Archives: Exhibits

The WBT&S: The Little Railroad That Could

December 14, 2020

The WBT&S: The Little Railroad That Could

This exhibit shows the history of a shortline railroad in East Texas. Although small, it played a very large role in the communities it served. This exhibit includes photographs, oral history, and some of the last remaining artifacts from the WBT&S.

Lt. Governor Ben Barnes’ Whistlestop Tour

Lt. Governor Ben Barnes’ Whistlestop Tour

For his 1972 campaign for Texas Governor, Lt. Governor Ben Barnes led a bombastic whistle stop tour across the state. Chartered by the Santa Fe Railroad, the 923 mile trip featured 20 stops and reached 20,000 Texans. The trip was filled with speeches, extravagant gifts from the towns visited, and autographs from the Dallas Cowboys, harkening back to an earlier era in American politics. 

Galveston’s Interlocking Towers

Galveston’s Interlocking Towers

Before GPS, Interlocking Towers played a vital role in making sure trains operated safely. Galveston’s Causeway once had three towers controlling the 5 mile switching area for the rail bridge. Come learn how these towers protected rail traffic on and off the Island. 

Santa Fe Advertising Posters

Santa Fe Advertising Posters

The Santa Fe railroad commissioned a variety of artists to create posters advertising their routes and destination. The results of these efforts are an eclectic collection of posters that highlight the sights, people, and ideals of the American West. Thanks to Patrick Henry for donating these excellent reproduction posters to the Museum!

Santa Fe Warbonnets

santafe

Santa Fe Warbonnets

ATSF 315 and 316 in the famous Warbonnet paint scheme.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

Santa Fe Warbonnets

The museum’s two F-7 locomotives were built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division in 1953. The locomotives served on railways including Southern Pacific, the Port of Allegheny Railroad, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation before coming to the museum in 2011. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe granted the museum permission to use Santa Fe’s iconic red and yellow “Warbonnet” Scheme to commemorate the passenger train, Texas Chief. The Texas Chief trains number 15 and 16 operated between Galveston and Chicago from 1948 to 1967. The museum’s F-7 locomotives were 300 series – so numbering these 315 and 316 honors both these pieces of our history. You may notice some not-quite-ATSF things about these, but we hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do.

Here are a few you might like to know about:

The 5 Chime Horns are from the Texas Limited which ran from Houston to Galveston as a private train for a number of years. Those F-7s (a gift to the museum by George Mitchell) were destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

The front doors with the headlights were also salvaged from the Texas Limited. These F7s did not have the lower light and all Passenger F-7s for ATSF did.

You might also note that there are no portholes on the side. Santa Fe used porthole shaped windows on their F-7 units.

The snowplow shaped section is not the same design used by the Santa Fe, but was used on many northern railroads where snow was a constant problem.

People’s Gallery

peoples_gallery

People's Gallery

A re-creation of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Depot as it looked in 1932.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

People’s Gallery

The People’s Gallery is located in the former Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe depot. It features 31 plaster statues in early 1930s dress. The statues were created for the museum by Ivan and Elliot Schwartz of StudioEIS in 1981, using live models and real clothing for the molds. Each statue tells a story about the role of railroading in Galveston.

Passenger Cars

santafe

Santa Fe Warbonnets

ATSF 315 and 316 in the famous Warbonnet paint scheme.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

Passanger Cars

Bonnie Brook

Completed in June 1949 by the Budd Company, the luxurious Bonnie Brook served the NewYork Central Railroad. It was part of the New England States train between Boston and Chicago for many years and was used regularly by celebrities such as Jackie Gleason. Read more about the Bonnie Brook.

Center for Transportation and Commerce sleeper Donald E. Harper Jr.

Built in 1954 for Canadian National, it features 8 roomettes, 4 double bedrooms, as well as open sleeping space.

Southern Dining Car #3305

The Budd Company built this streamlined dining car in 1949, and it served on the Southern Railroad’s streamlined trains Crescent, Tennessean, Southerner, and Royal Palm. It is available for rent as a birthday party venue.

Center for Transportation and Commerce Coaches George H. Gould and Alonzo H. Harter

Built by Budd in 1952 for the Pennsylvania Railroad, these cars operated on the Pennsy’s Congressional and Senator trains. These cars are Amtrak certified and are pulled by the museum’s Warbonnets on annual excursions and during The Polar Express™ train rides.

Center for Transportation and Commerce Dining Car City of Galveston

A 34 seat dining car built by Budd in 1948 for the Santa Fe Railroad. It operated on the Texas Chief, and frequently ran out of this very depot before transferring to Amtrak service. The museum acquired the car from Amtrak, and now runs it on our annual excursion trains, and during The Polar Express™ train rides.

Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Observation Car #302 Silver Hours

Silver Hours is a combined diner and observation car built in 1940. It served on the CB&Q line until 1968, and was donated to the museum by the South Texas Railroad Historical Society in 1984. It is available for rent as a birthday party venue.

Glen Fee Sleeping Car

Glen Fee is one of the last remaining cars from the American Freedom Train of 1947. The American Freedom Train carried important documents such as the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Emancipation Proclamation around the 48 states. Glen Fee’s role was to house the Marine honor guard that traveled with the train.

Pullman Observation Car Robert E. Lee

This observation car was built in 1924 and originally named Mt. Darwin. It left general Pullman service in 1961, and was eventually acquired by the Oregon, Pacific, & Eastern Railroad changed its name for commercial film purposes. The museum acquired it in 1978. It features a large sitting area in the back of the car, as well as 20 beds for passengers.

Anacapa

This palace/business car was specially built for the editor of the Washington Evening Post, John Palmer Gavit. Gavit used it as a private railcar, and hosted noted dignitaries including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Sir Winston Churchill.

Illinois Central Rail Post Office Car #100

Pullman built this post office car in 1914, remaining in service as late as 1968. Post office cars were vital to railroads, as carrying mail was the only way to make passenger service profitable by the late 20th century. After leaving rail service, this car starred in the 1998 film The Newton Boys.

Locomotives

santafe

Santa Fe Warbonnets

ATSF 315 and 316 in the famous Warbonnet paint scheme.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

Locomotives

Besides the Warbonnets, the museum also has a number of steam and diesel locomotives.

Center for Transportation and Commerce #1983.

This General Electric 80-tonner was built in 1958. The museum uses it to switch the railyard, as well as pull the caboose for weekly caboose rides on Saturday.

Union Pacific Engine #410
This Fairbanks-Morse H20-44 was built in 1954, and was the last engine of its type built. It was donated to the museum by the Portland Cement Company in 1984. The museum painted the engine in Union Pacific colors to commemorate UP’s important role in Galveston’s history.

Center for Transportation and Commerce #555
Built by Alco in 1922, this 2-8-0 Consolidation class locomotive spent most of its life hauling copper on the Magma Arizona Railway. It finally retired from Magma in 1968, making it one of the last steam locomotive to run on an industrial shortline railroad. It starred in several movies before coming to the museum in 1978.

Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, & Sabine Railway #1
This 2-6-2 Prarie Class Locomotive was built in 1920 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The engine was acquired by the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway in 1949, and was donated to the museum in 1981. During its’ rail service, it was affectionately known as the “Wobbley, Bobbley, Turnover and Stop”, due to the line’s frequent issues. The locomotive is now named Mary and Elizabeth Too, after Mary Moody Northen, who was instrumental in founding the Galveston Railroad Museum. Mrs. Northen was known to say that her name was “Mary … and Elizabeth too” which led to the spelling of the engine’s name.

Southern Pacific #314
This 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler class locomotive was built by Cooke Locomotive Works in 1892, making it the museum’s oldest locomotive as well as the oldest surviving Ten Wheeler in Texas. This type of locomotive was commonly used as a passenger carrier to early 20th century Galveston.

Oregon, Pacific, and Eastern Engine #112
This locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1923 and is a Class B Shay locomotive. Shays were famous for using a geared drive train as opposed to the piston and driving arm found on most steam locomotives. This gave them a low top speed but excellent torque, making them popular on logging railways.

Freight Cars

santafe

Santa Fe Warbonnets

ATSF 315 and 316 in the famous Warbonnet paint scheme.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

Locomotives

Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy caboose #14118

The museum’s oldest railcar, #14118 was built in Plattmouth, Nebraska in January of 1880. After serving the CB&Q for nearly a century, the museum acquired it in 1978. The museum recently restored it to its original CB&Q colors.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Boxcar #62746

This rare boxcar was built in 1909 and is one of the last remaining 36 foot boxcars. As larger boxcars came along, the 36 footers quickly fell out of favor and most were scrapped.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Flatcar #21158

Built in 1909, this flatcar’s most valuable cargo was a block of marble used for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The car carried the marble from Colorado to Vermont in 1931, where it was sculpted to fit the monument.

Southern Pacific Boxcar #34828

This boxcar was built in 1917, and features wooden sides and ends. This was to save steel for war production during World War I.

Kansas City Southern Gondola #28351

This steel gondola car was built in 1919 and is “self-clearing,” meaning its floors have trap doors that can drop cargo through them.

Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Flatcar #15143

This flatcar was built in 1896, and was originally a boxcar or stockcar. After it was converted to a flatcar, the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, and Sabine railroad bought the car and used it as a caboose. The museum acquired it, restoring it as a flatcar.

Western Fruit Express Refrigerator car #66354

Built in 1928, this is a 32 foot long insulated refrigerator car. The car is insulated, and can carry 10,000 pounds of ice. Fans on the inside of the car blow the icy air to keep perishable fruit cool.

ATSF Boxcar #205512MW

This all steel box car was built in 1948, and carried automobile parts before being used in Maintenance of Way service.

Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Stock Car #105031

The only stock car in the museum’s collection, #105031 was built in 1928. After its retirement, the car played a role in the film Emperor of the North Pole, where it was set on fire for use in a stunt.

Arrow Refining Company Tank Car #116

116 is an 8,000 gallon tank car built in 1923. It was acquired from Reader Railroad and repainted in bright green Arrow Refining Company colors.

ATSF Tank Car #100221

Built by the Pressed Steel Company in 1915, it is a 10,000 gallon tank car used by the Santa Fe Railroad. Its red markings are a color code, indicating that the car carried gasoline.

Kanotex Refining Company Tank Car #879

This 8000 gallon tank car was built in 1941, and has three separate compartments to carry different kinds of liquids.

Union Tank Car #31589

Built by the Union Tank Car Company in 1918, this is a 10,000 gallon tank car used to carry oil. After sitting unused, Exxon donated the car to the museum.

ATSF Caboose #1642

The American Car and Foundry Company built this caboose for ATSF in 1927, the first year that Santa Fe ordered only cabooses made of steel.

Missouri Pacific Caboose #12131

Originally built for the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1942, this caboose transferred to the Missouri Pacific Railroad with Missouri Pacific acquired the T&P.

Southern Pacific Caboose #347

A steel caboose built in 1942 for the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, it transferred to Southern Pacific when T&NO was acquired by Southern Pacific.

Texas and New Orleans Caboose #317

Originally built as Southern Pacific #1170, and dates back to the early 1940s. It is a C-40-3 steel caboose, the last class of Southern Pacific cabooses with a cupola.

Garden of Steam

santafe

Santa Fe Warbonnets

ATSF 315 and 316 in the famous Warbonnet paint scheme.

Buy Tickets

The museum staff has been busy cleaning and instituting policies to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe. Read more about our Covid-19 policies.

Garden of Steam

The Garden of Steam uses engines as art. It includes a vertical steam engine, a 1911 Case Steam Tractor, and an exhibit on Diesel engines. The Garden also features a gazebo, square, and palm trees. It is an ideal venue for weddings, corporate events, and parties.