The Railway Museum of San Angelo had two of its train cars damaged over the weekend in separate incidents.
On Saturday, July 30, museum staff discovered a shattered window on the door of their historical Santa Fe Railroad caboose.
The damage appeared to be intentional and possibly an attempt to break and enter, the museum stated in a press release.
“Being in the public spotlight produces positive attention for visitor engagement, however sometimes it can also attract attention from unfavorable guests such as vandals,” the release stated.
“This is not the first time the museum has repaired damages to this caboose, and it isn’t the only type of harm it has received.”
Two days later, on the morning of Monday, Aug. 1, the president of the museum’s board of directors, Suzanna Valenzuela, received a call stating the mini caboose located at the corner of Chadbourne Street and Hardeman Pass had been knocked over and badly damaged .
“When Valenzuela arrived at the scene, she was shocked to see the amount of destruction caused to not only the mini caboose signage but presumably to the culprit’s vehicle,” the release stated.
It is believed someone drove off Chadbourne Street and struck a tree and the caboose, severely damaging the caboose and dragging it about 15 feet away from its original location, the release stated.
Tire marks, pieces of the vehicle’s bumper, and a significant amount of spilled oil were found at the scene, according to the release.
“These two unexpected disasters taking place in the same weekend have put the Railway Museum of San Angelo in an adverse financial position,” the release stated.
Valenzuela said they are working with a local glass company for quotes and timeline on repairs for the window. The mini caboose will also be assessed to see if it can be salvaged.
The museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary from Sept. 8-11.
The Railway Museum is owned by the City of San Angelo, but the museum is maintained by the nonprofit Railway Museum board. Memberships, sponsorships, donations and admissions keep the museum running.
“For example, this year the board worked hard to get a grant to replace the HVAC system, at a $70,000 expense,” Valenzuela said. “We’re trying to find out if the driver who hit the caboose has insurance. We are reevaluating and upgrading the security system now to make sure it covers our outdoor displays.”
If you would like to help the museum with repairs, call 325-340-3363 or email email@example.com.