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“A must see and go on the tour”

Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum
Ranked #3 of 26 things to do in Aiken
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Visitors Center, located on the first floor of the rebuilt Aiken Railroad Depot, can assist you with any questions you may have, contains maps and brochures of the area, a calendar of events and more. The Train Museum, located on the second floor, has nine dioramas that depict the towns, as they were in 1916, along the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company right of way. This railroad became the first designed steam powered commercial railroad in the US and the longest railroad in the world. These dioramas are done in the familiar HO scale and are complimented by interactive displays depicting railroad history. The Aiken Trolley Tour also departs from this location every Saturday at 10 am. Private trolley tours for groups of 15 or more may be available upon request.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

The museum has an interesting set of train dioramas on the 2nd floor and the trolley tour, led by Miss Judy, was great!

Thank April H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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163 - 165 of 165 reviews

Reviewed February 10, 2012

Aiken, SC, was one of the major stops along the historic Charleston & Hamburg Railroad (South Carolina Rail Road), conceived in the late 1820s, opened in 1830 as the first commercial railroad in America, and completed in 1833 as the longest railroad in the world - 136 miles! This lovely new visitor center and museum/education center is located just yards from where the original tracks were laid, running down Park St to the old incline where the cars were hauled up and down the hill, and only a little farther from where the tracks were moved into a "cut" dug in 1852. The location is only a few blocks - a short drive - from the downtown historic district, with its excellent selection of restaurants, shops and places to walk. The museum staff, many of whom are dedicated volunteers, are very pleasant and knowledgeable, and the facilities are as neat as a pin. Upstairs you'll find one of the best railroad displays even constructed. Running around the entire outside of the viewing area is an HO scale train set, with multiple glass enclosed dioramas depicting many of the towns along the route from Charleston to what is now North Augusta, including Branchville, Denmark and Blackville, three towns that lost their tracks in the mid-1980s. The time frame of the dioramas is 1916, the high water mark of American railroad trackage. The work on the dioramas and other exhibits and educational displays in the museum is impeccable - excellent craftsmanship, interesting and informative presentations, very professionally done. Outside you can walk through a couple of old passenger cars and wander around the tracks, and perhaps an actual train might rumble by. It doesn't take long to visit this place - and you should even just to find out what's happening, like tours around Aiken - but if you're the slightest bit of railroad buff, and who isn't?, do not miss it! See their website for more information and a photo gallery.

Thank AlPhD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2012

The historically accurate reconstruction of the railway station is charming and worth seeing in its own right. The dioramas are the real jewel, however: refined, accurate, and powered, they give a real sense of what the railroads meant to these SC towns. A cafe is planned (in Pullman cars adjacent) and will make this a delightful stop on your tour of Aiken.

Thank BostonGCC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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