C & O Railway Heritage Center, Clifton Forge

#98 of 308 in Museums in Virginia
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society is proud to offer The C&O Railway Heritage Center | Clifton Forge. This Center is a railway heritage museum, interpretive, educational, and visitor's center that tells the story of the C&O Railway: the people, the places, and the technology. The story is the essential American tale of how our nation grew, how we lived and worked, and how we were all connected together by twin rails of steel. The purpose of this center is also to honor the memory and contribution of all the railroaders who built the railroads that allowed our nation to prosper, and all those railroaders who continue to keep America moving by rail.

It is also designed to attract visitors and stimulate the economy of our community. Finally, it is to be a "center" of the Alleghany Highlands community, of the C&O Historical Society, and of all the railroad centers within Virginia's Rail Heritage Region.

Clifton Forge, though a small town, was an important place on the C&O. It was where locomotives were serviced and readied for the trip West over the Alleghany Mountains and East over the Blue Ridge Mountains and down the James River. There was a large shop facility for the overhaul and repair of locomotives. There was a large rail yard for classifying coal and other freight, a yard for less than car load freight, an icing facility, the main laundry facility for the railroad, a passenger coach yard, and the division headquarters for the region. It was all the things that comprised a railroad, crowded into a small crescent of land next to the Jackson River, and an archetypal example of the American Railroad. The Center is also dedicated to preserving and telling the story of Clifton Forge.
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C & O Railway Heritage Center reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
70 reviews
  • We found this museum by accident, and we're glad we did. It's a small but outstanding museum showcasing a variety of historic rolling stock and the railroad heritage of Clifton Forge. The staff is...  more »
  • We visited the C&O Railway Heritage Center on a quiet April weekend near closing time, after a heavy rain, not expecting much...but we were BLOWN AWAY by the attention, kindness, and generosity of...  more »
  • This was a fun place to visit. The kids enjoyed it, which was key. The exhibit building has A/C and was a nice place to cool off and read their informative signs - they have tons of neat info. Also bathrooms and a drinking fountain. For a small town I was impressed by the exhibit, and was happy to pay admission to keep it going/growing. That said, It felt a little pricy for what it has. Although, they have a tiny train the kids (and parents) can ride around and that made admission feel a little better spent. Our kids (6,4,2) really enjoyed the ride. The reason I give 4 stars instead of 5 is for cleanliness. Several cars had cobwebs. Some were dirty. But, I am sure they are working towards restoring those. It is very worth going here at least once!
  • We stop there today. The gentleman in gift shop was very nice and full of info. He also told us where the AC was at. The main building and if you looking at the trains and cars step into the Diner Car to cool off on a hot day. Full of History here

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