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2017 Spring Conference UPDATED AGENDA. 

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The Spring Conference registration fee is $160 for members and $260 for non-members, and includes all seminars, opening reception, Thursday and Friday lunch, Friday dinner, Biltmore Estate admission and Saturday banquet. Organizations in lapsed membership status are considered non-members for billing purposes and will need to renew their memberships prior to registration in order to obtain the active member registration fee.  Sorry, NO Refunds!

NOTE:  A post conference trip is available of Sunday, April 30.  This trip is not included in the conference price.  Please refer to your registration materials for more information.  Pre-registration is required!



Greetings Late Registrants! Before you book at Sleep Inn or Microtel.....

We have 3 rooms available at the Calhoun House Inn & Suites! This quaint themed room hotel is just a few beautiful blocks (walking distance) from the depot. A historic Inn with modern amenities, features spacious 4-room suites with Private Entrances, Private Baths with Jacuzzi tubs, Fully Equipped Kitchens, Pillow top beds, long range mountain views, 2 blocks from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train depot and downtown Bryson City, NC. AND Only 2 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance.

Please contact Ed at 828-788-0505 to reserve your rooms today!!

Your 2017 Spring Conference hosts,
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Airport and driving options are listed below; All travel times vary and are dependent on road conditions and weather:

Asheville Regional Airport ( airport code AVL) is 1 hr 15 minutes from Bryson via I-40 West

McGhee Tyson Airport in the Knoxville area (airport code TYS) is 2 hr 15 minutes from Bryson via scenic parkway roads over 441 South. If you prefer the Interstate, it will take 2 hrs 30 minutes via I-40 West. Attendees should not take Hwy 129 from this airport, as this will take you over the nationally-known Tail of the Dragon known for 318 curves in 11 miles. 

Greenville - Spartanburg Airport (airport code GSP) is 2 hrs 15 minutes from Bryson via 74 West

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (airport code ATL) is 3 hrs from Bryson via 23 North, but will most likely have the most affordable flights due to their high volume. For those of you driving through Atlanta, please be sure and use Waze or a similar GPS app with real time traffic updates to navigate your way around. Travel times both in and outside the perimeter of Atlanta continue to be delayed anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time of day and direction in which you are driving. Please also note that in some areas you must now have at least 3 people in a car to use the HOV lanes.


From G. Mark Ray, President:

Earlier this year, the board of directors agreed to move forward with a strategy to develop a new identity and brand for the Association. This is part of a strategy to improve our brand awareness and, coupled with a new website, increase the visibility of the Association and its members to the public. While a member of the Association may be a trolley museum, an operating historic railroad, or a museum of static displays, we are all about preserving our HERITAGE. And common with all of us is a single item - RAIL. Rail is the thread that binds all of our diverse interests together. Finally, we're also a group of organizations that have come together for our mutual benefit. That, my friends, is an ALLIANCE. I am very pleased to announce that we will now be known as the HeritageRail Alliance with a tagline of "All the Bells & Whistles."  To go with the new HeritageRail brand, the Alliance is launching a new website in early 2017.  This new website will be a dramatic departure from our current website as the focus will shift from internal to external.  This means that our members (both institutional and commercial) will have an additional marketing tool to attract visitors, donations, and support.  Among the new features included in the new website are:

  • *Improved* Search Function
  • *New* Event Planner and Calendar
  • *New* Photo Gallery
  • *New* Conference Registration
  • *New* Document Management System (for our Technical Library)
  • *New* Advertising Package (for our commercial members and advertisers)
  • *New* Member Directory Package

The member directory package contains the most new benefits to members of the Alliance.  Included in this package, are the following features:

  • Member profiles with logos, pictures, map, social media links and more.
  • Search directory by geographic area
  • Search directory by labels/categories
  • Interactive map view for directory
  • Generate leads with user recommendations
  • Member slideshow widget
  • Collect donations for general funding or a specific project
  • And more!

Look for more exciting news as we move forward with the rebranding effort.



Fall 2016: Conference Presentations are Now Available for Download!

Here are just a few of the presentations from the 2016 Fall Conference in Savannah, Georgia.  Members, to access additional presentations, including presentations from prior conferences, click on "Resources," select "Conference Presentations" and scroll down to open the link of your choosing

   Advocacy Basics

   Preserving Trades Education

   Focusing on the Human Element

   The Railroad Historical Center Preservation Project


Did you know....

Railways played a key role in the development of communities across the United States and Canada and throughout the world. Railway museums and tourist railroads interpret this exciting and pivotal history, and provide an opportunity for the public to experience rail travel as it once was. 

HeritageRail Alliance Avatar 1We invite you to explore our website and learn about the history of railways by seeing trains and trolleys restored to their original appearance and the infrastructure that was vital to the success of the railroads and street car operations. Learn what it was like to sleep on a Pullman car and eat breakfast in the dining car. See how important the mail car was to the distribution of mail across the continent. Take a scenic ride on an old narrow gauge railroad or an urban ride on a restored trolley.

HeritageRail Alliance (formerly known as ATRRM) fosters the development and operation of these unique preservation efforts through education, research, and the free exchange of information among members.  Railway museums and tourist railroads are invited to join HeritageRail, a dynamic organization dedicated to the success of its members, the protection of railway preservation efforts, and the enjoyment and education of the public


HeritageRail Online ("The Magazine")

The Magazine, HeritageRail's open access digital magazine, is now LIVE and ready for postings and comments!  To share a story or restoration project, e-mail Aaron Isaacs, Editor, at  HeritageRail welcomes member and non-member contributions (but you must be a HeritageRail member to submit comments to postings).  To view The Magazine, click on "HeritageRail Online" in the menu box above. 


Recommended Practices

Recommended Practices for Railway Museums, as adopted by the Association of Railway Museums in 1997, is a great resource for Railway Museums.  We are pleased to make this collection of practices available to everyone. 

Click here to open the pdf file:  Recommended Practices for Railway Museums   

An updated edition of Recommended Practices for Railway Museums is in production.  The new edition will cover many topics that were not issues some 25 years ago, including the Internet, social media and child labor.


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TRRM IN PDF:   Volume 4 Now Available for DOWNLOAD


REMINDER:  The compliance deadline for FRA's rule on grade crossing inventory requirements was March 7, 2016!  The link below takes you to a Regulatory Action Summary describing the rule, with links to the rule text/preamble, draft reporting form and reporting guide. RAS:  Grade CrossingMembers can find more regulatory information under the Resources tab.



Click HERE for a copy of the response



From the bookshelf of the Town House Restoration Shop, Street Railway Journals and documentation among museums prove to be the best resources when trying to understand construction techniques and inisight on how to
perform a restoration.  Click HERE to access the collection (you may need to refresh your browser after accessing the site)



April 27-29, 2017:  Great Smoky Mountain Railway, Bryson City, NC

October 5-7, 2017:  Minnesota Streetcar Museum, Minneapolis MN  (pre-conference events Oct. 3-4)

Spring 2018:  The Strasburg Railroad, Strasburg, PA

Fall 2018:  Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Chama/Santa Fe, NM



ATRRM is continuously building its database of individuals with expertise in various areas of restoration, management, and operations.  This is a resource for members seeking information and advice.

Please help your fellow members by submitting the names and expertise areas for yourself, volunteers or staff in your organization.  Be sure to first ask their permission to be listed and to accept questions and emails from fellow members.  To submit names, please click here.