CINCINNATI, Ohio — It’s almost hidden within the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Union Terminal.

  • Inside Cincinnati Museum Center’s Union Terminal, visitors will find Tower A
  • It used to be the city’s train control tower, but railroad companies moved operations elsewhere and it shut down
  • Now restored, it’s an attraction in the museum once a year

But a long walk, an elevator up, and a climb up 2 flights of steep stairs will take you there, to see something you can only see once a year.

A rare view from a place you’ve likely never heard of, unless, of course, you really know trains.

“When they started making trains longer, putting more engines on them, they had to get rid of men,” said Charles “Choo-Choo” Causey, volunteer.

Charles Causey got his nickname “Choo-Choo” before that happened.

He fixed trains for 50 years back when this place called Tower A was a functioning train control tower.

“It controls the trains coming in and out of Cincinnati like the tower at the airport does,” said Causey.

But railroads moved operations elsewhere, and Tower A shut down as a control tower for nearly two decades.

Now restored, it’s a museum attraction run by volunteers from the Cincinnati Railroad Club.

It opens to the public once a year around the holidays. 

“We can’t afford the price they want for rent up here cause we’re non-profit,” said Causey.

He says the Cincinnati Railroad Club is working to raise money, and estimates in the next five years, Tower A will be open more often for train enthusiasts —

“Always been obsessed with trains for a long time, come here as a kid growing up,” said Jeff Amlug, train enthusiast.

Or for anyone looking to get a rare glimpse —and a view of the city —of what’s now a train yard that helped to keep it going.