A pair of top Texas museums that recognize railroading’s past for much of the year will offer a glimpse into present day model railroading at train shows over the Oct. 27 weekend. For much of nearly two decades, shows at the New Braunfels Railroad Museum and Texas City Museum have been a rite of passage each fall in the Lone Star State.
The timing couldn’t be better. After weeks of rain – including record rainfall in some parts of the state – the weather is supposed to be warm and sunny.
The New Braunfels Railroad Museum’s 10th Annual Fall Train Show Oct. 27-28 at the New Braunfels Civic Center will feature more than 60 vendors from Texas and beyond, displaying over 300 tables filled with new and vintage model railroad equipment.
The show will feature hourly drawings for prizes donated by vendors and local sponsors, as well as a silent action.
Kids age 5 and under can ride the Landa Park Miniature Train for free.
The show is a fund-raiser for the museum, which is housed in the former International and Great Northern Depot built in 1907. In October 1986, the New Braunfels Historic Railroad and Modelers Society was granted a long-term lease of the then-closed depot, a Central Texas landmark.
The interior was restored with Wainscoting and painted floors; the exterior color was repainted to match paint applied during an earlier remodel; and brick pavers were installed along the west side of the depot. Air-conditioning was added to aid in the preservation of the museum artifacts and displays.
The depot was constructed on a concrete slab, with concrete block (interior)/unique dark gray cement tiles with red grout (exterior). Moeller, Mordhorst and Blumberg, a local factory, cast the blocks and tiles. The materials are unique to this depot, and not used anywhere else on the I-GN system.
Chimneys and decorative dormers were removed by the railroad when worn out shingles were replaced with a metal roof. The railroad remodeled the building in the 1960s and again in the 1970s to accommodate changing railroad needs. Replicas of the chimney and dormer were replaced in October, 2012.
The museum houses a permanent HO scale layout, the Joske Department Store (downtown, San Antonio) display acquired in 2010, an HO circus (circa 1910), and an N-Scale layout, The museum also has a number of N-scale NTrak modules which are used primarily as traveling exhibits at area train shows.
Near the Gulf Coast, the Galveston County Model Railroad Club (GCMRRC) and the Texas City Museum will host their 19th annual train festival Oct. 27 to celebrate the contribution that railroads have made to Texas City and promote model railroading.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. 4 p.m. at the Texas City Museum in historic downtown Texas City.
Admission is $5 for adults and seniors and $2 for children, which includes access to the train festival and the museum (including the Texas City Explosion exhibit and the Civil War U.S.S. Westfield exhibit). The city’s popular and free-of-charge Touch-a-Truck event will also take place on 6th Street.
GCMRRC was founded in Galveston in 1989 and operated a modular N-scale layout in the Galvez Mall from 1991-95 until the mall closed. In 1996, the Texas City Museum, which was on the first floor of the former JC Penny building, invited GCMRRC to occupy the second floor if the members cleaned up the debris that was left by the previous occupant.
For many months, club members worked diligently to renovate the second floor, and today, GCMRRC is the largest model railroad group in Southeast Texas, operating six layouts in G, O, HO, N and Z scales in a 5,000 square-foot room. Work is about to begin on an S-scale layout.
The club’s layouts are fully scenicked, and trains run on either DC or DCC.
The layouts are open to the public on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and club members run trains for museum tours.
In addition the club’s layouts, five visiting layouts (G, O, S and LEGO) will be on the museum’s first floor and in the nearby Showboat Pavilion.
Texas City is home to the Texas City Terminal Railway Co., which owns and operates port facilities at Texas City including a railroad, warehouses, and docks. The railroad dates to around 1893 when a four-mile spur known as the Texas City Terminal Railway was built to connect Texas City with the North Galveston, Houston and Kansas City Railroad Co. and the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Co. at Texas City Junction.
Today, Union Pacific and BNSF Railway provide connections for what has become the 15th largest port of 150 U.S. ports.