The Train Depot is modeled after two historic train stations: Matson Switch, located nearby between Woodland Mills, Tennessee and Hickman, Kentucky and the Cookeville Train Depot in Cookeville, Tennessee. This is an appropriate place for a depot because a portion of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (NC&StL) railroad track once ran through the property that Discovery Park now sits upon. The Hickman & Obion Railroad was incorporated in 1853-1854 to build a line from Hickman, Kentucky to some point in Tennessee to connect to the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad. After the grading between Hickman and Union City was essentially complete, the property was sold to the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad in 1855, which railed the line and opened it to traffic before 1860. The Nashville & Northwestern Railroad was sold to the Nashville & Chattanooga in 1871, and the Nashville & Chattanooga changed its name to the Nashville, Chattonooga & St. Louis Railway in 1873. The line running from Union City to Hickman—and right through Discovery Park’s property—was abandoned in 1951.
After checking out The Depot, you’ll want to take a seat on Discovery Park’s train and relax a while or walk from car to car and experience this unique example of mid-twentieth-century train travel. As you walk the length of the cars on this track, you’ll see why train travel became a comfortable and sometimes glamourous way to get from town to town or across the whole country. Included here are cars for riding, eating, and drinking comfortably, and even includes a full kitchen for preparing the meals. All these were manufactured in the early 1960s.
Be sure to check out the 1913 steam engine, the coal tender and the caboose located across the platform. The bright red caboose, manufactured in 1946, was used by Gulf Mobile and Ohio Railroad. You can still pull the cord and make the whistle blow, just like they did more than a hundred years ago.