The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is dedicated to three key elements: the restoration, the preservation, as well as the operation of the location.
The operation involves significant railway equipment that dates from the 19th century all the way up to the year 1950.
It is located in Calera Alabama, at 1919 9th Street, just off I-65.
It is also only 30 miles south of Birmingham, and about 45 miles north of Montgomery, making it one of the best of the Birmingham day trips.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum features a wide range of numerous railway memorabilia, including the following:
The museum actually has an operational heritage railroad that offers the visitor two excursion trains.
These trains operate of Saturday’s only form March through December, as well as operating on special dates for the visitor including Halloween and Christmas.
The visitor also has the choice to ride in the cab of the locomotive, as well as in the caboose.
However, if they choose, they can also ride in the all-enclosed open air-passenger cars.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum starts with the Heart of the Old Dixie Club, whose first location was in Birmingham.
It was located across the street from the Alabama Power Steam Generation Plant, and the cars in the museum have mostly been donated by various railroads.
In the early 1980’s there was an issue with homeless people using the cars, and several of them were actually burned over territory disputes.
In the 1980’s the club moved their cars from Birmingham to Calera, and those types of issues went away.
It operates the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum on several hundreds of acres located between 17th Avenue and 20th Avenue in Calera.
The track that it currently uses has quite an interesting history.
The Calera and Shelby Railroads used the track that was built in 1891 to collect minerals necessary for making Iron and taking it back up to Birmingham.
Once there, it would drop of the minerals to the local ironworks and return,
However, when the Alabama Power company damned up the Coosa River, it was abandoned.
Eleven miles of the abandoned track was purchased by the heart of the Dixie Club, and since then, they have been constantly replacing and upgrading the track.
The equipment at The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum starts just like all trains, with the Locomotives.
The museum currently has and operates three first generation diesel-electric locomotives for powering excursion trains, as well as stop switching.
They also have 6 other locomotives that are non-operational from four different builders.
They include the following:
They also have four inoperable steam engines on display at the museum.
Next on the list of the train equipment at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is the ‘rolling stock’.
These “rolling stock’ cars include passenger cars, a post office, as well as numerous freight cars.
There are several passenger cars that have been fully restored and can be booked for special occasions such as birthday parties.
Next on the list is special equipment and stations.
The specialty equipment included two heavy-duty rail mounted cars that are used in construction, as well as clearing off wreckage.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum also owns several cars that belonged to the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command.
The stations include two former community railway stations, the former Wilton Alabama depot, as well as the former Woodlawn Alabama depot houses.
The Wilton depot is used for the excursion trains, and the Woodlawn depot operates as the library.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is on the Birmingham day trips most popular trips for its fun and educational experiences.
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