Museum Hours: 10AM to 5PM. Open Daily. ~ Call: 409-765-5700

Smokin Hot at 100 Years Old

The Galveston Railroad Museum is celebrating the 100th birthday of the #555 with a track party, Saturday, October 22, 1 pm, 2602 Santa Fe Place. Members and visitors are invited to a presentation by railroad researcher Steve Benson and reception to follow. Plan to attend.  

Built in 1922 by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in Dunkirk New York, the CTCR #555 is an oil-fired Consolidation. Weighing in at 96 tons, she has a 54.5 Square foot fire grate and operates at 190 pounds of steam pressure. The combined engine and tender are 66′ 4″ long, 11 feet across the cab, and stands at a height of 14′ 8″ from the top of the cab to the top of the rail. 

This powerful girl has two pilot wheels in front, 8 driving wheels and no trailing wheels. A freight dragging engine, she has lots of power but not much speed. Slow and powerful, her boiler is mounted very high relative to the frame, and wheels showing daylight between the frame and boiler to allow for the very large firebox, making her one hot mama! 

The face of the #555 has the headlight mounted on the front of the smokebox and on top are the smokestack, sand dome, bell, steam dome, and generator which is right in front of the cab. Mounted on the right side of the boiler is the power reverse which is steam operated. The compressor is on the left side of the boiler. 

The tender behind 555 has a cylindrical water tank that holds 7,000 gallons of water and 3,500 gallons of fuel. Designed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shape of the tender sets her apart from the common boxy cars. The lady carries panache.  

For most of her life, the 555 operated for the Magma Arizona Railroad in Magma, Arizona, as engine #5. She pulled ore cars from the copper mines at Superior, Arizona, to Magma Junction, where they interchanged with Southern Pacific, and carried mine supplies back to Superior. She was one of the last steam locomotives in revenue service in the United States, and was not replaced by diesels until September 3, 1968, when she made the last steam run for Magma.

After starring in several television commercials and movies, our little celebrity was purchased from the Oregon, Pacific and Easter Railway in 1978 by the Galveston Railroad Museum. Now retired on Galveston Island, she stands proud and beautiful greeting visitors daily from her premier position on the railyard.  

Steve Benson, lifelong railfan and railroad researcher, has hands-on experience training on locomotives. His presentation will provide an informative and entertaining look at #555’s birth and 100- year fascinating life, including film clips from her movie days. Question and answer session to follow.  

The public is invited to attend #555’s 100th birthday celebration and to learn more about the magnificence of the technology of her generation on October 22, 1 pm, 2602 Santa Fe Place.  

The Galveston Railroad Museum is open daily, 10 am – 5 pm. Admission: Members free, Adults $12, Seniors $9, Students 12 yrs. and under $6, Under 3 free. Programs and admission are benefits of membership. For additional information go to or call (409) 765-5700.