Railway Museum (reporting mark DRMX) is housed in the former Union Station
on the east end of downtown Danbury, Connecticut
, United States
. It was established in the mid-1990s following the closure of the station by Metro-North Railroad, and primarily focuses on the history of railroading in southern New England
and neighbouring New York. In addition to the former station building, the museum has a collection of heritage railcars in the neighboring railyard it shares with Metro-North.
The station was built in 1903 by the New York, New Haven
Railroad in response to local pressure for a new station after the three railroads that served the city were merged into the New Haven.In 1993 that had dwindled to a few commuter trains, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which by then owned the neglected building, closed it in favor of a newer station on the other side of the block. Within two years the museum was formed and restored the station to its former appearance.
The museum itself is located on a curved 1.3 acres (5,300 m sq) lot at the southeast corner of White Street and Patriot Drive, just across from Meeker's Hardware, also on the Register. To its west is a parking lot with room for 25 cars. Immediately behind it, to the south, are the railroad tracks and a 6-acre (2.4 ha) railyard. The current Danbury station is a short distance away, and sometimes Metro-North stores its trains on the tracks behind the station between runs. The museum's collection of older cars is on the tracks in the yard's interior. A grade crossing on White marks the eastern terminus of the Beacon Line kept in reserve by Metro-North for possible future use.
Visitors can ride the "Rail Yard Local" on weekends in the summer season. The ride takes about 30–35 minutes and includes a unique ride by the passengers on the museum's operating, decades-old turntable, and a tour of the recently restored Danbury fairground's pumphouse. The turntable was also added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 2005.
Today the museum has 550 members and 60 pieces of equipment. In addition to the exhibits, for which a $6 admission fee ($4 for children) is charged it offers rides every weekend from April to December.