Friday, April 28, 2017

With the shriek of a whistle, restored locomotive Texas makes its public debut

Jackson McQuigg and Gordon Jones of the AHC give a talk Friday (AHC)

Jackson McQuigg sounded very much like a proud papa as he described the public debut Friday morning of the restored Civil War locomotive Texas.

“It’s beautiful.” “It gives you goose bumps,” he said over the phone from the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.

The 1856 locomotive – which tooted its whistle -- and tender got the “runway” treatment as a three-day “The Texas Returns” festival began at the museum.

The Texas, which underwent a detailed $500,000 overhaul, makes the trip early next month to the Atlanta History Center, where it will greet visitors taking in the giant Atlanta Cyclorama painting, also being restored.

As reported by the Picket, the locomotive is in a black paint scheme from about 1886, coincidentally the year the Cyclorama debuted. But it does retain some bright coloring. Gold lettering has a raised effect, the Russian iron boiler jacket is blue and the engine has a new smokestack and cowcatcher.

“The engine is honest to is parts,” said McQuigg, vice president of properties for the history center. “The 1936 restoration was great. This was even better.”

AHC officials have stressed the Texas will be interpreted with its complete history, not just its moment in the sun during the April 1862 Great Locomotive Chase.

The Texas is rolled out to the public (AHC)

McQuigg said he is most touched by the restored cab, the boiler jacket and the number plate on front -- No. 12, from the engine's days with the Western & Atlantic Railroad.

He said the museum and restorers were most surprised by how much the engine had changed over time. Basically, the Texas is a collection of parts added over the decades before it went out of service in the early 1900s.

It was saved from the junk heap because of its role in the Great Locomotive Chase, in which Confederates ran down a trainload of Yankee saboteurs. Some were hanged as spies.

The Texas and the painting were housed in Grant Park for decades before the decision was made to restore them and have them displayed at the Atlanta History Center campus in the Buckhead neighborhood.

McQuigg and Gordon Jones, senior military historian and curator with the AHC, are giving talks all weekend in Spencer, detailing the Texas' history as a railroad workhorse and the extensive restoration.

No comments:

Post a Comment