OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- A history told by railroad… The Oklahoma Railway Museum is a history buff's spot for everything "train" in the state.
When you visit the Oklahoma Railway Museum, it's not just about trains. Even though you get to see these amazing machines, it's also about preserving the history of how Oklahoma was settled.
The "Katy" railroad-- once connected central Oklahoma to Texas, Kansas and Missouri over 100 years ago-- is now used to give people in Oklahoma City a peek into the past.
"There is a whole couple of generations that have never traveled by rail," said Ann Chilton, the Museum Administrator.
Every first and third Saturday of the month from April to August, Ann Chilton, the museum's administrator, says families can hop on one of the eight train cars- $12 for adults, $5 for kids under 12, and kids under 3 for free. Then they can take a ride back in time but only for about 4 miles!
"Trains kinda have a romantic allure to them… You know a nostalgia… And they're rapidly disappearing and you know we are trying to save all this equipment."
Chilton has a long resume with museums, but her history with *this* museum starts with her father, Jim Murray. He helped start this museum back in the 1980s. The land they are on now opened up in 2002.
"Before I was a teenager, my dad was a big railman… Family vacations chasing trains… And so, this was his big dream so, when I moved back in 2008, I have a background in museums, I came on to help them two days a week and now I'm here five days a week!"
They went from 10 railway cars to 50. Most of the artifacts you'll see at the museum, BIG or small were donated by companies or families.
They have volunteers who work on the model train set found inside a rail car and pieces of history from the old railroad days inside another-- all spelling out the history of the US through trains.
"The nation wouldn't have been built without the railroads. Well, it would have been built, but it would have taken quite a bit longer."
This museum is growing.
"It has grown quite a bit, we are actually out of room!"
They purchased the land next to the museum and plan on building an operational turntable, new track, and a whole new building to hold all of the pieces that aren't 85-foot trains.
All to keep railway history, and her father's legacy, growing.
"They're fascinating… I mean they're huge. Once you see them moving and ride on them… I mean it's just a whole lot of fun."
Museum admission is FREE, and they are open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. You can visit the Oklahoma Railway Museum for more information on their events for the rest of the year.