Colonel Spotsgnome’s Field Journal:
Today I crossed the tracks and took a rail down memory lane. Tucked back into Spotsylvania County Business Park’s Bowman Center is a spectacular little gem—the Rappahannock Railroad Museum. Run entirely by exceptionally knowledgeable volunteers, this little museum comes to life every Saturdays morning from 9AM to Noon.
While listed as free, please understand everything you see and can do here is funded by a non-profit. They gladly accept donations and new members. You can learn more about their non-profit and membership on their website.
Visitors are greeted as they board through the back steps of the baggage car. In here you will find model trains, memorabilia, tools used to build and repair tracks, and a wealth of knowledge from your gracious hosts. You’ll also see pictures of all the restoration work for each of the train cars at the museum; really a labor of love and dedication!
As you move to the next two cars, you will get a glimpse into what life in a caboose was like. We no longer use caboose cars for trains, but there once was a time we had workers traveling with their trains, living, working, and spotting danger. Climb up into the cupola of the caboose and inspect the train or survey the track in front to see if any danger is ahead!
This museum was a fabulous treat. A definite “must see” for anyone young or young at heart. It brought back memories for those of us “older folk,” but there is plenty for the kids to see and do too. There are trains to explore, lessons of how America’s rail system was built, and even a little train you can ride just like the rail workers of yesteryear.
The little yellow train only runs in fair weather, but we got a small taste while we were there. It is an open air cart just like what workers rode to their rail site. You’ll feel every bump along the way, but it is worth coming back out on a sunny morning, especially if you can watch them load and unload the trolleys from the storage containers. Each cart was used to transport 20 men miles and miles across rail. Thankfully you won’t be crammed in as tight.
The ride is fun for both adults and children. Weather permitting, it usually runs along historic Deep Run Creek in Spotsylvania. You’ll need to arrive by 10:30 AM to ensure there is enough time to complete the full trip. It is first come, first serve. I’m told the fall leaves are a sight to behold!
I highly recommend this stop to anyone looking for something to do on a Saturday morning. I haven’t met a group of people so passionate and so knowledgeable about history and how America’s rail system was built. You won’t want to miss this amazing museum in Spotsylvania!