October 27, 2015
There’s a new way to spread the Texas Tech University spirit in Texas.
Texas Tech was asked to design a university-themed locomotive owned by Watco Companies. The Office of Communications and Marketing provided the themed design, which includes a red and black painted train, a Double T graphic on the front and the Masked Rider and Texas Tech University logos on the sides.
Dusty Young graduated with his bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 2007 from Texas Tech and was the driving force behind having the train designed.
“When Watco took over our railroad in mid-July I knew they had a few locomotives in the fleet painted in schemes of the local universities, so I asked the corporate folks when they were checking it out if they could paint a locomotive red and black,” Young said. “It was kind of a joke to begin with. They were planning to paint the locomotives anyhow. I had no idea they would do what they did.”
After the suggestion Young said he hadn’t heard anything else about the design until he received a mock-up of it about a month ago and saw they were adding the Masked Rider and the Texas Tech logos instead of just painting it red and black like he thought.
Young also will be the pilot engineer on what he called the locomotive’s maiden voyage, something in which he asked to participate.
“I’m still a certified engineer,” he said. “I’m going to be proud to be the pilot engineer. When I got my degree, when I went to Texas Tech, I was proud. It’s unusual to have a locomotive look like this.”
The design process started in July and painting started Oct. 12. By Thursday (Oct. 22) the decals were added and the train was ready for service. (For a route map, see below.)
“There are very few locomotives done in school themes, and our company thought it would be a great way to let the community know how much we support them,” said Tracie VanBecelaere, communications director at Watco. “Texas Tech is a big part of the area that our short line, LBWR, serves and this is a fun way to get involved.”
Watco Companies, LLC, has done similar projects with other schools including Alabama, Wichita State, Pittsburg State and Boise State. Watco Companies is located in Pittsburg, Kansas and provides mechanical, transportation, terminal and port services in North America and Australia. The company owns Watco Transportation Services, LLC, a short line railroad holding company with 34 short line railroads and more than 4,700 miles of track. For more information about the company, visit its website.