Steam Engine 349 finds new home outside of upcoming Children's Hospital Outpatient Center

Image: WTVC

The Children's Hospital Outpatient Center in Chattanooga is four months away from opening its doors to patients. Doctors want those patients to feel welcome and at ease.

On Friday, The facility added a new addition to the outside of the building that can meet those needs.

A police escort led Steam Engine 349 on the last ride to its new home, which will be outside of the soon to be Children's Hospital Outpatient Center at Erlanger.

"[To] see the amazement in their eyes is going to be worth the work that we put into this," said auxiliary volunteer Sylvia Hall.

Hall and so many others anxiously awaited the train's arrival. But Erlanger president and CEO Kevin Spiegel wants the train's presence to take away anxiety for patients who will be treated at the new facility.

"Kids can come to receive healthcare in a safe environment where they fell comfortable and they're not scared," Spiegel said.

Steam Engine 349 was made in 1891, the same year Erlanger opened its doors.

The train had quite the trip to its new home. It was moved from Holtzclaw Avenue by crane to a truck, before being driven to the new facility that iset to open in December.

"If we can have parents drop kids off at a train station rather than an outpatient hospital center, it lowers their anxiety," said Children's Hospital CEO Don Mueller.

"Which makes it much easier for the doctors and nurses to take care of the kids."

Mueller thinks this new donation from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum adds to the character of the hospital. It joins a fire engine and tow truck that rest inside the building.

"Kids love these things," Spiegel said.

"I want them to enjoy themselves at the same time that we're creating a world-class healing environment."

The site of a new train can serve as hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"The stability of train, the strength of a train. That this hospital will have that type of strength to help this community," Hall said.

There are two more building phases. Project managers expect for this new facility to welcome its first patients in December.

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