engine No. 11, which is one of the original steam engines of the Tooele Valley railway. The locomotive was constructed in 1910, and it retired in 1963 as the last serviceable steam engine in Utah.
Engine No. 11 was restored into a beautiful showpiece and is complemented by two passenger coaches and two wood-side, authentic cabooses. Visitors can walk around the inside of the railcars and engine, which adds to the nostalgic experience. Because the museum stands in what was once the fully functioning Tooele Valley Depot, it paints a colorful picture of a time when railroading thrived.
If you can pull yourself away from the train display, be sure to step inside the actual museum. You’ll find a seemingly endless exhibit of photographs from the Tooele railway era, artifacts from various mining and smelting operations, memorabilia from several wars and equipment used during the railroading days. Each collection provides a dramatic visual of the past.
While you’re touring the museum, guides will be waiting to answer any questions or direct you to various points of interest. These volunteers are retired railroad workers and miners, and they happily share their stories. Each guide has extensive knowledge about the Tooele Valley Railway and the railroad industry around the area.
Your little ones will benefit from a museum tour as well. To spark curiosity, you can show children the model railway displayed inside a museum railcar. The intricate train tracks weave in and out of tunnels and through mountain ranges just like genuine railroad systems. To further stimulate interest in your young ones, take them back outside for a ride on a miniature train. Be sure to watch for the museum mascots: two adorable bunnies that appear frequently on the grounds.
There is no cost to tour the Tooele Valley Railroad Museum, and the exhibit is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can visit the museum Tuesday through Saturday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Because there is such a captivating old-fashioned charm to this display, you may want to keep coming back for more. From the quaint landscape to the remarkable relics, this exhibit is an experience you will treasure forever.
More information: www.tooelecity.org - Tel +1 882-28-36 or +1 843-2110
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