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Lehnis Railroad Museum preparing for White Lightning

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
White Lightning, which is on display at Vulcan Materials, will find a new home at the Lehnis Railroad Museum.

White Lightning is coming to the Lehnis Railroad Museum.

That’s the name of a small locomotive that was decommissioned years ago and is on display at Vulcan Materials.

Brownwood City Council members recently authorized the museum to accept the locomotive as a donation from Vulcan.

Museum director Crystal Stanley said Vulcan will move the locomotive to its new home, which she hopes will happen in the next month. The museum will need to raise part of the roof of the carport that will cover the locomotive and lay some track before the locomotive arrives, Stanley said. The museum will also need to find a new home for the old fire truck that’s currently on display at the museum. Stanley said she’s working with Fire Chief Eric Hicks to have the truck moved to the Central Fire Station for display.

“(White Lightning) has been on exhibit since the early ‘80s when it was the White Mines, and Vulcan took over and they just left it there,” Stanley said. “It’s a small locomotive in the sense that it’s not as large as what you see running nowadays, but it has the same engine power. It’s just not meant to run long-term. But it pulled the quarry cars out so it had to have that power.

“It was decommissioned from running because they got a newer engine so they just put it on exhibit.”

Another Vulcan locomotive is being decommissioned Vulcan needs to find a place for that locomotive, Stanley said.

Stanley said she’s been wanting to increase the museum’s rolling stock.

“Now we’ll have a locomotive on the property, but it’s also connected to Brownwood,” Stanley said. “The White Mines and Vulcan — they’re part of Brownwood. So we can continue educating people on the different types of train services and include some of Brownwood’s history and increase our rolling stock, which is really big for me.”

The Santa Fe 1080 locomotive parked in front of the Santa Fe Depot and Harvey House “is beautiful to look at, but you can’t get inside of it,” Stanley said.

“This, they’ve taken out some of the controls and we’ll have to redo the floor. We’re going to set it up where people can actually go in the cab and kind of see what it would be like to be inside a locomotive cab. I think it’s going to be really great because people can see it up close which is a little different than the 1080 and then they can get inside.”

In other events related to the museum, workers have finished laying new track for the mini train’s outer loop and lengthened it by 200 feet, Stanley said. Workers are nearly finished with new track on the inner loop and are installing the figure eight, she said.

The museum is also preparing for Lehnis’ Ridiculous Rails on July 25, which was formerly known as Harry Potter Day. “It’s the train concept, just a different name,” Stanley said.