TRPA Membership Drive...

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  • Member since
    July 2003
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TRPA Membership Drive...
Posted by txhighballer on Sunday, November 26, 2023 4:07 PM

May be an image of railroad

Hello All:
I would like to introduce you to an old friend of mine, and I mean that literally, since she was born more than 100 years ago. Who am I talking about, you ask? Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive Number 982.
The 982 was built as Southern Pacific 3651 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1919. When built, the locomotives were the biggest rigid frame locomotives in service for the Southern Pacific. Generating more than three thousand eight hundred horsepower, these locomotives were capable of handling a freight train two miles long, and one in fact did handle such a train out of Wharton, Texas. Originally assigned by Southern Pacific to handle long passenger trains up severe mountain grades, the Southern Pacific 3651 performed in this service until 1922, when she was sold to the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, which was a wholly owned subsidiary to the Southern Pacific, in 1922, and assigned to freight service in 1922, working out of Glidden, Texas.
In 1929, the 982 was assigned to Houston,Texas and was maintained and repaired at the Hardy Street roundhouse and shops. During World War Two, the 982 handled oil trains to eastern rail connections in Shreveport; trainloads of sulfur out of New Gulf for explosives and fertilizer; lumber from East Texas; steel to build new ships at Todd Shipyards; troops and sailors heading off to war; livestock to feed a hungry nation.
The 982 was also used in passenger service, pulling the Argonaut, a train operating between Houston and San Antonio, a distance of 210 miles, with 19 possible stops, in a little over five hours.
The 982 roamed from her Houston home to places as distant as Lafayette, Shreveport, Dallas, San Antonio, and Victoria.
At the beginning of the 1950’s the future of the 982 was beginning to darken. Diesel locomotives were making inroads into the 982’s operating territory, shrinking her assignments until one day, she was stored serviceable, cold and silent, in 1956, her future uncertain. By this time, several of her sister locomotives had gone to scrap. The future was indeed bleak.
In 1957, the 982 received a stay of execution when the Southern Pacific,which had its Texas and New Orleans general offices in Houston, donated the 982 to the city through the Houston Jaycees. The locomotive was placed in Hermann Park in 1957.
The 982 lived in Hermann Park for almost forty years, three years longer than she was in service, before dark clouds once again gathered on the horizon. Her home, Hermann Park, was being redesigned, and there was no longer a home for the 200 ton locomotive, and her scrapping appeared imminent.
The Houston Jaycees stepped to the forefront, spearheading an effort to save and move the locomotive. Operation Choo Choo. was a fund raising effort to move the locomotive to another location. The City Of Houston donated the land, and the locomotive was moved to its new location outside Minute Maid Park.
The 982 was displayed at Minute Maid Park until she was tabbed to be part of a museum where the 982 would be a focal point. The 982 was moved again, this time to the museum site, where the building would be built around her...but the locomotive would lose her tender in the process due to the fact the locomotive would not fit in the designed building with it. The 982, sans tender, was cosmetically restored, then placed in a protective shroud, her future seemingly assured.
But it was not to be. The Nau Museum was canceled, leaving the 982 without a permanent home, her future once again in doubt.
Enter the Texas Railway Preservation Association, a non profit organization dedicated to the operation and preservation of the 982, and the establishment of a permanent home for the locomotive. The TRPA was given the locomotive by the Jaycees on April 9th, 2021.
In the little over two years, the TRPA has been busy, getting its Federal 501c (3) designation, searching for and finding a suitable location for rebuilding the locomotive ( currently under negotiation), and getting a new, bigger tender to mate with the 982.
To rebuild this Houston icon to represent the steam era to operate around Texas and surrounding states is three million dollars to cover her overhaul, outfitting of a shop, tool car, tools, supplies and initial maintenance of the shop and locomotive. What can you do to help? Memberships are now available, starting at thirty dollars per year. Join now, and essentially you get a thirteen month membership. If you have skills in addition to donation, we would love to have you. If you want to donate more than a basic membership, we’d love to talk to you about endowment opportunities as well. Our website is You can also check out our Facebook page
There is one more thing you can do for the TRPA. Share it with your friends on Facebook and Instagram, or any social media platform you use, even if you are not able to donate at this time. Our motto is” They said it was impossible, therefore we are doing it anyway.” Thank you for reading, and for those who join, welcome aboard!
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