The Roundhouse Railroad Museum is a “must do” for railroad buffs. There are exhibits of antique machinery, locomotives, passenger cars other rolling stock and a truly splendid model railroad set.
The museum is located in the Central of Georgia Railway Roundhouse complex, adjacent to the Savannah Visitors Center at 601 West Harris Street off of Martin Luther King Blvd. It is the oldest and most complete antebellum railroad manufacturing and repair facility in the United States.
Begun in 1845, thirteen of the original structures still survive including the roundhouse, the turntable, the 125-foot smokestack, the railroad sheds, and work buildings. The brick buildings are known for their Classical and Romanesque style of architecture.
Walk around the grounds, view the rolling stock displays, and learn about the function of each building. Take a train ride (sometimes even ride in a locomotive cab, but it costs extra), a rail car or handcar tour, or participate in special children’s activities in the baggage car. Schedules are seasonal so make sure you call ahead.
Railroads were prime targets for destruction during the Civil War and General Sherman’s troops destroyed many of the Central’s tracks. However, his troops spared the roundhouse and rail shops along with the rest of Savannah. The Central Railroad experienced a long period of success and prosperity, but went into receivership during the Depression.
The shops were eventually closed in 1963 after years of neglect. Eventually in 1989 the site came under the management of the Coastal Heritage Society resulting in the museum you see today.
The museum is open for self-guided tours daily year around (closed on major holidays) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also take a ride on either a steam or diesel train (please call ahead for schedules). There is an admission charge. For more information, call (912) 651-6823.