Train Museum CEO Says Rolling Stock Will Leave Fair Park For Frisco in Late April
|LaPrelle says the Big Boy's move in April has prompted calls from all over the world.|
"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."