Railroading Fans and History Buffs of all ages will have one more reason to visit Texas State Railroad in 2018. During the spring of 2018, Texas State Railroad (TSR) will place into service a restored FP9 streamlined passenger unit, number TSR 125. The addition of this classic diesel locomotive to the Railroad’s fleet culminates a five-year effort initiated by the Texas State Rail Authority and completed by The Western Group. Both entities are enthusiastic about finalizing the restoration of this period diesel which complements the Railroad’s notable roster of steam engines. These remarkably restored engines aren’t just for show, all of the Railroad’s historic powerhorses provide timeless journeys along the Piney Woods Route between Palestine and Rusk, Texas.
Between 1954 and 1959 General Motors built 481 of the FP9 and FP7 locomotives to haul passengers during the “Golden Age” of streamliners. Debuting in March 1957, TSR 125 was fabricated for the Canadian National Railway for use on passenger trains like its famous “Super Continental” which operated from Montreal to Vancouver BC. The unit develops 1750 horsepower from its 16-cylinder diesel engine while a separate generator provides electrical power for heating, air conditioning and interior lighting. It is identical to locomotives used by several historic railroads which served Texas, including the Rock Island, the Cotton Belt, Southern Pacific, Frisco and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, also known as the “Katy.”
Texas State Railroad will apply a paint scheme inspired by Katy’s fleet of passenger diesels, including those used on the famed “Texas Special” which operated between St. Louis and San Antonio. The striking red, yellow and silver palette is the perfect complement to the Railroad’s historic passenger car color scheme. The restored FP9 diesel will pull these 1920’s cars on a number of select dates throughout the 2018 season.
TSR’s sister line, Verde Canyon Railroad, based in Clarkdale, AZ, also operates two rare FP7 streamlined locomotives on its excursion trains through the picturesque Verde Canyon near Sedona, AZ. With these marvels of motive power, it’s no wonder that Verde Canyon Railroad is designated an “Arizona Treasure” and Texas State Railroad is the “Official Railroad of Texas.” For more information on TSR’s 2018 schedule, visit TexasStateRailroad.net or call 855-632-7729.