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Museum of the American Railroad

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Visit Us:

Visit TrainTopia at the Frisco Discovery Center - 8004 N. Dallas Pkwy, Frisco, TX 75034.

Wed - Sat, 10am - 5pm
Sun, 1pm - 5pm

Walking Tours:

Guided tours of the Museum's rolling stock site are available on scheduled dates and times.  Click here for the current tour schedule and details.  Self-guided tours are not available at this time.  Guided tours are only available on posted dates (above).

Educational Programs:

Contact the Museum at 214-428-0101 to arrange field trips, group tours, and in-class presentations.

View our current
Educational Program Directory!

For more information, phone the Museum at 214-428-0101.


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Collection Introduction Minimize
These venerable old trains exist today because of the hard work and dedication of a relatively small number of people.  It all began in 1961 when the founders of our museum realized that not only had the era of luxurious steam powered passenger trains come to a close, but little even remained of their existence.  Over the next several years, they set out to save what precious few pieces of equipment were left.  Some were graciously donated by the railroads upon retirement; others were literally pulled from the scrap lines.  These are the survivors – the lucky ones – perhaps a little rough but they are tangible evidence of our heritage. 

Pullman Sleeping Car "Goliad" arrives at the Age of Steam, 1965. A new generation of committed individuals is working to steward this museum into the next century.  But such an endeavor is not an easy one.  Historic preservation often faces challenging circumstances.  We’re constantly seeking additional sources of support as we carry out our mission.  We do our best to maintain the collection and minimize the effects of time and exposure.  We do this in an effort to preserve an important part of history along with a sense of pride in our community. 

There are many stories behind the iron and steel artifacts that are gathered here.  They have undoubtedly touched many lives.  We hope you enjoy your visit.  While some of you will relive the past, others will discover it for the first time.  This collection is part of your heritage.  If you leave here more enlightened and enriched, then we consider our efforts to have been a success.
Collection Overview Minimize
Main » Passenger Cars » Train Details
Lunch Counter Diner

Build Date: 1948
Builder: Edward G. Budd Company
Road: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway 1550

Beginning in the early 1930s, the railroads began a program of modernizing passenger trains using railroad cars of lighter, streamlined passenger trains constructed of aluminum or stainless steel.  The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy's "Pioneer Zephyr," began operation in 1934 and caused a sensation with its record breaking inaugural run.  The entire three car stainless steel trainset weighed 197,000 pounds - less than a single "heavyweight" Pullman car.  The streamlined train came to represent the newest and finest in rail travel as the railroads sought to compete with airlines and the interstate highway system, and largely replaced the once common heavyweight Pullmans. Indeed, sleeping cars built by the Edward G. Budd company and owned by the railroads were a direct challenge to the traditional Pullman built, owned and operated sleeping car. The museum's most recent acquisitions are five stainless steel cars of similar construction to the Pioneer Zephyr, which illustrate the evolution of railroad passenger car construction following the heavyweight era.

Santa Fe's all - coach, extra fare streamlined El Capitan increased in frequency from bi-weekly to daily service between Chicago and Los Angeles in 1948. The large number of patrons on the El Capitan required two lunch counter dining cars to be used on each train.  Fourteen could be seated at the lunch counter and another 20 at tables, and the menu included a la carte and table d'hote meals by Fred Harvey. Lunch counter diners could be also be found in service on the Texas Chief and Grand Canyon, especially after the El Capitan was equipped with new hi-level equipment including 80 seat dining cars in 1956.  Lunch counter car 1550 was retired by the Santa Fe and was used as a restaurant, but still retains its original Southwestern inspired decor from its days on the Santa Fe. Santa Fe lunch counter diner car 1550 was purchased in 2005. Sister car number 1554 is also owned by the museum and was a gift from Katherine Schulz.
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