Bulger's Beat: Nashville museum harkens back to life on the rail - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Nashville museum harkens back to life on the rails

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At the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville, you won't hear the roar of a steam engine or the howl of a great train horn.

The trains there are mostly stationary, but the ride you get is straight into the past.

Bill Howard and the band of other train lovers at the museum don't look at the collection as a graveyard for old trains.

"No, it's a rest home, rest and recuperation and rehabilitation. That's what we're doing with these. We'll bring them alive someday. That's the dream," Howard said.

Right now, it's all a dream and will take years to ever come true.

"I'm 72. I'll not see it completed, but I'll work on it until then and keep that dream alive," Howard said.

For Howard, the trains are all full of history and mystery.

"Who was inside? What were they doing? Where was this train going?" Howard said.

It's easy to let your imagination run wild.

"Matter of fact, I think I hear voices sometimes, especially when I'm alone working in here," Howard said, laughing.

They are the voices of Louisville and Nashville's L & N railroad, or Baltimore and Ohio's B & O, all stuck in their tracks, on the tracks.

But, for 20 Saturdays a year, one train does roll from the museum on excursion rides for special trips. Those excursion rides include a murder-mystery themed trip, fall foliage rides to Cookeville and Monterey and, later in the year, some Christmas themed rides on the rails.

Howard always rides, too, watching people along the route wave to the train.

"I wave back. I'm glad to see them. I can tell they wish they were aboard the train," he said.

The museum is located at 220 Willow Street, near Hermitage Drive. For more information, visit: http://www.tcry.org/.

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