WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Actor Michael Gross, known for his roles as Michael Keaton on the 80s sitcom “Family Ties” and as Burt Gummer in the “Tremors” comedy horror/sci-fi franchise, is helping lead the effort to restore a historic train in Wichita.
The historic Santa Fe Railway diesel-electric locomotive No. 93 is one of several trains currently at the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita’s Old Town.
The engine, built in 1967, hauled passengers until 1971 and freight for the Santa Fe and BNSF railroad until 1998.
The engine was donated to the museum in 1999. The museum now wants to raise $193,000 to cosmetically restore it.
“We recently met with a representative of Mid-America Car of Kansas City, Mo., which resulted in an estimate to professionally complete a top-quality cosmetic restoration. We were encouraged by the results of that meeting,” says GPTM President John Deck in a news release.
The $193,000 will cover the costs of getting the engine to Kansas City, where it will undergo the restoration work, as well as the construction of visitor access staircases once the train returns to Wichita. Watco’s K&O Railroad is donating a mechanical inspection of the train to identify any work it may require to safely travel to Kansas City and back to Wichita.
“I am delighted to be involved with the restoration of such an iconic Santa Fe locomotive,” says Michael Gross, who is serving as the face and voice in fundraising efforts. “My paternal grandfather, Chester Gross, worked at Santa Fe’s Fort Madison, Iowa, car and locomotive shops his entire career. Many children grew up running Lionel trains adorned with Santa Fe’s familiar red and silver livery circling Christmas trees in the 1950s and 1960s. Hence, my interest in this project to restore locomotive 93 to its proud Santa Fe heritage is very high and personal.”
Gross is an avid railroad enthusiast. He has a large collection of railroad memorabilia and is part owner of the Santa Fe Southern Railway in New Mexico, which was originally part of the Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Line.
The Great Plains Transportation Museum hopes to raise the full $193,000 by mid-2024. For more information or to help support restoration efforts, click here.
The museum is located at 700 W. Douglas Ave., across from Union Station in Old Town. For museum hours and information, visit their website.