LaFayette officials will open museum in historic rail car

LAFAYETTE, Ga. -- LaFayette's Downtown Development Authority has a museum in the works, and a 1950s-era Central of Georgia Railway passenger train car will be its venue.

"This car actually ran through LaFayette back in the day," said Brian Prather, vice chairman of the development authority and a member of the Walker County Model Railroad Association.

He said the 85-foot train car was used to store passengers' baggage.

The car is being donated to LaFayette by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga. It is being prepared for its move south, although there is no target date for delivery.

Meanwhile, LaFayette's Downtown Development Authority has some preparations of its own.

A small tract of land along the railroad tracks at the north end of the former Sunrise Hosiery mill has been donated to the city, and the authority is going to build a rail spur there.

"We need a hundred feet of track put in," Prather said.

Once that's done, there will be a place to park the train car permanently.

Upon its arrival, there will be additional work.

"We're hoping when the car gets here the community will rally to help get the car fixed up, doing painting, donating materials," said Catherine Edgemon, LaFayette's Main Street and economic development director. "The Downtown Development Authority is spearheading this, so they will be doing a lot of fundraising for the cost of materials."

After the car is prepared, the museum will take shape.

"The Walker County Model Railroad Association will set up a model train layout in it," Edgemon said. "There will be some permanent exhibits and some that will rotate."

If the city's model train exhibits are an indicator -- it's had two -- this new venture will be a success.

"I'd say they've been the most popular exhibits we've had so far," Edgemon said. "There is a lot of interest in that."

Timothy Bradfield covers Walker County. Contact him at