Rosenberg Railroad Museum: Adjacent to 3 Active Train Lines
Railroad Aficionados Take Note!
The Rosenberg Railroad Museum is one of six railroad museums in the State of Texas. The Galveston Railroad Museum is the next closest one found in the Houston Metropolitan Area. Cleburne, Plano, Frisco and San Angelo have the other four locations in Texas.
The address of the Rosenberg Railroad Museum is 1921 Avenue F, Rosenberg, Texas 77471. It is located right in the heart of the historic downtown. So if you are coming from a distance away from Rosenberg, there is plenty to occupy your time.
You can pack a picnic lunch and eat right on the grounds of the Rosenberg Railroad Museum. You could also choose to dine at the ‘Ol Railroad Cafe located in the historic Vogelsang Building or choose from a variety of other enticing enterprises in that town.
Picnicking at the museum would be fun for families with children. The kids can play on the wooden train structure. Trains often pass this spot regularly with three different train lines that use these tracks adjacent to the railroad museum.
There is a platform built up against the see-through fencing for an even better view of the passing trains.
Museum pricing is exceptionally reasonable. $7.50 is the top price for adults, and it goes down from there. They even take discounts such as those from Groupon. Check out their website for more details regarding membership, group tours, birthday parties, special events and more.
The first thing typically done after entering the Rosenberg Railroad Museum is to watch an 8-minute film. After that, a docent leads an interactive tour through the different rooms of the museum where railroad artifacts are on display.
I was particularly interested in the items regarding hobos. My mother was born after the Great Depression which forced many men to hit the road, often riding the rails from place to place in order to survive.
Often she witnessed a hobo eating food that my grandmother had given to him. My grandmother also collected used clothing to hand out to those who needed it. The hobo would have wished to complete some chore such as shoveling snow if it was during the long Wisconsin winter months. Most often they did not want pure charity without doing something in return.
My grandmother would have definitely made the hobo sign list as a kindhearted lady as well as other positive notations.
Outside of the museum building which looks like a Union Depot from 1883, there is a G Scale layout. Model trains operate on the 4th Sunday of each month, weather permitting. We, fortunately, got to see the model trains in action on our first visit.
Next, on our tour, we got to go through the red Missouri Pacific Caboose #13591 which originated in 1972. Cabooses such as this used to provide a home-away-from-home for the conductor as well as the brakeman and flagman. They would eat, sleep and wash up in this environment.
As a child, I well remember waving at the men in the caboose as we would await the end of the train as we sat, stopped, at the train tracks. They would typically wave back.
Inside of the caboose is a sign which reads as follows: “Before trains used automatic air brakes, the engineer would signal to the caboose when he wanted to slow down or stop. You would climb along the top of the train and turn the brake wheels that were on the top of the freight cars! Did you know that it takes over a mile for a train to stop once it starts to break?” What a dangerous sounding job!
Newer technology has made cabooses a relic from bygone days.
We next climbed the steps up the two-story yellow-painted building called Tower 17. The men assigned work there spent long hours making sure that only one train at a time passed this location which helped to prevent train accidents.
The tower men used a machine called an Interlocker which manually controlled railroad signals and switches. The Interlocker is also a relic from the past. A computer in the year 2004 replaced this one. On view now is a modern high-definition monitor which allows people to see the real-time movement of trains.
The views from the two-story building overlooking the railroad tracks and museum grounds are great.
Next on our guided tour was the ‘Quebec’ rail car. The Canadian government once owned it, and heads of state would have spent time in it while traveling.
Note the rich wood paneling, patterned carpeting, stained glass, and other luxurious appointments within this rail car. A parlor on one end with an observation deck mirrors the dining room and observation deck on the other side with three bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and mechanical room in between.
Viewing the H.O. scale model train is not dependent upon weather conditions, because it is set up inside of a building with a whimsical train mural on the exterior. Someone decidedly spent a lot of time and effort in creating this fabulous display.
On the grounds of the Rosenberg Railroad Museum is a rustic bathhouse (circa 1895) built by railroad workers before having running water in local boarding houses. Bathing in the Brazos River was a common way for railroad workers to rid themselves of grime and soot. Someone used artistry in its design of the name on the useful outbuilding.
There is much more to see and enjoy when visiting this fantastic railroad museum. More items will be coming such as a restored 1945 Santa Fe switcher diesel according to their website.
It is hard to absorb all of the information about the Rosenberg Railroad Museum in just one visit. It is a venue that you will wish to return to again and again.