If you have a train lover in your family we have all the info you’ll need to make the most of an afternoon at the Hub City Railroad Museum! Our review includes a brief history of the Hub City, some history and details about this free museum, and when to go.
COVID-19 Museum Opening Update
According to the website, “After a year of being closed, the Hub City Railroad Museum is open again. Come by on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm and check out our recently added display about the Pullman Company. We also have a new order of tee-shirts that have just arrived. There are some restrictions in place due to the virus. We will request that you wear a mask and we will be limiting the number of visitors at one time. We will be periodically sanitizing the museum, especially frequently touched items. Your understanding is appreciated. The caboose is still undergoing a major renovation, but there has be significant progress made. Stop by and peek in to see how the construction is going.”
If you’ve spent any time in downtown Spartanburg, you’ll probably have noticed the nickname Hub City used frequently.
Starting in the late 1800s seven train lines fanned out from the city’s center, similar to the hub of a wheel. By the 20th century, Spartanburg was a major transportation hub. The cars that passed through the city carried everything from passengers to the textiles manufactured here to places all over the country.
About the Hub City Railroad Museum
The Hub City Railroad Museum is housed in the historic Magnolia Street Station. The station was originally built in 1915 and served as a packaging services facility for the Southern Express Company. While the station outlived all the other train station structures on the property, it has seen its share of problems. In 1996 it was damaged by a fire and was most likely headed for demolition. A young man stepped in and through a letter-writing and public awareness campaign, he managed to save the historic building that now houses the museum.
Inside you’ll find a display of items from the rich history of the Hub City. The textile mills, peach industry, and more are represented along with a lot of the actual items from the original train station.
The item that most caught my seven-year-old’s attention was the replica model of the original station. The replica, which took two men 700 hours to complete, shows in historically accurate detail what the station originally looked like.
Something that is sure to be the highlight of your museum visit, for children and adults alike is the red caboose that is next to the station. The caboose has lived an interesting life! The little red caboose, which was built right here in Spartanburg in the 1940’s, spent almost 30 years in service. It was donated to a Boy Scout troop, abandoned, and almost became a hot dog stand at the beach before being restored and finding its home at the museum.
Note – According to the website, “The Restored Southern Railway Caboose number X-3115 is continuing. It has undergone a major renovation that took much longer than we originally anticipated. As we began the repairs of several roof repairs we were aware of, we have uncovered a number of other repairs that are needed. This includes the replacement of the window frames and some structural and electrical work. Although we are not 100% complete, the caboose is currently open to the public. We are hopeful that the Caboose exterior will be repainted this spring. Please visit the Caboose and Museum from 10 to 2 on Wednesdays and Saturdays.”
The caboose is air-conditioned and contains a working model train, railway videos, and more railway artifacts.
The model train is definitely a favorite of children visiting the museum.
With some 40 trains passing thru the station on any given day, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be there to see one of the Norfolk Southern trains come through. Plus, the station is still an active Amtrak stop.
If you don’t already have a train lover in your home, the museum might create one!
Visit the Hub City Railroad Museum
The Hub City Railroad Museum is run by volunteers from the Carolina Railroad Heritage Association.
298 Magnolia Street, Spartanburg | 864.963.4739
Wednesdays & Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm
Admission is free but donations are accepted and sincerely appreciated.
What is your family’s favorite thing about the Hub City Railroad Museum?