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Southern Arkansas Foamer

"Train Museum CEO Says Rolling Stock Will Leave Fair Park For Frisco in Late April.

Got a call this morning from Bob LaPrelle, president and CEO of the Museum of the American Railroad, which, as you're well aware by now, is due to roll out of Fair Park to its new digs in Frisco. I'd left him a message a while ago, even before Justin took those photos earlier this week, to see how the move was coming; as you may recall, per its settlement with the city the museum was supposed to have been gone by year's end. But it's been pushed to 'round "late April," LaPrelle says this morning, though the old Tower 19, now cut in half, will begin its trek north Monday evening.

"This is very bittersweet for us," says LaPrelle. "I'm a Dallas native, and I hate to see Fair Park lose any of its institutions, so it's tough." He's also referring to last night's announced move of the Texas Museum of Automotive History, which will leave Grand Place in July. "But we want to show the city progress and that we've met the terms of the agreement. We're making every day count."

Says LaPrelle, the delays this time have been due to rain, which has kept workers from laying down around some 4,000 feet of track that will connect the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe main line with the Frisco location. That, he says, should begin one week from Monday. Another major hurdle will be removing the roof from the old train depot currently sitting at Fair Park; says LaPrelle, "it kills us to have to take these buildings apart," especially since they were moved to Fair Park decades ago whole.

"Our museum is still connected to the main line," LaPrelle says, explaining how the trains will roll out of Fair Park. "We go east across Washington to the main line, the Union Pacific line, and then it goes around the southern sector and by the South Side of Lamar, then through Union Station, then west on the Trinity Railway Express line, which is the old Burlington-Rock Island line, then it goes to Irving, where BNSF picks it up, then through Carrollton all the way to Frisco."

So, yeah -- April, he says, fingers crossed. "Though I am sure there will be some unexpected things," he says, given the fact most of the museum's stock hasn't been out on the main line in at least 40 years. "We know it's not going to be a slam dunk." Which is why experts are being brought in to give the trains the once-over before the hit the tracks -- to make sure they're fine-tuned for the ride north.

Speaking of: Given the fact most of the trains haven't been seen rolling on a track in decades, says LaPrelle, he expects the farewell to be quite the spectacle. "We've had calls from all over the world, from Japan to New Zealand, about the move -- especially the Big Boy," he says, referring to the Union Pacific Big Boy 4018 built in '41 and last operated in '57.

"There's a lot of interest and anticipation" surrounding that piece in particular, LaPrelle says. "People wanna know when we're gonna move it. They want to know so they can come see it. Because we've rolled it back and forth at the museum, but it hasn't been on the main line in decades. And they're coming from all over the world to see it again."

Tacoma Tom

New Member
I appreciate that update! I have also been following this move for the last year and a half and plan on spending a week or two down in Dallas to watch everything moved to Frisco. Even if it costs me my job I am not about to miss a Big boy going down the rails.

I have talked to the owner of the Forney museum several times about the moving of the 4005 many years ago. He said that move was nothing less that a complete nightmare. He said since it was last moved in 1967 the rails were torn up and section track had to be laid for about a half mile or so. After the rails were gone they had buried water and gas lines under the previous right of way. The utilities were worried that the heavy weight of the locomotive would crack or damage some of those pipes crossing over them. They said if one of the pipes cracked he would have to pay for the replacement of a new pipe along with something in the tune of 35,000 dollars a hour for every hour the pipe was shut down.

Needless to say many experts were called in and lots of testing was done before hand. He swore that the PSI under the rails were the same all along the locomotive despite if it was taken from the front, middle, or rear. He also said the grease on the pivot points for the boiler were so stiff it wouldn't even slide and the wheels were crawling over the rails. They had to do a lot of heating and greasing to get to boiler to pivot.

Many of the tender wheels were jacked up and chained up in the air so it could take tighter curves. The rubber pads that sat on top of the tender wheel journals were carelessly thrown in the back of the tender and were later stolen or lost while the Big boy was sitting on a siding. To this day at the museum those parts are missing. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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