Monday, March 25, 2013

Heavy Metal Afternoon

While most people spend their 'nice weather' days taking a walk outdoors, playing at the park, and going to the zoo...I tend to choose a different path. A couple of weekends ago was no different, and while everyone else was shopping in the 70 degree weather, Bastian and I decided to spend our time with some heavy machinery.

We spent the afternoon at the Great Plains Transportation Museum in nearby Wichita, KS.

The museum houses a generous amount of locomotives, rail cars, and artifacts, all from Wichita's booming Railroad history. There are 6 locomotives, 9 rail cars, and a huge assortment of rails, Track Speeders, a crane car and signals, all of which are outside. Not to mention, the  museum sits besides a still working train rail, sot hat you can look at railroad history, and get waves and smiles from modern conductors as they drive by! Inside, the exhibits include railroad prints, signs, lanterns, tools, and other artifacts. One of the most interesting is a mock-up mechanical stoker used for training steam locomotive personnel. Each piece was privately donated from the railroad, after it's retirement from use.

Like this Santa Fe steam locomotive (above), #3768, which was delivered to the Santa Fe in 1938. (In case you didn't know, locomotives are generally delivered to their railroad company, from the builder and manufacturer.) This engine, like almost everything that was outside, was open to the public, so you could climb inside and explore. 

The controls of the Santa Fe steam locomotive, #3768, are pictured above. You can even pull a rope to ring the bell  if you want to! The entire outside of this train was painted a deep black, and had ladders you could climb on as well. I think I'm going to come back dressed in my Steampunk gear, just for a photo-shoot on this train!

One of the enigmas at the museum, that I had one hell of a time figuring out, was the car pictured below. Can you guess what it is?

It's an engine that converted motion into electricity! How neat is that?


One of my favorite cars was this Burlington Caboose, #13519, which was built in 1929. It's the car that is in the most disrepair, but it still oozes character. It begged me to get some photography love. There were only  24 of this class built, all of which had steel exterior, with wood interior and roof. Both the images above, and below show the caboose.

The last of my favorites is this Burlington Northern Locomotive, #421, which was built in 1949. It was actually a former Frisco train, but it changed hands at some point, as well as point jobs. Now it's a beautiful shade of green that I fell in love with!

So if you're in the Wichita area, make sure to stop in and have a look at all the railroad items! It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon, and a great educational field trip for the kids. At only $5 for adults, and $3 for kids, ti won't break the bank either!

For more info please visit their website.

Love and Lightning Bugs,