Rosenberg Railroad Museum

Look at that Caboose!

I admit my ignorance; I had no idea what a caboose was until I visited the Rosenberg Railroad Museum.  This bright red MoPac Caboose went at the end of the train and the engine at the front.  It was an office of sorts for the conductor and brakeman.  This one was built in 1972 for the Missouri Pacific Railroad – don’t these railroad company names give you chills?  It brings back wonderful nostalgia of American movies for me.  With the addition of computerized systems, cabooses are no longer used on trains.

Tower 17 was commissioned in 1903 and was a fully working tower until 2004.  This is still the busiest junction in Texas, south west of Houston.  We could see the old Interlocker which operated the switches and signs but perhaps even more exciting we could view the current computerized map of the trains in that area.  There were soooo many and there was even a traffic train jam while incredibly long trains passed.  It is completely normal to sit for 20 minutes while a train passes at a railroad crossing in Texas.  I am always too amped to get annoyed at the delay; what are they carrying; which railroad company is it?  Sometimes you feel disorientated when looking at a train carrying cars when you are driving parallel on a busy highway.

The computer screen looks out of place…

Then there was all the old office equipment – it reminds me how old I am…  The little children looked with fascination at the antiques.  Does anyone remember duplicators, the precursor to photocopies?  You had to type/engrave a document and roll copies out in blue ink (that got everywhere!)  One little boy, in our tour, was 3 years old but looked 6.  He called his grandma, “Oma” which is the German version.  They were utterly Texan but descended from German immigrants, way back.  She apologized for his endless questions because he was really just a toddler.  He was adorable.

The Quebec

The Quebec above, built in 1872, was a luxury business cabin and fully renovated.  I can only imagine how lovely it was eating a proper meal while looking out at the Texas countryside.

Business Class Dining – ‘old school’

The museum was small but really informative with a miniature gauge railroad.  One of my favorite childhood memories was going on a steam train from St Enoch’s station in Glasgow to Dumfries, a city in the south west of Scotland.  The noise, steam and billowing clouds were so evocative of a different age.

Liiliput

This is one of the lovely historic buildings in Rosenberg with the Railroad Café and outside tables.  Perhaps it would be nice in the winter – the heat index was 108 degrees and even I was wilting.

Finally – the piece de resistance…

Whoo hoo – a real train passing at old Tower 17.  We could see it on the computer map just half an hour earlier – can I infuse any more enthusiasm into this train geek post???  This is the Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad Company (BNSF) whose headquarters are in Fort Worth, Texas.  The most common company I see is Union Pacific but I see others from Canada and Kansas.

28 thoughts on “Rosenberg Railroad Museum

  1. Yes, I well remember those old duplicating machines, particularly the hectograph (which our teachers had to use, even though it made terrible-looking copies) and the mimeograph, which is what I preferred in those days. To make a mimeograph stencil, you could use a normal typewriter but set it so the keys would not hit the ribbon, so they banged directly onto the stencil. This worked very well in most cases, except if you banged the keys too hard the middle of the letter e might fall out.

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  2. Who does not love a bit of train nostalgia? I often wonder what happened to Lillie Langtry’s private railcar the ‘Laleh’ which criss-crossed the USA with her theatre troupe. Early memories of mine include seeing those monster steam engines billow into New Street and Snow Hill Stations in Birmingham.

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      • Spot on Kerry. She had one royal affair too many and had to turn to acting to pay the bills. By all accounts she was pretty good at it and worked like a demon to succeed. Her memoirs were discrete which was to her credit, though disappointing to many 🙂 I think she was great.

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  3. My paternal granddad, dad, and three uncles all worked for Missouri Pacific, which made me a lifelong railroad fan. When I lived in Brigham City UT, I used to skip school and hop the Union Pacific trains going down to Ogden. I dreamed of being one of The Boxcar Children. I think I’m the reason why boxcars now are locked before moving. Even empty ones.

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    • I am so envious of your train hopping! Every time I see a train go past, I think about jumping on and escaping. My paternal grandfather was a conductor on a rail line in Nebraska as a young man but I don’t know which rail company. It seems we have some history in common.

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