The city of Wichita Falls should get rid of most of the railroad cars in the defunct Wichita Falls Railroad Museum and keep the few that are in decent condition or have a direct tie to Wichita Falls history, according to recommendations.
Madeleine Calcote-Garcia, director of the Museum of North Texas History, made the recommendations at a Wichita Falls City Council meeting Tuesday. The council took no action.
Under her suggestions, about 20 pieces of rolling stock would be sold or donated while nine would be kept for public display. Some of the smaller items that can be salvaged from the site would be moved to the MNTH location at 720 Indiana Ave.
The nonprofit that operated the railroad museum at 500 Ninth St. walked away from it in 2020, leaving the contents sitting on property owned by the city. The city gave a small grant to MNTH to inventory the contents.
Calcote-Garcia said her people inventoried more than 100 items.
Among the items recommended for keeping are the Fort Worth & Denver 304 engine and its coal tender, a U.S. Postal Service car, a military bunk car used in World War II, a Pullman sleeper, a caboose, a trolley that is probably original to Wichita Falls and a hand car that railroad workers used.
She recommended the exteriors of the rolling stock kept by the city be restored by experts, a roof be installed for protection from the elements and fencing be installed to prevent visitors from accessing the displays.
Assistant City Manager Paul Menzies said the purpose of selling about two-thirds of the existing rolling stock would be to fund maintenance of those cars that stay. He said he envisions the displays being kept in a “park-like” setting.
There is no timeline for moving ahead with plans.
“We’re not there yet,” Menzies said.
In other business, councilors:
Approved a rate plan for Atmos Energy that would hike local residents' gas bills by about $4.60 per month
Conducted a public hearing on the city's 2022-2023 budget
Revised ordinances affecting the downtown area
Awarded grants for street and sewer work
Authorized “Suga B’s” for food, beverage and gift concessions at Wichita Falls Regional Airport
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: City will consider getting rid of most railroad museum displays