Let me start off by saying that despite the intense heat and humidity, this was my favorite RR museum I've been to (that isn't saying a whole lot though).
They have a lot of interesting equipment, and a ~3 mile excursion on restored Katy trackage, which was previously abandoned by UP. The museum was able to acquire it from UP, and restore it to operating condition. During business hours, the museum grounds/yard are free admission and you are free to walk around. Climbing on equipment is SOMETIMES permissible according to the friendly man in the depot. Equipment which cannot be climbed on is clearly marked.
They have a number of interesting locos, including an ex-Army SW8, an Alco RS-1, two Alco RS-3's (one of which is in operating condition, or so I understood), an F9A (which is also operable), a recently acquired CF7, a GE 25 tonner, an ex OG&E 0-6-0 tank engine, and the big guy--ex ATSF FP45 #90. Sadly #90 is inoperable at this time, but it makes for one impressive exhibit.
This F9A originally belonged to Northern Pacific. It was acquired as a hulk from Burlington Northern in 1982. It had been left outside with cooling water over a Montana winter. The museum replaced the original 567C with a 645 prime mover as part of its restoration. I have been unable to find out why it was painted in Frisco livery.
The ex-LAJ CF7 was acquired last year as a donation from LAJ's parent company, BNSF. One of the museum staff indicated to me that it is operable but they will not be working with it till this winter.
The Alco RS-1 is an ex Rock Island unit.
ATSF #90 (originally #100). This unit was the last FP45 in service before being donated by BNSF in 1999. It was originally painted as a red and silver warbonnet, then it was painted as a "yellowbonnet" and then at some point back to red and silver. You can see the yellow on the nose where the red is starting to fade out. The spare knuckles are on the sides of the truck frames rather than on the rear pilot.
This RS-3 is one of a pair donated to the museum. They formerly worked at Magma Copper Co. This one is operable. The other one was unfortunately inaccessible on a siding down the tracks.
And now my favorite part...the SW8 which was the power for the afternoon's rides. The cab is open to visitors in between runs! The engineer was up there to explain the controls and take your pic in the engineer's seat if you had a camera (not posting that publicly
). The SW8 is ex-US Army. It went overseas to Korea during the Korean War. It subsequently worked at the Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK as well as Fort Sill, OK before it's acquisition by ORM. It has a 900 HP 567 prime mover; it has a nice subtle thrum that can be felt in the cab floor. I wasn't allowed to use the horn because we were sitting in the station, but I was able to play with the bell.
I need to go through my pics from the actual ride, so I'll get to them later.