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Museum of the American Railroad

Vision & Need Minimize

Phase II Capital Campaign

10-Track Exhibits Pavilion

Please note - we are updating this page with information on our next phase of construction. Check back for updates!

The Vision:

The Museum of the American Railroad has embarked on an ambitious expansion program that will transform the fifty-year-old institution into the premiere center for rail history and technology in the Southwest.  At its new venue in Frisco, Texas, the Museum will become a destination for visitors worldwide, and a cultural resource that tells the story of the railroad and its profound impact on American life.


The City of Frisco, a suburb of Dallas and one of the fastest growing communities in the nation, owes its name and its beginnings to the St. Louis-San Francisco "Frisco" Railroad.  This legacy, and Frisco's location as the epicenter of growth in North Texas, creates a natural fit for an expanded railroad Museum. 


The Museum’s new 12+ acre site in Frisco allows for much needed growth to meet the demands of a rapidly-increasing population in North Texas - nearing 7 million.  By doing so, the Museum becomes a major cultural tourism destination, educational resource, and permanent repository for cultural assets of national significance.

The Mission:
The Museum of the American Railroad exists to enrich the lives of others through meaningful, relevant programs and exhibits that relate the history & technology of the Railroad and its profound impact on American life and culture.

A 50+ Year Legacy in North Texas:
Chartered in 1962, the Museum of the American Railroad is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit Texas corporation, providing educational and entertaining programming to over 3 million visitors since its inception.  The Museum is dedicated to celebrating the heritage and exploring the future of railroads through historic preservation, advocacy, research, and educational programming.  The Museum collects artifacts and archival material from the railroad industry to exhibit and interpret their significance in American life and culture.  Exhibits and general programs are provided year-round.  Educational programs are available to local schools and universities through study trips, in-class programming & outreach, and online resources. 

An Educational Resource:
Since moving to Frisco, one thing has become quite evident – there is great need in the North Texas area for the story of the Railroad to augment existing educational programs, if not provide core curricula altogether.  North Texas owes its growth and prosperity to the arrival of the railroad.    

In fact, the history of the railroad is indelibly woven into the fabric of our nation.  The American Railroad has touched every aspect of our lives and participated in historical events that have shaped the world.  Further, the railroad industry continues to reinvent itself and address modern transportation challenges through innovative, new technologies. 

The Museum of the American Railroad is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of North Texas schools through relevant, meaningful programming that addresses a variety of curricula requirements.  No other museum in the region has the ability to engage and educate students about the social, economic, political, and technological influence of the railroad on American life and culture. 

Through the use of the Museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and archival material, students receive first-hand instruction and interpretation of our nation’s rich heritage through the lens of the railroad.  In addition to a variety of cultural history programs, the Museum offers instruction on the technologies behind rail transportation.  Nearly 200 years of innovation is represented in the Museum’s STEM-based programs.  These programs range from the production and use of steam in the industrial age, the transition to internal combustion, AC and DC heavy electrical systems, to such groundbreaking developments as magnetic levitation. 

The Museum of the American Railroad currently offers in-class and on-site programs to grade levels Pre-K to 7, with internship opportunities from grade level 12 to college level.  In developing these programs, the Museum was able to identify several instructional needs through meetings with educators and administrators, e.g., economics, agriculture, and logistics. 

Educational programs comply with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements.  Additional programs are being developed with an emphasis on grade levels 7 and 11.

Construction of Facilities:

The Museum’s Frisco facility will be constructed in three “Phases.” 


Phase I, completed in 2013, encompassed site grading, storm drainage installation, and the construction of over 4,000 feet of track, followed by movement of the entire rolling stock collection, historic structures, and archives from Dallas' Fair Park. 


Phase II provides for construction of ten exhibit tracks totaling 6,300 ft., and a permanent Exhibits Pavilion to cover the entire rolling stock collection.  Funds are currently being raised for this phase of the project. 


Phase III includes construction of permanent buildings, including the main Museum "Headhouse", restoration facility, and later, a 6-stall roundhouse and turntable.  

Capital Campaign:
Phase I (completed in 2013) was made possible by public and private contributions.  The City of Frisco, including its Community Development Corporation and Convention & Visitors Bureau, provided $1 million toward the construction of initial infrastructure, which enabled movement of the Museum from Dallas.  An additional $1 million was provided by private contributions, including foundations, individuals, corporations, and in-kind goods and services.  With Phase I complete and all financial obligations to contractors met, the Museum is now embarking on Phase II. 

Phase II:
Phase II consists of the remaining scope of work necessary to open the Museum to the general public on a daily, year-round basis and provide access to the entire collection.  Where selected pieces are currently exhibited during limited walking tours, Phase II provides for a full opening of the site. 

Phase II Campaign Goal:
Construction of Phase II facilities comprises two major fundraising initiatives:

·         Funding for site preparation, construction of exhibit tracks, and visitor amenities.  Total:  $2.74 million

·         Funding for construction of the permanent 100,000 sq. ft. Exhibits Pavilion, totaling $TBD

Make a Contribution:
Become a contributor and stakeholder in one of the most exciting museum projects in the Southwest!  Every dollar makes a difference.

Your support enables the Museum to continue its Capital Construction project, while making you a valued Contributor of Record to generations of beneficiaries to come. 


Site Preparation:
Grading & erosion control – $62,000


Application of flex-base for rail bed – $108,000

Installation of storm drainage network – $182,000


Installation of water and sanitary sewer – $32,400


Site lighting – $216,000

Electric service distribution – $297,250

Design, Engineering, Testing:
Design Phase engineering – $137,700


Construction Phase engineering – $59,300


Material testing and geotech reports – $17,800


Environmental testing – $16,000

Exhibit Track Construction: Installation of ten exhibit tracks, along with six turnouts (switches) totaling 6,300 ft. in length
Installation of six #8 turnouts (switches) – $182,800


Installation of 6,273ft. of track – $379,500*


Acquisition of 5,050 tons of ballast – $121,200  


Transportation of ballast – $60,600


*Prices are based on the Museum providing 7,500 ft. (3,750 track ft.) of 90# rail currently on hand, and contractor providing the remainder.  Contractor will provide all OTM (other track materials) including tie plates, joint bars, anchors, and new spikes.  Switches are individually priced at approx. $30,500. 

Site Flat Work and Visitor Amenities:
Concourse, platforms between tracks, and basic walkways within site – $536,100


Parking (36 spaces) – $313,600


Landscape and tree mitigation – $20,000

Exhibits Pavilion: TBD

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