Austin Steam Train Association Records
An Inventory of the Collection
The locomotive, Southern Pacific No. 786, had been donated to the City of Austin in 1956 as the Southern Pacific was retiring its steam fleet in favor of diesel power, and she was put on static display in downtown Austin’s Brush Square. Twenty years later, the Southern Pacific ended its operations in the Austin area and sold the City 167 miles of its track from Giddings through Austin and into the Hill Country to Burnet, Llano and Marble Falls.
A number of local rail aficionados, led by businessman and private-railcar enthusiast Arthur U. Boone, saw the possibilities of bringing together the city’s steam engine and the city’s new railroad into an authentic re-creation of historic passenger railroading in Central Texas, and they incorporated in 1989 as the non-profit Austin Steam Train Association (ASTA). Throughout ASTA’s history, the operating crews of all its trains have always been volunteers.
The Southern Pacific No. 786, a Mikado-type engine built in 1916, was restored to operating condition in a privately financed two-year effort, period passenger cars were acquired, and ASTA’s first Hill Country Flyer made its run on July 25, 1992, the first passenger train between Cedar Park and Burnet in 55 years. A year later, ASTA moved into its 16-acre rail yard in Cedar Park, donated by Texas Commerce Bank and developed with a grant from the State of Texas.
After seven years and 60,000 miles of service, the 786 was sidelined in 1999 for a repair which turned into a complete overhaul of the locomotive, which is nearing completion but still under way. Passenger operations went on uninterrupted with diesel-electric locomotives, first borrowed from ASTA’s freight-hauling partners on the line and then with the acquisition of the A&TC’s own diesel, the 1960 Alco-built No. 442, which has reliably powered almost all of ASTA’s trains ever since.
SOURCE: adapted from ASTA website http://www.austinsteamtrain.org/about.php
ACCESSED: 2010 November 7
The Austin Steam Train Association (ASTA) collection contains materials dating from the planning stages of the organization in 1988 to 2000. The Administrative Files series (1988-2000) includes the preliminary plan for the organization, original bylaws and articles of incorporation, correspondence, internal memoranda, meeting minutes, annual and equipment reports, membership materials and volunteer information. The meeting minutes files were originally housed in three-ring binders arranged by date and contain copies of financial documents, reports, drafts and other types of administrative documents that were discussed at the meetings. The Locomotive 786 series (1988-1991) contains background information about the engine, the lease agreement between the ASTA and the City of Austin, details about the move from Fourth and Trinity and photographs of the restoration process. The Marketing series (1991-2000) consists of programs and flyers for events sponsored by ASTA and include photographs and planning materials relating to the inaugural ceremonies for Locomotive 786 held in downtown Austin in December of 1991. The Printed Materials series (1988-2000) includes The Call Board, the newsletter of the ASTA; The Whistle Post: For Volunteers of the Austin & Texas R.R newsletter; newspaper clippings about the ASTA; and booklets and pamphlets published by ASTA.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Donated by a member of the Board of Directors of the ASTA.
Austin Steam Train Association Records (AR.2000.022). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1986/072
Donation Date: 2000
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2010.
Detailed Description of the Collection