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George L. Carter Railroad Museum

East Tennessee State University


Big Train Show 2018

train showThe George L. Carter Railroad Museum at East Tennessee State University will host its second annual Big Train Show on Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, in the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center (the Mini-Dome). 

Utilizing more than 64,000 square feet of display space, the event will feature over 40 vendors displaying railroad and model railroad items on more than 200 tables.  In addition, there will be nine model train layouts in multiple scales including operating live steam locomotives. Food booths will also be open.

Train Show hours are Friday noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m..  Admission is $6 per day and children under 12 yearsof age are admitted free.  There will be free parking for patrons in the adjacent ETSU parking garage on the corner of State of Franklin Street and Jack Vest Drive.

This popular family event returns for the third year on Blue Plum Festival weekend and is the largest train show in the region.

The George L. Carter Railroad Museum will be open to the public both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring model railroad layouts in three scales and four gauges.  The railroad museum is located in the ETSU Campus Center Building at 176 Ross Drive and museum admission is free.

For additional vendor and other train show information phone 423-753-6101 or visit

Heritage Days

  • Scheduled for the last Saturday of each month these special events commemorate a particular railroad, area railroads, special railroad types, or those of a particular region of the United States with museum displays and operating model trains representing the heritage theme.
  • Annual calendar of these events is prepared and posted in January

Birthday Parties

  • Families can schedule birthday parties for their children, friends and family
  • Party packages include:
    • 1 hour reserved play time in the museum’s Little Engineers Room
    • 1-2 hours in a decorated party room (building on campus, but not in the museum)
    • Party railroad-themed toys/hats/neckerchiefs  available at extra cost

Rail Excursions

  • Spring and Fall rail excursions are scheduled to area railroads as day trips for the public
  • Excursion packages include:
    • Roundtrip bus ride from ETSU on modern, restroom-equipped motor coaches
    • Ride on trains pulled by steam and/or diesel locomotives in scenic areas
    • Other highlights such as museum tickets, meals, boat rides, etc. as included in the excursion to a particular railroad.

Special Tours

  • Special tours of the museum can be arranged by contacting the director for groups who cannot visit the museum during its regularly scheduled hours of operation.

Special Events

  • The museum’s Cope Memorial Traveling layout is often used to represent the railroad museum and its affiliated organizations at public events such as Johnson City’s Blue Plum Festival and Jonesborough Days.



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