I Dream of Galveston: Galveston Ferry & Railroad Museum

Following are more of our favorite Galveston attractions…

Galveston Island Ferry

Aboard the Galveston Island Ferry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive aboard or park and walk onto the free ferry between Galveston and Port Bolivar. Ferry service has been a part of the Texas transportation system since the 19th century when the skiff, The Tarpon, began operating from Galveston Island.

The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry is the bridge between two segments of State Highway 87. South of I-10, State Highway 87 is the only highway around Galveston Bay. The free ferry service provided by TxDOT is the only way motorists can cross the waterway between Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island.

Throughout the year, more than 8 million people use the TxDOT ferry system.

This 2.7 mile ride (approximately 18 minutes) to Port Bolivar provides an excellent view of Galveston’s harbor, Seawolf Park, SS Selma, and opportunity to feed the flocks of gulls which usually sail with the ferries.

The ferries run 24 hours and follow regular, seasonal schedules.

Information: (409)795-2230

Location: Galveston Ferry Landing

Website: dot.state.tx.us

Aboard Galveston Island Ferry looking across to Seawolf Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Galveston Railroad Museum

Located in the former Santa Fe Union Station, at the end of Strand on 25th Street, the Galveston Railroad Museum depicts the city’s rail heritage.

One of the five largest in the country, the Railroad Museum features more than 20,000 railroad items, including three steam engines, three diesel engines, 15 passenger/business/ex­press cars, 14 freight cars, three cabooses, and the stream­lined Texas Limited passenger train. Three baggage cars and a coach have been remodeled, and now house pro­tected exhibits of railroad artifacts and photographs. Ex­hibits of railroad china are also on display.

When renovations were complete in 1982, the Museum opened its doors to visitors. Since then, well over a million visitors have toured the Museum.

The state’s first steam locomotive, the “General Sherman,” arrived at the Port of Galveston in 1853. Railroads became the lifeblood of Texas commerce, with an ever-expanding network of rail arteries serving to link major areas. As the largest, most cosmopolitan city in the southwest, Galveston in the late 1800s was the heart, pumping cotton, sugar, and other goods onto and off of rail cars at its thriving port.

During its railroading history Galveston Island has been headquarters of and/or served by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe, the Galveston, Houston and Henderson, the Gulf and Interstate, the M-K-T, the Texas and Pacific, the Burlington-Rock Island, Missouri Pacific, and the Southern Pacific.

This Galveston Island Railroad Museum poster depicts a very small sampling of the extraordinary collection of restored engines, cars, and railroad memorabila showcased here. (Credit: galvestonimagespastandpresent.com)

Even today railroads play a part in Galveston life. The port is served by the Union Pacific and its subsidiary the Southern Pacific, and by the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroads. These lines carry grain, sugar, sulfur, and other commodities daily.

Admission: $6; seniors $5

Location: 123 25th Street

Information: (409)765-5700

Website: galvestonrrmuseum.com

Note: After being closed for renovations, Galveston Railroad Museum is now open

Please Note: This is the second in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

Find what brings you joy and go there.

Worth Pondering…
I still see her standing by the water
Standing there lookin’ out to sea
And is she waiting there for me?
On the beach where we used to run.
—Glen Campbell

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