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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
Round End Chair Observation

Build Date: 1940
Builder: Pullman-Standard
Road: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway 3197

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.

The round end observation car was the hallmark of the new streamlined passenger trains, usually carrying a colorful illuminated "drumhead" with train's logo. Car number 3197 was built for Santa Fe's El Capitan in 1940 and served on that train until 1956 when it received all hi-level equipment.   Most round end observation cars were rebuilt with a conventional flat end for more flexible use in trains, but 3197 retained its original streamlined shape to the end. In its last years of service it was paired with motor cars M.160 and M.190 on Santa Fe's Clovis - Carlsbad, New Mexico train "The Cavern."  Car number 3197 was donated by the Santa Fe railway along with "doodlebug" M.160 in January 1969.
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