Southeastern Railroad Museum
County:Gwinnett
City:Duluth
Type:Museum
Ticket window for the Southeastern Railway Museum
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The Southeastern Railway Museum is one of those destinations that delivers a lot of fun for your money including locomotives, railroad cars, and memorabilia. Highlights include furniture from Atlanta's Terminal Station, a working locomotive and rolling stock, and Warren Harding's personal railroad car when he served as President of the United States.

For years we have been intrigued by this wonderful museum. When it moved in 1998 we no longer passed it on our journeys down the Norcross section of Buford Highway. It was now off to the side of the same road further north in Duluth. A sign clearly marks the turn off Route 23, but the second turn, up a steep, albeit brief hill and over railroad tracks is poorly marked.

Among the passenger cars that were on display when we visited:
  • 1911 Superb
  • 1930 Washington Club
  • 1940 Charlottesville
  • 1929 Thomas Ruffin
  • 1949 Tugalo River
Two large buildings and a railyard comprise the grounds of the museum, and after buying your ticket check the time for the next train ride, then enter the closest building. At one time the attendant gave tags that helps the museum keep track of visitors so that the local fire department requirements are met, but this is no longer the case. First car inside the building is Warren Gamiel Harding's personal railroad car. This 1911 Pullman car, known as "Superb," has pictures showing Harding waving to crowds from the back of the car and the car in funeral drape (it was used to return his body to Ohio after his death in 1923 while still President of the United States).

Bunk in a railroad car at the Southeastern Railway Museum, Duluth, Georgia
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The passenger cars available for inspection take you back to a time when railroads were the only means of fast long-distance travel. Staterooms, completely outfitted with sinks and toilets are accentuated by the second-class cabins where only seats and storage room can be found. The folks at the museum have left at least one of each cabin in the nighttime configuration, with the bunk beds pulled out, ready for a night's sleep.

Notice the two-way shoe storage container in every berth. This allowed the train's porter to remove the shoes, polish them, and return them to you during the night. Each car would normally have a single porter (average wage in 1937--$60 a month). This income would be supplemented by tips from the passengers. A conductor would supervise the porters and other workers. In the East, porters were usually black, while the conductors were white.

Locomotive inside the Southeastern Railway Museum
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When we last visited (August, 2002) prices were $7.00 per adult and $5.00 for children and adults over 65. They are open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and some Sundays in the Spring, Summer and Fall, and Saturdays in the Winter, however, we recommend a phone call to insure their open dates and times as the schedule is adjusted seasonally. The museum does have plans to expand exhibits to include more about local railroad history, but for the time being only modest amounts of supporting material is available. Included in this is a sign and furniture from Atlanta's Terminal Station, and a payroll ledger with an example of railroad specie, used to pay workers and only valid in the company store.

For additional information visit their web site.

Location: West of Buford Highway on Old Peachtree Road
Directions: Take I85 exit 104 (Pleasant Hill Road) north. Turn right on Buford Highway (U. S. 23) and get in the left hand lane. Small hand-crafted sign marks the turn onto Old Peachtree Road. Turn left over tracks, then bear right into the museum parking lot.
Additional information:
Phone:
770.476.2013

Web site:
Southeastern Railway Museum
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: October 3, 2004

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