With over 55 steam locomotives in Texas, most are on display in museums or parks.
You will find steam locomotive rides in Jefferson, Rusk and Cedar Park. Remember, steam locomotives are occasionally taken out of service for maintainance and may not always be available.
The Lone Star state leads the nation in total route miles with 10,386 miles, with Union Pacific and BNSF combining for 89% of the total trackage.
The first Texas railroad was the Buffallo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado which opened a 20 mile line from Harrisburg to Houston in 1853.
The Austin Steam Train Association, operates as Austin & Texas Central Railroad offering four different rail excursions. The September-May Hill County Flyer is a 70 mile round trip excursion. The Bertram Flyer and the River City Flyer provides an round-trip excursion between Austin and Littig. Seasonal excursions include the Polar Express train ride. Thomas the Tank Engine visits Austin in the fall. Twilight Flyer evening excursions feature special entertainment. Storytellers bring your kids’ favorite bedtime stories to life on board the Storybook Special trains. Other Twilight Flyers, such as the Murder Mystery Specials, offer an adult-oriented getaway. All Twilight Flyers depart from Cedar Park. The 1916 Texas & New Orleans Railroad No. 786 2-8-2 is currently under going restoration.
The Museum of the American Railroad, currently based at Dallas' Fair Park, will move to a new 12.3-acre site in suburban Frisco, the Dallas Morning News reported. The museum has been at the Fair Park site for almost 50 years. The museum draws about 30,000 annual visitors. Its collection includes Union Pacific "Big Boy " No. 4018, Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 No. 4903, and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe FP45 No. 107. UPDATE: The Museum has discontinued operations at Fair Park in preparation for its move to Frisco, Texas.
The Galvenston Railroad Museum boasts one of the largest restored railroad collections in the southwest, and one of the five largest in the country, with numerous railroad memorabilia and exhibits, including more than 40 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock. Known as the "Home of the Sante Fe Warbonnets", the Galveston Railroad Museum is the home for the pair of AT&SF F7's, No. 315 and 316, that originally ran between Galveston and Chicago and were known as the Texas Chief. Train rides at the museum are limited to Saturdays during the summer months.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad operates train rides over 21 miles of the ex-Cotten Belt trackage into the famous Fort Worth Stockyards Mall. There is also an additional 6 mile branch line that runs southward from the mall to the western part of the city. Scenic train rides originate at the restored 1888 Cotton Belt depot, in downtown Grapevine, Tx. Rolling stock includes four 1925-era day coaches and a pair of open-air excursion coaches. The Grapevine operates the only 19th century steam locomotive in Texas, a Cooke 4-6-0, built in 1896, No. 2248, formerly used by the Southern Pacific RR.Directions
Houston Railroad Museum features a unique collection of 1940's built diesel locomotives, as well as vintage freight cars and passenger cars with a Texas flare. The museum is open Saturdays beginning in April from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the first weekend in November.Directions.
Historic Jefferson Railway recreates the Golden Era of Steam railroading. Steam hissing, whistle blowing and pistons chuggin, as Old Six Gun Territory No. 7, a 4-4-0 steam locomotive takes you on a scenic trip along the Big Cypress Bayou. Directions.
The Texas & Pacific Railway Museum is housed in a restored 1912 T&P depot. The Texas and Pacific Railway Depot is located on Trudeau St. between 6th St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. in Natchitoches. Exhibits include a replica of an old railroad agent's office complete with an old typewriter, electric fan and a working telegraph key. There is a 1920's era panoramic photo of the entire commercial and industrial area featuring the vast Texas and Pacific Railway shops. Another display includes working model trains that wind through models of historic Marshall buildings.
The New Braunfels Railroad Museum displays are housed in a restored 1907 International & Great Northern depot. Displays include a 0-6-0 Porter steam engine and a M&P caboose. The museum also houses a permanent HO scale layout, available for viewing to all visitors of the museum.
Rosenberg Railroad Museum features Tower 17, the last manned interlocking tower in Texas.Commissioned on July 23, 1903, Tower 17 controlled the crossing of the Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad (Santa Fe) and the Galveston Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway Company (Southern Pacific). Additional exhibits and tours of an 1897 business car are available. Birthday parties at the Rosenberg Railroad Museum designed for children from 2-8 years are also available.
This east Texas state park includes the former 1881 Texas State Railroad. Scenic excursion train rides run between Rusk and Palestine and include Murder Mystery dinner trains and a Polar Express train ride. The twenty five mile train rides operate with various steam and diesel locomotives. As you steam through the Piney Woods, the Texas State Railroad offers riders both open-air cars or air-conditioned coaches. Various historical western and military reenactments are presented several times a year. Food services are provided at Victorian-styled depots on days of operation.
The Railway Museum of San Angelo is housed in a 1910 Kansas City, Mexico and Orient depot. Highlights include exhibites on local railroading history. Static displays include 2 diesel locomotives, a boxcar, and a caboose. Model railroad club operates several model train displays. Open Saturdays. Directions.
The Texas Transportation Museum displays a variety of railroad equipment and structures. The 2 room 1913 Southern Pacific depot houses memorabilia from the SP and two other roads that served San Antonio. Displays include 2 steam locomotives, and a diesel locomotive along with various other rolling stock. Museum does offer a short train ride. Directions.
The Railroad & Heritage Museum is located in a 1910 Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe depot, featuring early equipment from the Santa Fe and MKT railroads. Outdoor exhibits include Santa Fe No. 3423 , 4-6-2 steam locomotive, a diesel locomotive and a variety of cars. Directions
The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum displays a collection of 14 railroad rolling stock units, 8 motor car units and memorabilia, much of it related to the railroads that served and are serving Wichita Falls. The Museum's three-track yard is located on what was the site of the Wichita Falls Union Passenger Station. Displays include a 1906 Fort Worth & Denver, 2-8-0 steam locomotive, No. 304, and a M-K-T switch engine. The Museum also has a 20' by 6' modular HO scale railroad layout housed in one of the Museum's MKT Troop Sleepers. This layout is operated on random Saturdays. Directions.