Galveston Railroad Museum

Last revised: January 27, 2023

By: Adam Burns

The Galveston Railroad Museum, located along the Gulf Coast in Galveston, Texas is situated on property once owned by the small railroad, Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway, purchased by the very big Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (the AT&SF) in 1965.

After the Moody Foundation spared the railroad’s buildings and infrastructure from an uncertain fate the railroad museum was set up and created.

Following Hurricane Ike in mid-September 2008, which hit Galveston directly and severely damaged the museum there was talk of the complex would be closed.  

However, the organization was able to raise $100,000 and received $3 million in assistance from FEMA to ensure its future.

While the Galveston Railroad Museum tells the story of city's railroading past it also tells the story of Texas's history with the iron horse.

The museum sprang up after the Moody Foundation saved the former Santa Fe buildings in the mid-1960s.  

Along with the passenger station itself the grounds also included an original Harvey House restaurant, Santa Fe's nearby freight depot, a Railway Express Agency building, and the railroad's carpentry shop.

After nearly two decades of work all of these structures were completely restored and opened as the Galveston Railroad Museum in 1982. 

Today, the main passenger station houses numerous static pieces and the Whistle Stop Café while the freight depot features an operating HO-scale model train layout (about 700 square feet in size) and theaters describe the area's history (the REA building also houses theaters used in a similar fashion).  

Finally, the carpentry shop has been restored to appear as one of Galveston's early passenger trains and is used by the museum for offices.

All of the museum's buildings have essentially one main purpose, to help visitors learn about the history of Texas's railroads and the role they played in helping to shape the state and country as a whole. 

Today the museum has a vast collection of railroad equipment ranging from ten-wheeler steam locomotives to “covered wagons” and rare Fairbanks-Morse diesels (the museum is also home to numerous historic passenger and freight cars).

Along with its equipment the museum hosts train shows and other events. If you are also interested in helping the museum do volunteer work they always need it and I am sure would gladly accept your help!

Whatever you are into and enjoy related to railroading you are certain to find it at the Galveston Railroad Museum.  

Not only did the the Moody Foundation help the Galveston Railroad Museum by purchasing the former Santa Fe building and Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway offices, it also helped the museum acquire its collection of rolling stock and locomotives.

The museum's collection is far to extensive to list in its entirety here (which includes cabooses, boxcars, flatcars, several passenger cars, maintenance-of-way cars, and much more) although below is listed their collection of steam and diesel locomotives:

Preserved Locomotives At The Galveston Railroad Museum

Steam Locomotives

Magma Arizona Railroad 0-6-0 Switcher #5 (Built by Alco's Cooke Locomotive & Machine Works in 1922 as Oregon, Pacific & Eastern #555.)

Southern Pacific 4-6-0 #1 (Built by Alco's Cooke Works in 1892 as Texas & New Orleans #314.)

Waco, Beaumont, Trinity & Sabine 2-6-2 #1  (Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1920.)

Diesel Locomotives

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe F7A #315 (Built by Electro-Motive in 1953 as Southern Pacific #6443.)

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe F7A #316 (Built by Electro-Motive in 1953 as Southern Pacific-subsidiary, Texas & New Orleans #365.)

Union Pacific H20-44 #410 (Built by Fairbanks-Morse in 1954 as Akron, Canton & Youngstown R#505).

To learn more about the Galveston Railroad Museum and planning a visit please click here to visit their website.

Finally, the Galveston Railroad Museum offers Boy Scouts the chance to gain their Railroad Merit Badge and can earn their Eagle Scout by doing a project at the facility (with the museum's help, of course).

The organization also offers a number of events throughout the year such as the Mardi Gras Parade, model/train shows (mentioned before), and season specials (such as during the Fourth of July, Christmas, and Easter).

You can also rent their facilities for special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

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