Hurricane Laura

Railroad Museum Safe after Hurricane Laura

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.

This last week was full of excitement for the Railroad Museum! On Thursday, August 20th, predictions for Hurricane Laura began to forecast landfall around the Houston, TX area. Morris Gould and Perry Hatch worked that afternoon to move rolling stock in the yard and get train cars ready to be evacuated off the island.

As the projected path of Hurricane Laura wobbled in the Gulf of Mexico, the museum adopted a “wait and see” attitude, waiting for a final prediction. Then on Tuesday, August 25th, at 6 am the City of Galveston issued a mandatory evacuation. Staff members David Robertson, Jennifer Kelso, Sam Christensen, Ramon Coles, and Deborah Shephard proceeded to pack up the museum. Files were evacuated, artifacts were moved up to above the anticipated water lines, and outdoor fixtures were moved inside.

BNSF arrived on mid-day Tuesday, to take the evacuation train off the island. The museum evacuated the iconic Warbonnets, Alonzo Harter & George Gould chair cars, the City of Galveston dining cars, the Donald Harper sleeper car, and the museum’s newest acquisition the Bonnie Brook a combination observation-sleeper car.

(pictured: L-R Morris Gould, Eric Jones, Jon Dee, David Lorenz, Del Johnson, not pictured: Martin Alcala)

Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 4 before its eventual landfall in Cameron, LA in the early morning hours of August 27th. Fortunately, Galveston and the Railroad Museum were spared a direct hit, and there was not any notable damage. Once the water receded, museum staff Jim Boone, Jennifer Kelso, Sam Christensen, Lanette Pacheco, and David Robertson were on the property to set the museum to rights.

(Sam Christensen reinstalling Patrick Henry’s historic train route signs)
(Ramon Coles cleaning leaves after Hurricane Laura’s winds)

The Railroad Museum will reopen to the public on Friday, August 28th at 10 am, and the Harborside Express will return this Saturday, August 29th. The staff is excited to once again welcome visitors!