Texas Train Rides, Tours & Depots

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The railroad has played an important part in the history and development of Texas over the years. Companies like the Texas & Pacific Railway and the Cotton Belt Route were dominant transportation giants in the area.

Today, interest in railroads remains high with residents, and tourists.

Included on this page are highlights of some of the more popular railroad rides and depots across Texas.

Whether you are touring in East Texas, North Texas, West Texas, or elsewhere in the State, there are many interesting railroad displays to explore.

Texas State Railroad EMD diesel locomotive No. 125 (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Texas State Railroad diesel locomotive No. 125

Texas State Railroad

Steam engine No. 316 of the Texas State Railroad

A popular East Texas attraction is the well known Texas State Railroad, which has a rail station in Rusk and one in Palestine. Vintage steam and diesel locomotives take passengers across the celebrated rails of the Piney Woods Route between the quaint East Texas towns of Palestine and Rusk on a 50-mile roundtrip adventure.

This quintessential daytrip, only a few hours from the metropolitan communities of Dallas and Houston, will create a memory that will last a lifetime.

Texas State Railroad station in Rusk (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Texas State Railroad station in Rusk

Railroad Museum in Nacogdoches

Railroad Museum and SFA Center for Regional Heritage in Nacogdoches, Texas

In August of 1954 Southern Pacific terminated passenger services through Nacogdoches. The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

It is now home to the SFA Center for Regional Heritage and features rotating museum displays such as the Loblolly Model Train exhibit, history of railroading in Nacogdoches, and others. 

Located at 101 Old Tyler Road in Nacogdoches



Cotton Belt Depot Museum in Tyler

The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, Texas
The Tyler Tap Railroad began operations in 1877, and later became part of the Cotton Belt Railway. The Cotton Belt train depot in Tyler was opened in 1905. Today, the depot is the home of the Cotton Belt Depot Museum, and the Tyler Transit offices. Included in the museum's collection are four large model train layouts, photographs, uniforms, hats, etc. that have been donated by former employees of the railroad, and friends of the depot. The Depot Museum has received visitors from all 50 states and 38 foreign counties, and is staffed by volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society. 

T&P Railway Depot

Marshall, Texas - Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railway Station, November 2011

The historic Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railway depot and museum is a major tourist attraction in Marshall, as are many other historical sites that showcase Marshall's long and varied history.

Located at 800 N. Washington Street, this ornate two-story brick station, once a major interchange point and division office for the T&P, has been restored to its former grandeur.

To get to the museum located in the Ginocchio National Historic District, visitors must pass through a tunnel below the still-active Amtrak line and enter the depot, where an impressive collection of railroad artifacts awaits. Items include memorabilia from early passenger trains, exhibits detailing the large-scale manufacturing functions at the shops, and hands-on displays including a model train and pull whistle.

Texas & Pacific Depot and Railway Museum

 

Old Texas & Pacific Railway Depot in Grand Saline

The Grand Saline Library located in the restored Texas and Pacific Depot, 201 E. Pacific Street
The Grand Saline Library


The T&P in Mineola

The discovery of oil in Wood County and construction of the Texas & Pacific Railway prompted additional growth in the 1940s.

Visit this restored caboose in downtown Mineola. Scene along the railroad in Mineola, Texas

Depot Museum in Henderson

Depot Museum in Henderson, Texas

The old 1901 Missouri Pacific railway depot was an important link for old-timers in Rusk County, Texas. 

World and local news, gossip and local business concerns traveled by the train to the citizens. 

Today The Depot Museum is your ticket to East Texas Heritage

Henderson Depot Museum

Cotton Belt Depot in Mt. Vernon

Cotton Belt Depot in Mt. Vernon, Texas

The 1894 Cotton Belt Railroad Depot has been carefully restored pursuant to National Register standards with original colors and decor.

The central office is furnished with antiques suitable to an office at the turn of the last century, working telegraphy, and railroading exhibits. A model train exhibit showcases a stylized mid-century Mount Vernon. The depot is located at 202 S Kaufman Street in Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon Depot Museum

Railroad Depot in Winnsboro

The Winnsboro, Texas railroad depot

Saved by the Winnsboro Heritage Society in 1985, the railroad depot, built in 1908, has been fully restored and is known as the Winnsboro Depot Center.  

The KCS Railroad gave the society a 99-year lease on the depot in 1985.

The Center houses the Winnsboro Area Chamber of Commerce office and meeting room, the Autumn Trails office, WEDC office, as well as a community room available for meetings and special events.

It is located at the intersection of Main and Broadway Streets.

 

 

More Texas Railroads, Museums, Tours and Train Rides

Museum of the American Railroad

Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas

Founded in 1962 and located in Frisco, the Museum of the American Railroad is a not-for-profit Texas corporation dedicated to celebrating the heritage and exploring the future of railroads through historic preservation, 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.

In its most ambitious project to date, the Museum closed its location in Dallas’ Fair Park to relocate its collections and operations 30 miles north to 8004 North Dallas Parkway in Frisco, Texas. Phone the Museum at 214.428.0101 or visit their website at ...

Museum of the American Railroad


  • Grapevine Vintage Railroad in Texas
    Historic Jefferson Railway - Located at 400 East Austin in Jefferson, Texas, the railway transits a three mile excursion route along Big Cypress Bayou. For more information, phone 866.398.2038.
  • Austin Steam Train Association -   For reservations, phone 512.402.3830.
  • Grapevine Vintage Railroad - travels along the historic Cotton Belt Route between Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards. Rides available year-round on authentic 1920s Victorian coaches, with special excursions offered such as Christmas Wine Trains and the North Pole Express. Phone 817.410.3185.
  • Galveston Railroad Museum - impressive collection of rolling stock and preserved locomotives along with railroad displays and artifacts. The main entrance is located at 123 25th Street. Phone 409.765.5700 for additional information.
  • Raillway Museum of San Angelo - Explore this historic depot with model trains, historic photos, a static train display outside, special events and tours, and much more. The museum is located at 703 South Chadbourne. Phone 325.486.2140 for more information.
  • Texas & Pacific (T&P) EMD diesel locomotive on the rails in West Texas
    Red River Railroad Museum in Denison - Located inside the restored Historic Katy Depot in downtown Denison, Texas. Just one hour north of Dallas, visitors will find thousands of treasured memories from the golden era of the railroads. The museum is located at 101 East Main Street, Suite 145, in Denison. For more information, phone 903.463.5289.
  • Wichita Falls Railroad Museum - Climb aboard actual train cars and steam locomotives including commuter cars, Pullman Troop Sleepers, dining cars, Post Office and Baggage Cars, cabooses and more. Located at 500 9th Street. Phone 940.386.1626.
  • Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum in Teague - The B-RI Railroad Museum includes two floors of artifacts, old photos and original depot furnishings from 1906. Located at 208 South 3rd in Teague, Texas. Phone 254.359.4100 for more information.
  • Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum - exhibits explore the history of the railroad and topics relating to regional and local  history. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, education programs, and special events. The museum’s collection of railroad equipment is displayed on the grounds, next to an active railroad yard where rail-fans can observe daily operations and traffic of the BNSF and Amtrak. The museum is located at 315 W. Avenue B in Temple. Phone 254.298.5172 for more information.
  • Eagle Lake Depot Museum - The Eagle Lake Santa Fe Depot was built in 1911 and opened in September of that year. Restoration of the building to its railroad service appearance began in 2000 and the museum formally opened after the centennial celebration in 2011.  Located at 322 East Main Street in Eagle Lake, Texas, near the Prairie Edge Museum.
  • New Braunfels Railroad Museum -   The museum is run by a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of railroad artifacts and education. The museum is open to the public at no charge. Located at 302 San Antonio Street. For more information, phone 830.627.2447.

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