Are you fascinated by old-time locomotives and railroads? Does the sound of a train whistle resonate with nostalgia? If the railways of a time gone by capture your interest, take a trip to the Tooele Valley Railroad Museum. The Tooele area has a rich history in the railroad industry, and the museum represents that piece of the past perfectly. It’s a great place to take the kids, but there’s plenty for the grown-ups to enjoy as well.
A Page From the Railroading Story
The entire museum is dedicated to the mining and smelting that took place in Tooele Valley. Standing in the former Toole Valley Depot, the central point of interest is an original steam engine from the turn-of-the-century railway. Engine No. 11 seems to stand proudly with its passenger coaches and wood-side cabooses, and it provides a nice illustration of the railroading life. The locomotive was built in 1910 and retired as the last functional steam engine in Utah.
One element takes this museum to a completely different level: You can step inside the engine and railcars. What better way to get the full experience of this remarkable industry? There are impressive military-style railcars that you can walk around in as well. Each piece of equipment is in fairly good restored condition, but the trains still have that old-fashioned appeal.
The Marvels of the Museum
After you tour the actual trains, head over to the museum itself. This indoor structure houses countless artifacts, tools and pieces of equipment from the mining and smelting days. You’ll be amazed at how many remnants are leftover from the old railroading world. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story. There is even a collection of photographs that provides a visible record of the life of a miner.
If you have any questions about what you see, you can ask one of the friendly volunteers at the museum. These retired miners and railroad workers are extremely knowledgeable about the industry, and they seem more than happy to show visitors around. As you tour the site, you’ll hear colorful stories about their lives and the complexities of the railroading operations in Tooele Valley.
Entertainment for the Kids
Although there is a lot to hold a child’s attention at the museum, there may be moments of boredom for little ones. This would be the perfect time to gain some cool parent points by letting your children ride on an actual miniature train. The adorable railway weaves around the property, and it chugs along at a safe pace. If you’re on the grounds at just the right time, you may even see a couple of fluffy bunnies, which are museum mascots.
On Saturdays, there is also a model railroad on display in the museum. The tracks are displayed inside a railcar, and the attention to detail is incredible. Your young ones will love watching the trains disappear through mountain tunnels and travel across long valleys. There are so many unexpected treasures to look for, and each unique feature tells a different part of the railroad tale.
You can visit the Tooele Valley Railroad Museum between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m. The museum is located near our property, so you won’t need to go out of your way for this memorable experience. We believe you and your entire family will enjoy every moment viewing the charming landscape, exploring the impressive train cars and learning about small-town railroading life during a transitional era.