The historic 1856 Texas locomotive was removed from the Cyclorama building in Grant Park on Monday and will get a full restoration before moving to its new home at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.

The 50,000 pound locomotive is being transported to the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina for a $500,000 restoration process. Getting the Texas out of the Cyclorama’s lower level meant knocking a temporary hole in the wall and building an 18 foot deep trench. A crane then lowered the locomotive onto a trailer for transportation to North Carolina.

The Birmingham-based Steam Operations Corporation, nationally recognized experts in restoration of steam locomotives and other historic rail equipment, will conduct the first major restoration ever of the 159-year-old Texas.

The public will be able to witness the extensive process at the Spencer Shops, an historic rail facility that is now part of the 57-acre N.C. Transportation Museum. Spencer Shops was once Southern Railway’s largest steam locomotive repair facility and remains equipped to handle the largest of restoration jobs.

Famed for its role along with the locomotive General in the Civil War’s Great Locomotive Chase in 1862, the Texas is expected to return to the Atlanta History Center in late 2016. It will be permanently featured in a custom-built glass-walled enclosure that will put the prized artifact of Atlanta’s rich railroading past on prominent display, where it will be illuminated at night and clearly visible from West Paces Ferry Road at all hours. The glass enclosure housing the Texas will connect the Atlanta History Museum to the new Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama Building, which will house The Battle of Atlanta painting, which will open in late 2017.

The historic Texas locomotive is removed from the Cyclorama building in Grant Park. (Photo courtesy Atlanta History Center)

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.