The Cotton Belt Depot Museum in Tyler is a favorite stop for train enthusiasts of all ages. Constructed in 1902, this depot served railroad passengers for 50 years. The museum has a large collection of model trains on exhibit, including what is known as the “Bragg Collection,” an assortment of 200 model locomotives and more than 1,600 rail cars.
Visitors are encouraged to take over the controls for the model trains as they learn about railroad history in Texas. Volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society tell visitors about the history and impact of the Cotton Belt Depot itself. After the Southern Pacific Rail Road deeded the Cotton Belt Depot to the City of Tyler in 1988, the building was renovated to house what is now the Tyler Transit Department and Cotton Belt Depot Museum.
Fans and former employees of the depot have donated original pieces like pictures, hats and uniforms from the original Cotton Belt Depot, with some dating back to the very first days of the depot’s existence. The Cotton Belt Depot is open year round, and special tours are available for schools, Scout groups, travel clubs and churches.
Learn more about fascinating museums in Tyler, TX.