Annually thousands of visitors enjoy the museum’s displays, which include historic prototype railroad memorabilia, toy trains and model railroading locomotives, rolling stock, and structures. Four large operating layouts in three different scales provide viewing enjoyment in the museum’s 5,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space.
The museum’s model railroads are operated by volunteers from the Mountain Empire Model Railroader club (MEMRR) who provide information about local historic railroads and knowledgeable tips on the basics of model railroading. In addition, two railroad historical societies are affiliated with the museum; the George L. Carter Chapter National Railway Historical Society and the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad Historical Society.
Devoted to the region’s historical ties to railroads, the museum is dedicated to the
memory of George L. Carter who built the Clinchfield Railroad through 277 miles of
mountainous terrain to carry coal from Eastern Kentucky to the Carolina Piedmont. In 1909, when the state’s selection committee
visited the area while searching for a site for a proposed teachers college, Carter
offered his 120-acre farm and $100,000 toward the establishment of the normal school,
which became ETSU. There is no admission charge but donations are welcome.
Watch the promotional reel highlighting the George L. Carter Railroad Museum at East Tennessee State University.