Austin Steam Train
Although the website is called Austin Steam Train, the steam train has been undergoing major restoration since 1999. The current train, known as the Alco Diesel 442, is a diesel-electric RSD-15 six-axle road-switcher built by the American Locomotive Company in 1960. This type of train has the nickname of alligator due to its long and low nose.
The steam train is known as the Southern Pacific 786 and it has quite an interesting background, which we will explore a bit later.
Where Does It Go?
Most of their rides depart from Cedar Park and either go to Burnett or Bertram. The Cedar Park to Burnett ride is approximately 2 hours each way. The shorter trip goes to Bertram (home to the annual Oatmeal Festival) where there is a short 15 minute stop to visit of the 1912 train station (a relocated Orange Grove station).
They have several themed rides available that include plays and even a wine tasting trip.
History of the Southern Pacific of the 786
The Southern Pacific 786 was built by the American Locomotive Company in 1916. It was eventually retired and was donated to the City of Austin in 1956 by Southern Pacific Railroad. The city put it on display in a vacant lot, known as Brush Square, between 4th and 5th streets. It remained there for 33 years, with little if any care. By 1970 most of the windows were broken and the wooden floors rotted out.
In 1989 the city leased the locomotive to the Austin Steam Train Association. By 1992 it had been restored to health and back on the tracks pulling excursion rides west and east of Austin. The first run was made on July 25, 1992.
Unfortunately, the 786 developed serious problems that could not be fixed by the Austin Steam Train Association volunteers. They determined the steam engine needed a complete overhaul. The project is still in progress.
Visit the Austin Steam Train Association website for details on train ride packages and the latest information.
Austin Steam Train
401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Ste C-100
Cedar Park, TX 78613
Photo courtesy of Austin Steam Train