Imagine navigating Texas before trains and automobiles when travel consisted of the horse, wagon, and your least-stubborn mule, and when the few roads that were available often became impassable at the slightest drop of rain. This describes Texas travel conditions just a little more than 150 years ago. A 35-mile trip by horse and carriage, particularly after a few rainy days, might have taken you over a day and a half to complete. But the same trip by railcar, an option already available in some states at the time, took only an hour and forty minutes. We needed the rail system as badly as the rest of the nation needed the resources we had to offer and, indeed, the development of the state's railroad system and the rise of our economic progress matured interdependently, producing mutual benefits along the way. Today, dozens of railroad museums throughout the state illustrate the fascinating and entertaining stories derived from our railroad legacy. Next time you have the opportunity you might want to check one out. Bring your fun-loving uncle along; you know-the one with the working model train set occupying what was supposed to be your aunt's formal dining room. Just remember, according to your uncle you don't necessarily have to be a train buff to appreciate a good-looking caboose.