The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum

The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum was founded in 1980 to establish a museum of railroad, streetcar, and pioneer history in Depot Square, part of an official National Register Historic District of downtown Wichita Falls, Texas. Chartered by the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation, the Museum was to obtain suitable rolling stock for the project, while the City of Wichita Falls would make available land in Depot Square, site of the former Wichita Falls Union Depot.

With practically no money and limited membership, the Museum's original plan to acquire Texas Zephyr cars proved unfeasible. The city eventually sold the Depot Square site to private individuals. In 1986 a project by several local railfans to repaint the city's deteriorating steam engine, then located in Rotary Park, renewed interest in the museum concept. Soon, a revitalized Museum began collecting rolling stock -- including diesel switcher 1029, donated by the Katy Railroad -- and the City repurchased Depot Square.

Raising enough capital to actually lay track remained difficult, however, and the Museum concentrated on collecting and restoring rolling stock at its temporary location in the Conoco complex on Eastside Drive. In November, 1990, when road work threatened to close off forever the Conoco spur, the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads graciously moved the Museum's equipment to a siding adjacent to Lawrence Road. Here the Museum opened to the public for the first time. At least 2,000 people toured the Museum in its first year of operation.