"From Ox-Teams to Eagles: A History of the Texas & Pacific Railway" (Texas & Pacific Railway Public Relations Department, ca. 1946)  
  Source: Texas & Pacific Railway. From Ox-Teams to Eagles; A History of the Texas and Pacific Railway. Dallas: Texas & Pacific Railway, 1946.  
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Chapter One: Dreams Of Empire
Chapter Two: Railroading In The Rough
Chapter Three: Growing Pains
Chapter Four: Between Two Wars
Chapter Five: Challenge Of The Future


Hardly a day passes that we do not receive one or more requests for historical information about the Texas and Pacific Railway. These requests come from authors, scholars, students, various organizations, railroad fans, and many others.

This interest is understandable because the history of the Texas and Pacific Railway is not only colorful, but it symbolizes the wisdom and the constructive force of the principles of the free enterprise system upon which the railroad and the great section it serves is founded.

This year the Texas and Pacific Railway celebrates its Diamond Anniversary... seventy-five years of service to the great states of Louisiana and Texas. It is hoped that the many people who have expressed a desire for such a history will find this treatment of the subject both informative and enjoyable.

To our many friends who have so generously contributed pictures, old newspaper articles, selections from other publications and personal information, we extend our most sincere thanks.

Director of Public Relations

  "Monuments and mausoleums, bronze and brass, may fitly commemorate the deeds of dead heroes, so styled by the world, amid the glare and glitter, the flush and flurry of the battlefield. But the long lines of this road, stretching across this united continent, bearing the trains heavily freighted with the rich returns of honest toil, will ever be the most appropriate monument to the wisdom and skill of the builders and present managers, while perennially the flower decked prairie will add its fragrance to and forever embalm the memory of Thomas A. Scott, the projector of the Texas and Pacific Railway." ... Alexander Hogg, in address in 1906 on The Railroad in Education.
  Chapter One: DREAMS OF EMPIRE  

Swanson's Landing on Caddo Lake was astir with excitement. Crowded into the tiny lake port that day late in January of 1858 were all the settlers from miles around. By ox cart, horseback, boat and on foot, these hardy pioneers of East Texas had gathered to give the first train of an ambitious little railroad a rousing send-off. Twenty-three miles of track through the pine forest connected Swanson's Landing with Marshall, Texas.

One stipulation of the charter under which the railroad was organized was that service over the line had to begin by February 1, 1858. During the latter part of 1857 the roadbed and track-laying had been completed. But with the deadline only a few days away, the river boat bringing the locomotive still had not arrived. Gloom hung heavy over the offices of the railroad until one of the officials discovered something in the charter that solved their immediate problem. The charter, while being very specific about the date service had to begin, did not stipulate the type of motive power to be used. This left the way open for one of the most unique freight trains ever to roll over American railroad tracks. Amid shouts of encouragement and best wishes, and a liberal portion of good-natured joking, the engineer of the first train hitched three yoke of oxen to the two box cars and one flat standing on the tracks. He cracked his great bull whip over the heads of the lumbering oxen and the historical journey was under way. On level ground and up the grades the oxen pulled the three cars. But when the top of a grade was reached the oxen were unhitched, loaded on the flat car, and then oxen and cars sped down the incline with only gravity and simple hand brakes to control the speeding "train."

Difficulties and disappointments were the rule rather than the exception during the early days of railroad building in Texas. But despite the almost insurmountable obstacles there were men of vision in Texas who saw the great possibilities of a vast empire rising out of the seemingly endless stretches of virgin land to the West.


Long before the discovery of gold in California there had been proposals for a railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific. By 1840 it had become so generally discussed and so favored that a dispute arose as to who was entitled to the honor of having first recommended it. The subject attracted interest and discussion all over the country, but it was not until the discovery of gold in California in 1848 and the admission of California into the Union in 1850, that Texans became actively interested and organized companies to construct a railroad with the Pacific Coast as the ultimate goal.

Since 1845 the National Congress had been considering potential routes for a transcontinental railroad to the Pacific Coast, and in 1853 had ordered surveys to determine which was the most practical. On February 22, 1855, Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, reported to Congress that the route along the 32nd parallel of latitude appeared to be the most logical. It was discovered, however, that the proposed route was partly over Mexican territory. In order to secure the desired land, President Pierce sent General James Gadsden to Mexico City. The outcome of these negotiations is known as the Gadsden Purchase, and by it the United States acquired what is now the southern parts of New Mexico and Arizona. An area of 29,670 miles, it cost the United States $10,000,000, and included the Messila Valley and the pass of the Rio Grande River, two openings through the mountains through which the proposed railroad would pass.

During the years 1852 to 1856, the State of Texas granted nearly seventy-five charters for railroads. Up to the outbreak of the Civil War, however, only three had plans and reasonable hopes of building entirely across the state so as to link with other projects beyond the borders.

One of the three was The Texas Western Railroad Company, chartered February 16, 1852. The charter was for a railroad to begin at a point on the eastern boundary of the state and to extend westward along the 32nd parallel to El Paso. Provisions were made for branch lines. Construction was to begin within five years from the date of the charter, and twenty miles of track were to be completed within six years.


Between 1852 and 1856, however, the Texas Western became involved in financial and legal difficulties and no construction was started. On August 16, 1856, the Texas Legislature renewed the charter, but changed the name of the company to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. (This company had no connection then or later with the present Southern Pacific Company.) The new company was required to complete ten miles of track by February 1, 1857. This was later extended one year, but it was required to complete twenty miles by that time. It was this last charter requirement that prompted the railroad to send its first train from Swanson's Landing to Marshall drawn by three yoke of oxen.

From this rather humble beginning the young railroad slowly made progress. On September 11, 1862, the line of the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas Railway Company between Waskom and Shreveport was leased, thus extending the line from Shreveport to Marshall, a distance of approximately forty-three miles. Travel along this line was not always regular or on schedule, but a trip from Marshall to Shreveport was likely to be an exciting one. One of the early engines of the road was known far and wide as the "Bull of the Woods" because of its habit of boldly leaving the rails and charging headlong into the pine forest, felling trees left and right, much in the manner of a wild bull rampaging through the brush. Another engine, the "Ben Johnson," named for a prominent Shreveport banker, was a familiar sight in those early days. Chugging along the bumpy rails, its huge funnel-shaped smoke stack belching forth clouds of wood smoke, the faithful old "Ben Johnson" brought many of Texas' early settlers and famous visitors into the state.

During the Civil War General Magruder had the track taken up between Marshall and Swanson's Landing and relaid between Marshall and Waskom to carry troops and supplies to the Confederate forces. Drained of resources and man power by the war, the road was sold under foreclosure in 1869 to the Hall Syndicate of Louisville, Kentucky.


Rejuvenated by Hall capital the company revived operations and undertook extension to the West. In 1870, the line was extended twenty miles westward and the town of Hallsville founded. This new little town soon became the scene of bustling activity. General offices and shops of the railroad were located there. In these shops, among the

earliest in Texas, the company built five locomotives, fifty freight cars and several passenger coaches. Practically free of debt and with a net profit of $160,000 for the year 1870, the Southern Pacific, one of the two railroads from which the Texas and Pacific traces its descent, confidently faced the future with hopes high and faith unshaken.

The other predecessor of the Texas and Pacific—The Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad Company—was chartered February 7, 1853, but organization of the company was not effected until May 9, 1856. With George Wright as the first President, and with headquarters in Paris, Texas, the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific had ambitious plans for opening northeast Texas to railroad service. It was to begin on the Red River near White Oak Shoals, extend up the Red River to the headwaters of the Trinity River, cross the Brazos River near Fort Belknap and thence to the Rio Grande near El Paso. It was given the right to connect with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in the vicinity of Dallas, and to work out an arrangement of joint construction or operation beyond that point to El Paso.

By 1861, fifty-seven miles had been graded, but rail had been laid on only five miles when the Civil War stopped the work. After the war the company was reorganized and efforts made to resume the construction, but before work could get under way, the Texas Legislature, under the control of the Reconstruction Government, declared the railroad's charter void. Rather than resort to the courts or appeal to the Legislature, it was decided to seek a new charter to take the place of that of the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific. The new charter would contain authority to purchase the rights, privileges and property of the M. E. & P. This action was inspired by the assurance of strong financial support of a company so chartered. In July, 1870, application for such a charter was made under the name of the Southern Transcontinental Railroad Company. The charter was granted and approved on July 27 of that year, and in New York on October 31, 1870, a company was organized to operate the line. Many of the stockholders and some of the directors of the Southern Transcontinental were to play an important part in the organization of a new railroad company destined to fulfill the dream of a transcontinental railroad through the great Southwest.


Nearly twenty years after the U. S. Army engineers surveyed the southern transcontinental route, railway service over this favored way was still unrealized. The companies formed for the purpose of building this road all failed in their attempts. But the completion and successful operation of the Union Pacific had shown that a transcontinental line could be built. On March 3, 1871, the Congress of the United States, by a special act, granted a charter for a transcontinental railroad to a group of men who were determined to succeed where others had failed. The name of the new company was the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company. A year later the name was changed to the Texas and Pacific Railway Company.

An unusual and significant clause in the Texas and Pacific charter illustrates the interest of the United States Government in the enterprise. This clause reads as follows: "The railroad is declared to be a military and post road; and for the purpose of insuring the carrying of the mails, troops, munitions of war, supplies and stores of the United States, no act of the company, nor any law of any state or territory shall impede, delay, or prevent the company from performing its obligations to the United States in that regard." The increasing need for rail transportation by the year 'round open southern route to the Pacific Coast prompted this clause in the Texas and Pacific charter.

Bold, purposeful men joined forces in the Texas and Pacific Railway Company. After 20,000 shares of stock were subscribed by its incorporators on April 15, 1871, stockholders met and elected Marshall O. Roberts, President; Henry G. Stebbins, Vice President; Edwards Pierrepont, Treasurer; E. B. Hart, Secretary; and the following directors: George W. Cass, John W. Forney, John S. Harris, Henry S. McComb, John McManus, H. D. McComb, George W. Quintard, E. W. Rice, Thomas A. Scott, Moses Taylor, J. W. Throckmorton, Samuel Tilden, W. R. Travers, and W. T. Walters. Many of these men, and many of the other stockholders had invested heavily in the earlier attempts to establish a railroad along the 32nd parallel.


The months which followed were months of intense activity. Thomas A. Scott was elected President on February 16, 1872, upon the resignation of Marshall O. Roberts. One month later, March 21, Texas and Pacific acquired the Southern Pacific Railway Company, and assumed operation of that company's service between Longview and Shreveport. This was the initial rolling stock of the present Texas and Pacific.

General Grenville M. Dodge was lured from Union Pacific, to become Chief Engineer of the new enterprise. Knowing the hardships ahead, General Dodge was not easily persuaded and would not accept the position until Texas and Pacific raised its salary offer to $20,000 per year. General Dodge's knowledge of the West, and his foresight into its potential development, has been proven by the years.

The financial structure of the road was materially strengthened by provisions of a supplementary Act of Congress on May 2, 1872. The charter of the preceding year had limited the issuance of construction bonds to $30,000 per mile, an amount inadequate for construction. By the new Act, the limit was increased to $40,000 per mile. By its terms, the company was to have at least one hundred consecutive miles complete and in running order within two years, and to construct at least one hundred miles per year thereafter, with the entire line to the Pacific Coast in operation within ten years. Construction was to start eastward from San Diego within one year, with not less than ten miles to be complete within two years, and not less than twenty-five per year thereafter was to be built in a continuous line east from San Diego.

The men of Texas and Pacific hastened with their task. Five new locomotives of the American type (4-4-0) were ordered from the Baldwin Locomotive Works to be delivered before the end of 1872. They made an exceedingly handsome appearance . . . each locomotive's iron boiler was topped by two large domes, and a proud funnel-shaped stack for wood-burning operation. They were resplendent with bright scarlet paint, striped with gold, and with Texas and Pacific lettered across the tender.


General Grenville Dodge divided the projected line into five divisions and organized surveying parties, placing Captain R. S. Hayes in charge of the division east of Fort Worth; Hodges, Wilson, and O'Neill, in charge of the Brazos division; E. D. Muhlenburg, and later Major M. F. Hurd, the Pecos division; George Wolcott, the New Mexico division; and J. A. Evans, the California division.

For the purpose of building the proposed lines, the California and Texas Construction Company was formed August 6, 1872. Texas and Pacific stockholders assigned their stock and securities to the construction company, placing the operation of the railroad, as completed, in its hands until the entire road should be completed to the Pacific. Construction company stock was exchanged, dollar for dollar, for Texas and Pacific stock. Texas and Pacific's officers and directors retained only the necessary stocks qualifying them for office.

Texas and Pacific officials hurried their vast program of building. Colonel Scott threw himself into the job of raising $5,000,000 to meet construction costs. Like an evangelist, he traveled the nation, compelling interest in the railroad by his vivid picture of the undeveloped wealth of Texas. He proved his points by citing Professor A. R. Rossier's mineral surveys of the region. "Petroleum springs occur over a space of about fifty square miles in Hardin County, and it is probable that larger supplies may be obtained by boring. ... The iron deposits of Northeastern Texas are of the most remarkable character, equaling in extent and richness those of Sweden, Missouri, New Jersey, and New York." One of Colonel Scott's favorite descriptions was, "Gold, silver, and copper exist in inexhaustible quantities in West Texas, and on to the Pacific." He stressed the recommendations of the Army engineers, and the natural advantages of the southern transcontinental route. The manufacturing, agricultural, and ranching opportunities of Texas profoundly impressed him and he transmitted this enthusiasm to his audiences.


While Colonel Scott was raising the money, General Dodge pushed the survey work on the three portions of line to be completed first: Longview to Dallas, Marshall to Texarkana, Sherman to Brookston (immediately west of Paris, Texas).

The Texas of 1872 was a wild frontier, except for the more settled sections along the southern, eastern, and northeastern portions of the state. William Patrick Doty, one of the surveyors of John O'Neill's engineers who ran the preliminary survey lines for Texas and Pacific during the latter part of 1872 and through most of 1873, described their experiences colorfully. Working westward from Longview, reviewing and revising the survey already run as far west as Dallas, the party found but one store on the route—a country store at Big Sandy. Dallas was a struggling village of a few hundred people—Fort Worth consisted of a fringe of buildings around the public square. Reaching Weatherford on Christmas, 1872, the men were joined by a guard of thirty U. S. soldiers. In the hills of Palo Pinto County, deer and wild turkey were seen by the hundreds —all through this country they passed the vacant shanties of people who had been killed by Indians—beyond Fort Griffin, antelope and buffialo were countless—farther west on the prairies, as far as the eye could see, buffalo ranged like cattle under loose herd. Every night when the party pitched camp, the horses were tied in the center of a ring formed by the tents and wagons. On two different moonlit nights the horses were restless, snorting and trying to break their ties. The party was alerted for Indian attack, but the Indians apparently respected the fighting strength of the survey gang.

Construction work was actually begun from Longview west in October, 1872. The problem of transporting materials to the construction sites was a serious and costly one. Water in the Red River was at a low stage, and for several months it was necessary to haul supplies and materials by oxen and teams from the termini of the North Louisiana and Texas Railroad and from the International Railroad. By January, 1873, 3,000 teams and 5,000 men were at work. Feed stuffs for the animals were scarce and the price of hay climbed to $90 per ton—corn to $3.00 per bushel. By May of that year, nearly four hundred miles had been graded, and bridging operations were well in advance of the tracklayers. The greater portion of the ties needed had been distributed along the line. Rails and fastenings for three hundred miles had been purchased, and were being delivered at New Orleans, Galveston, St. Louis, and other points, and being forwarded as rapidly as required for the construction job.


On June 12, 1873 Texas and Pacific formally acquired the Memphis, El Paso, and Pacific Railroad and its valuable right of ways necessary for the building of the line from Marshall to Texarkana and from Texarkana westward. Authority to purchase had been granted October, 1872. Its gradings were washed out, and all of the work had to be redone.

An epidemic of yellow fever during the summer of 1873 halted work on nearly all sections of the Texas and Pacific roads. For several months all work was at a standstill. Deterioration of the roadbed during this period necessitated heavy expenditures to place it in good condition again.

Colonel Scott redoubled his efforts to keep money coming in to meet the mounting costs of construction. He pounded home his sales point that the completed line would shorten the distance between the Gulf port of New Orleans to the Pacific to only 1,800 miles, and that with accessible ports in Texas, the distance would be less than 1,500 miles. He stressed the fact that the mountain ranges to be crossed were 32% less than on existing transcontinental railroads. It was expedient to open every financial channel. Henry G. Stebbins was sent to Europe early in 1873 to interest European investors in the railroad. Expense Voucher Number 1, authorized payment to Stebbins in the amount of $5,047.30. The voucher cryptically states, "For travelling expenses (including trip to Europe), Telegrams, etc." The printed text of the voucher form reads, "I certify that the above account is correct, that the expenditures therein specified were duly authorized, and have been made for the use and benefit of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company." E. B. Hart, Secretary of the company, altered the form to read, "I certify that the expenditures therein specified were duly authorized." Apparently he felt that Stebbins had not detailed his expenses sufficiently for certification of the regular text.

Dallas was very nearly left off the Texas and Pacific line. She was definitely off until the Dallas County legislator in Austin introduced a guileless-appearing amendment to the line's charter which provided that the Texas and Pacific tracks should cross those of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad within one mile of Browder Springs. The amendment was promptly passed with no questions asked as to the location of Browder Springs. Tempers grew short when it was learned later that Browder Springs was quite near the business section of Dallas, and furnished the city's drinking water. Texas and Pacific inaugurated service between Dallas and Longview in August, 1873.


In a Texas and Pacific pamphlet issued August, 1873, Dallas is described in these words: "County seat of Dallas County, in the midst of one of the very finest agricultural sections in the State, and the point of intersection of two railroads, it is destined to become a place of considerable importance. Its original location in the timbered bottom of the West fork of the Trinity was made many years ago, but the location of the railroad depots on the hill on the edge of the prairie, one mile East of the Trinity, is rapidly extending the town in that direction. The two sections of the town are now connected by a horse railway. There is a splendid iron bridge over the Trinity, which cost sixty thousand dollars. The new court house, when completed, will be by far the finest in the State. The growth of Dallas has been unprecedented in the history of Texas towns. In January, 1872, its population did not exceed three thousand, and it is now estimated at eight thousand. (Note: it was exeremely hard to estimate population, particularly in the face of a boom condition.) Dallas has one daily and two weekly newspapers, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Christian churches, a public library, two or three boys' and girls' schools and a female academy. The great abundance of timber in the Trinity bottoms, convenient to Dallas, points it out as a future seat of a prosperous manufacturing center of furniture and wagons. These, even now, would be exceedingly profitable branches of business. There has been, as yet, no location of stations on the Texas and Pacific west of Dallas. The bridge (T & P) is being built, and several miles of very heavy earthwork have been completed west of that river."

Typical of the activity of Dallas of that time is the story that a party of out-of-town businessmen visited Dallas in early 1873, and watched a Texas and Pacific survey gang driving stakes near the business section. When they overheard the survey engineer remark, "Here's where I'd put the station, if I were doing it," the visitors speedily bought up fifty lots nearby and returned to their towns to get their stocks of merchandise.

As the work of building the road advanced, the California and Texas Construction Company gave its notes whenever the cash was not in hand. In order to fund these obligations, Colonel Scott made a trip to Europe in the last half of 1873. While there the Panic of 1873 hit and hit hard. He was unable to dispose of any of the Texas and Pacific bonds in European markets. Back in Texas, the work ground along, but financial difficulties mounted. On his return to America, Colonel Scott found the company faced with obligations amounting to approximately $4,500,000, due within the next ten or twelve months. Chaotic business conditions made attempts to raise money futile. Fortunately, however, most of the notes were held by banks and financial houses and Scott was able to arrange for extensions. On this basis work was pushed between Sherman and Brookston and between Marshall and Texarkana.


Texas and Pacific building between Sherman and Brookston was completed, and Sherman joyously welcomed its first train in December, 1873. Sherman had winked knowingly when the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific and later Texas and Pacific paid an old negro named Jerry Nolan to ride up and down the grading each day in a cart to protect the franchise. In Texas and Pacific's pamphlet of August, 1875, Sherman is described as, "County seat of Grayson County, the point of intersection of the Transcontinental Branch of the Texas and Pacific Railway with the Houston and Texas Central. The town is beautifully situated on a high rolling prairie in the midst of an unrivaled farming country. The town has rapidly improved since the completion of the Texas Central and Missouri, Kansas, and Texas, and now has a population of five or six thousand. It is the shipping point of an extensive district of productive country to the westward, and is beginning to have a considerable wholesale trade, especially in groceries, staple dry goods, and agricultural implements."

On December 29, 1873, Texas and Pacific's first train arrived in Texarkana, over tracks which came in by way of Nash. Some months earlier the Texarkana townsite had been surveyed by company engineers, and a sale of townlots had been held. Choice lots had brought exceptionally high prices. At the time of the arrival of Texas and Pacific's first train, the Cairo and Fulton Railroad (later absorbed by Missouri Pacific) was pushing its rails toward the opposite side of present-day State Line Street in Texarkana. On the night of December 31, 1873, the town held a huge Texas and Pacific celebration. Two months later, the completion of Cairo and Fulton's bridge over the Red River marked the establishment of continuous rail service from Dallas, Texas, to St. Louis, Missouri—a momentous date in the opening of the Southwest.

March 1, 1874, George Noble, nephew of Colonel Scott, was appointed General Superintendent of Texas and Pacific. For eight years preceding, he had been Superintendent of the eastern division of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and prior to that time had managed his uncle's mining interests in California and Arizona for several years. He was a man of wide railroad experience, having worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad from his boyhood until the time he was sent West to look after his uncle's mines.


Noble was faced with the problem of closing the gaps in service between Dallas and Fort Worth, between Brookston and Nash, and between Sherman and Fort Worth. Surveying was being done between Sherman and Fort Worth, and in the latter part of the year, work was in progress on the line connecting Dallas with Eagle Ford. The work of grading eastward from San Diego, California, was dropped completely.

Money was still tight, and there was little prospect that the construction company could continue, burdened as it was with debt. Accordingly, an agreement was reached to cancel the contract with that company, making an equitable settlement for the work done and the material furnished. A plan acceptable to the stockholders of the construction company and of the railway company was agreed upon and a formal adjustment contract was executed March 27, 1875. Under its terms the Texas and Pacific Railway Company further mortgaged its completed lines, and its anticipated earnings in order to secure the money to complete construction of its Sherman-Texarkana line and its Dallas-Fort Worth section. To carry out the arrangement, and to insure its success, Colonel Scott and certain members of the Board of Directors pledged their individual credit.

In early 1875, the western terminal of Texas and Pacific was extended to Eagle Ford. A boom in townlots followed and within a few months the population of the town had soared to 3,000. Huge herds of cattle were driven there for shipment, and for a time Eagle Ford was the greatest stock shipping point in West Texas. At this time, Texas and Pacific advertised that its service consisted of "fourteen commodious passenger cars, and that residents of Texas who want to visit their former homes in the old states will find T. & P. the quickest, most desirable route."

Eagle Ford did not enjoy its distinction long. Businessmen of Fort Worth rallied, and secured the services of farmers and ranchers in the area to do the grading and to furnish the ties for an extension of the Texas and Pacific lines to their city. Colonel Scott secured enough rail for the project and during the early months of 1876, track-laying was under way.


"Yesterday morning at 23 minutes past 11:00, Engine No. 20 of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, Kelly, engineer, and Beale, conductor, uttered its shrill scream within the corporate limits, arousing the "panter" from his lair, startling the birds from their nests in affright, and carrying joy to many anxious hearts who have waited long and patiently for the sounds that then for the first time reverberated through the hills and valleys around the beautiful city of Fort Worth."

So wrote the editor of the Fort Worth Daily Democrat in his July 20 issue of 1876.

Yes, July 19, 1876, was a day long to be remembered by the citizens of the struggling little city. Excitement had been running at fever pitch for several days as the end of the railroad neared the city limits. Bets were given and taken on whether the line would reach the city by the deadline. Laborers working on the railroad had an eager and interested audience each day as people from the city went out to watch the progress of the work. On Sunday afternoon, nearly all the town's inhabitants, in carriage, cart, and on horseback, would go out to the line to watch the workers as they rushed the road to completion.

Early in the morning of July 19th, under a brilliant Texas sky, the crowd began to gather. Dressed in their Sunday best, with picnic baskets filled to overflowing with hams, chicken, salads, pickles, and wine, the excited pioneers were on hand to give the first train a rousing, West Texas welcome. The Fort Worth Cornet band, twelve pieces strong, was there to provide appropriate music. Shortly after eleven a.m. a great shout went up from the expectant throng, for down the hastily laid, unballasted track they saw No. 20 approaching at a cautious speed. Engineer Kelly, a big, red-faced Irishman, was taking no chances for at places the joints between the rails were an inch to an inch and a half wide. Across the thrown-up bridge over Sycamore Creek, Engineer Kelly, his heart in his throat, eased his engine and cars. As the train crossed the city boundary line the crowd went wild. The shouts and cries of welcome, all but drowning out the best efforts of the perspiring musicians, mingled with pistol and rifle shots and the snorting of frightened horses. From nearby roof tops late arrivals added their voices and fire arms to the already tumultuous din. After some semblance of order and quiet was restored, the city officials made speeches of welcome, and then declared a holiday, although the last announcement was hardly necessary. Fort Worth, that day, was in a celebrating mood, and the dawn of a new day was lighting the eastern sky before the less enthusiastic celebrants were able to get some much needed rest.


Another celebration was in the offing as the construction crews working on the gap between Brookston and Nash pushed their work to completion. On August 11, 1876, the final spike was driven and service from Texarkana to Sherman was inagurated. Sherman joyously hailed this event because it brought to North Texas through railroad transportation to St. Louis. Honey Grove, Bonham, Paris, Clarksville, and the in-between stations also enjoyed the benefits of the new service.

The Galveston Daily News of April 12, 1878 carried a story with a Dallas date line which began with the sentence: "Another train robbery occurred last night at Mesquite, thirteen miles east of Dallas." The reporter who filed the story in that one word, "another," revealed a distressing problem that harrassed the builders of railroads during those hectic days in the New West. Within a period of fifty days during the Spring of 1878, four train robberies occurred within a radius of twenty miles of Dallas. On the night of April 10, 1878, the Texas and Pacific was selected to be the next victim.

At ten o'clock at night there were few people about the little depot in Mesquite, for the train was no longer a novelty to the town people. As the ten p.m. train came to a stop, several masked men, brandishing wicked looking pistols, leaped out of the shadows and ordered the engineer and fireman out of the cab. By then pistol and rifle shots were ringing out all along the coaches. The conductor, Julius Alford, had opened fire on the bandits from the rear platform of one of the coaches, and one of the attackers was hit. A scant minute later, however, the plucky conductor received a rifle shot in his left arm and had to leave the affray. The bandits, of course, were after the mail and express. When the shooting started and it became obvious that they were outnumbered, the messenger and guard in the combination mail and express car closed and locked the door. But the outlaws were not to be denied. They covered the car with coal oil and gave the imprisoned men fifteen minutes by the clock to open the door or else a torch would be put to the coal-oil soaked car. The messenger, whose name was Kerley, flatly refused to come to terms with the robbers. Making good their threat, when the fifteen minutes had passed and the door had not been opened, the car was set afire. Kerley and the guard realized further resistance was useless, so they opened the door and jumped to the ground, covered by the pistols and rifles of the desperados. The fire was extinguished quickly and the heavily-bearded, masked men proceeded to rifle the mail and express. Three registered letters were taken from the mail agent and $152.00 in cash taken from the express. The outlaws were unable to find several thousand dollars in cash which was hidden in the car. The twenty-five passengers on the train were not molested. Guards of a nearby convict train had attempted to break up the robbery, and in retaliation the bandits threatened to release the convicts, but did not do it. It was estimated that from ten to twenty men were in the band. They were all masked, but it was generally believed that it was Sam Bass and his gang. A few months later Sam Bass was "liquidated" by the Texas Rangers when he attempted to rob the bank at Round Rock, Texas.


No additional mileage was added to the line during 1877-1878-1879. The track and equipment of the road needed improving, and all available funds were used to finance the improvements. Throughout this period President Scott was endeavoring to arrange for the financing necessary to extend the railroad on West, but his efforts were essentially unsuccessful.

During December, 1879, Colonel Scott interested Jay Gould, Russell Sage, George Pullman, Charles F. Woerishoffer, and William T. Scott in the building of the road west of Fort Worth, and on January 20, 1880, Jay Gould and Russell Sage were elected directors of the Texas and Pacific.

Shortly thereafter, the Pacific Railway Improvement Company was organized to construct the road. For some reason, neither Jay Gould nor Colonel Scott were among the officers or directors of the construction company. The contract between the Texas and Pacific and the new company was an unusual one in that not only was the railroad to be built, but it was to be equipped and telegraph lines constructed, as well. The work was to be completed by January 1, 1882.

Under the brilliant leadership of General Grenville M. Dodge the shining steel rails of progress started westward from Fort Worth in the spring of 1880. General Dodge's understanding and appreciation of the task before him, and his farsighted, almost prophetic conception of the potentialities of the country are illustrated by the instructions given to his division engineers. These instructions, in part, read: "In giving instructions to the parties making the surveys west of Fort Worth, I lay down the following general rules to be observed: The party should be in charge of an engineer who can intelligently grasp the situation ... In building the Texas and Pacific we must have in view the commercial as well as the engineering qualities of the line. We want a road through Texas which the country, when settled, is capable of supporting by its local trade when built. The party, therefore, will note carefully the quality and capacity of the agricultural, grazing and mineral resources of each township and county. The party taking the field must be armed, and the chief must be a man of energy and one who will not run at the sight of an Indian."

General Dodge envisioned the hardships to be endured and the difficulties to be overcome. A man of courage, resourcefulness and perseverance, he sought to instill these qualities into the men of his construction gangs. As the railhead was pushed farther and farther westward from Fort Worth into the rich but sparsely settled lands of West Texas, the builders encountered difficulties that tested the mettle of the most hardy. Construction materials, supplies of all kinds and much of the food for the hard working crews had to be transported to the track-laying sites from the distant, more populated sections of East Texas. In addition, there was still the possibility of Indian raids, though these hazards to the settlement of the West had been almost completely eliminated.


Skirting the high plateau on which the city of Palo Pinto is located, the track-layers dropped southward into Eastland County, then straightened out again and stopped for a breathing spell at Baird. (This was in December, 1880.) It was at Baird that the railroad built Immigrants' Home, a large, two-story hotel, in which immigrants could stay while searching for the land they intended to settle.

Colonization of West Texas, the Plains, and the Panhandle received great impetus with the extension of the Texas and Pacific from Fort Worth westward. The railroad advertised nationally the advantages of the West, put on extremely low homeseekers and prospector fares. Ambitious spirits yearning for opportunity and riches jammed every train. The railroad issued thousands of copies of a 42-page "homeseekers" guide which lured tens of thousands to the West, many of whom stayed and today are represented in a new generation of prosperous citizens.

The vanguard of the road builders was just beyond the eastern horizon when a group of enterprising men met for dinner at the Hashknife Ranch on Cedar Creek, Taylor County, Texas. The topic of discussion over the dinner table was the location of a town in the vicinity that would serve as a cattle shipping center. A representative of the railroad favored a location near the present location of Tye, but J. D. Merchant and his brother, Colonel C. W. Merchant, proposed a site farther East. The gathering at the Hashknife Ranch broke up without anything definite being decided. The railroad representative assumed that his selection was final, however, and the site was advertised as such. The Tye location was rejected later, however, and the site selected by the Merchants was laid off in blocks for the town lot sale. The new town was named Abilene, after the town of the same name in Kansas. The railroad reached the town-to-be in early January, 1881. Although the town-lot sale was not to be held until March 15, there were over three hundred people living in the "biggest canvas town in Texas" by the end of February. Standing on a flimsy platform erected on the right-of-way at a point where Chestnut Street meets the railroad, the auctioneer raised his gavel and declared the sale open ... the morning of March 15th. The bidding was brisk. Abilene looked like a city with a future, and the bidders were anxious to get the most favorable locations. The first four lots sold for $355.00 each. One hundred thirty-nine lots were sold during the day for $23,610. By noon the next day, when the sale ended, one hundred seventy-eight lots had been sold, bringing $27,550. The confidence of those first investors was not misplaced for Abilene has become one of the outstanding cities of West Texas.


The day before the town lot sale in Abilene, officials of the Texas and Pacific arrived in Sweetwater to accept the line up to that point. Due to legal entanglements between the railroad and a French land company, the sale of lots in Sweetwater was considerably restricted during the years immediately following the arrival of the railroad. Water, the prime necessity of West Texas, was also a major problem. Sweetwater Creek was too far away to be of very great use and the well water was not drinkable. Thus, despite the arrival of the railroad, it was several years before Sweetwater could boast of the expansion and development characteristic of some of the earlier cities in the region.

During the late 1870's the cattlemen's frontier in Texas moved westward by seven-league strides. The Comanches, fierce guardians of the Plains for more than a century, had been driven to their reservation and forced to stay there. The lumbering, shaggy buffaloes were gone, felled by the huge rifles of the men who killed for hides. Rich, billowy grass covered every prairie, draw and valley. The Colorado, the Concho, the Clear Fork and the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos and their tributaries afforded water. Their brakes and adjacent bluffs gave shelter from the northers. Hackberry, mesquite, and scrub oak supplied poles for corrals and dugouts. It was truly a cattleman's paradise. All that was needed was a railroad. Early in 1880 a surveying team of the Texas and Pacific located a crossing of the Colorado River near the ranch headquarters of George Waddell. In anticipation of the coming of the railroad, merchants and traders erected their dugouts and opened for business. By the time the first train pulled into this new settlement, on April 16, 1881, there were two or three hundred inhabitants and a newspaper. The name on the new depot was Colorado. At the height of the boom, which followed the coming of the tracks, lots of twenty-five foot frontage on Oak Street, the principal business street of the town, sold for as high as $6,000 cash. During the next four years, Colorado came to rival Dodge City and Abilene, Kansas, as a cattle town. The drought of 188 5-1887 brought to a halt the lusty cattle business of

West Texas, but Colorado (now Colorado City) had earned and acquired the title of "The Cattlemen's Capital."

Weary and sick from the long years of struggle Thomas A. Scott, on April 12, 1881, sold his interest in the railroad to Jay Gould and Russell Sage for $3,500,000.


The construction army pushed the glistening steel southwestward from Colorado into Howard County. Clearing right-of-way, digging, blasting, grading, track-laying, building water stations, dams, and digging wells—rapid progress was made. As many as six miles of line were laid in a day—an almost unbelievable feat in those days of crude equipment, uncertain supply and natural hazards. The railroad engineers, ever on the alert to locate the line in keeping with General Dodge's instructions, selected Big Spring as a stop on the road. Around the spring a few families had settled, and there was a little store and a saloon to serve the scattered ranchers. The coming of the railroad on May 28, 1881, gave to Big Spring the spark it needed to grow and prosper.

At the same furious pace that characterized the construction west of Fort Worth, the line was sped through the vast reaches of plain and mountain southwest of Big Spring. On Sept. 12, 1881, service into Toyah was inaugurated. Ninety miles east of El Paso, not far from the sleepy Rio Grande, the construction crews of the Texas and Pacific met the eastward building crews of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad on Dec. 16, 1881. Fortunately for the safety of the lives and limbs of the rival crews, Jay Gould and Collis P. Huntington several weeks previously had reached an agreement which eased the tension under which both crews had been working.

The Huntington-Gould Agreement was the culmination of a contest between two of the giants of the railroad world. At that time Gould and his associates owned or controlled a majority interest in some six railroads, including the Texas and Pacific. Huntington and his associates owned or controlled a like number, among which were the Southern Pacific and the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio.

The latter line, building westward from San Antonio and eastward from El Paso, reached Sierra Blanca, 90 miles east of El Paso, on Nov. 25, 1881. Gould's forces were then 10 miles from Sierra Blanca. While this race had been going on, Gould and Huntington were fighting in the courts. The Texas and Pacific had surveyed and located its line all the way to the Pacific Coast. It claimed the Southern Pacific was building its line on this right-of-way, and brought suit in the Federal Court of New Mexico. The Southern Pacific brought suit against the Texas and Pacific in Arizona. Finally, in New York on Nov. 26, 1881, the two men signed an agreement which settled their difficulties. It was agreed that the Texas and Pacific should continue the construction of its road in Texas westward until it approached the track of the G. H. & S. A. then building eastward from El Paso; the two "should approach, meet, and form one continuous line to the Pacific Coast." The Texas and Pacific agreed to release, relinquish and convey to the S. P. all of its rights, title, and interest and estate in the railway construction of the S. P. in Arizona and New Mexico, which in suits then pending were claimed by the Texas and Pacific and denied by the S. P. The Texas and Pacific further agreed to deed to the S. P. its properties west of El Paso granted by the United States under the charter of March 3, 1871, and also to assist in every way to procure any congressional ratification necessary. Other arrangements regarding delivery of traffic, rates, and earnings were agreed upon. Thus, the agreement stopped the Texas and Pacific short of its original goal—the Pacific Coast—but Gould must have thought he would fare better with Huntington as a friendly connection than as an active competitor. Huntington must have felt that his line west of El Paso would profit more by working with Gould than against him.


Completion of the line to Sierra Blanca gave the Texas and Pacific nine hundred and ninety-four miles of track in Texas.

Thomas A. Scott and Jay Gould did not devote all their efforts to the building of the Texas and Pacific through Texas. As early as April, 1880, they began negotiations to complete the line from Shreveport to New Orleans.

On April 3, 1880, Scott and Gould made a proposal to E. B. Wheelock, President of the New Orleans Pacific Railway Company, to complete and equip the proposed line of the New Orleans Pacific from the Texas State line to New Orleans. The proposal was accepted, and the American Railway Improvement Company was organized to undertake the construction. Prior to that date the New Orleans Pacific had acquired the roadbed and franchise of the Red River Railroad Company between Alexandria and LeCompte. On January 5, 1881, the property rights and franchise of the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Vicksburg Railroad Company, between Atchafalaga River and Shreveport, were purchased by the New Orleans Pacific and in February, 1881, about 67 miles of road in operation, between Westwego and White Castle, was acquired from Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company.

Construction by the American Railway Improvement Company was under way when in June 20, 1881, the Texas and Pacific acquired all the franchises, corporate rights, track, roadbed, buildings, rolling stock, and other property of the New Orleans Pacific Railway Company.

The line was completed under the contract with the American Railway Improvement Company, and was opened for operation from Shreveport to Provencal, October 1, 1881, to Cheneyville, May 1, 1882, and through to New Orleans on September 12, 1882.

Thus by 1882, the ambitious plan of the Texas Western of 1852 of becoming a part of the transcontinental line was finally realized.

  Chapter Three: GROWING PAINS  

The years following the completion of the line to Sierra Blanca and New Orleans were trying ones for the company.

After extension of the road through the rich grazing lands of West Texas, the cattle business flourished as never before. New towns along the railroad grew almost over night into bustling shipping and trading centers. From the states of the East and South came throngs of settlers seeking homes and opportunities. From war-torn, oppression-ridden Europe came thousands of immigrants searching for and finding a freedom undreamed of in the Old World. Land that for ages past knew only the roving herds of buffalo and the wandering Indian tribes felt the bite of plow and hoe and shook under the thundering hooves of longhorn cattle. West Texas prospered and the Texas and Pacific prospered with it.

Then disaster struck. Drought! A scorching sun burned off the grass and dried up the rivers and watering holes. Gaunt cattle, wandering aimlessly over the barren earth in search of pasture and water, died where they fell. During the freezing winters that followed, thousands of weakened animals perished in the deep snow. Shipments of cattle out of portions of the area stopped altogether. From other sections only very small shipments were made. Since cattle were a major item of traffic out of West Texas, the railroad, along with the cattlemen, sustained heavy financial losses.

While Central and West Texas suffered from the terrible drought, East Texas and Louisiana were subjected to equally devastating floods.

Rivers and streams which ordinarily flowed calmly and peacefully to the Gulf became raging torrents of red muddy water. Flood conditions in Louisiana were especially bad in 1884-1885. The Mississippi and its many tributaries, swollen to flood level by the ceaseless rains, devastated vast sections of the state. The onslaught of rushing water made debris of everything in its path. Towns, villages, plantations, roads, bridges, railroads—all fell victim to the turbulent streams. Many miles of Texas and Pacific track were swept away or covered by the flood waters. Bridges were swept away as though they were of straw. The railroad in Southern Louisiana was described as "two streaks of rust, with the New Orleans Division usually under water." The long suspension of traffic, plus the cost of repairing and rebuilding the damaged track and roadbed was a heavy blow to the company's finances.


A general business depression throughout the Nation in 1884-1885 also contributed

to the financial difficulties of the railroad. Built through a sparsely-populated region, the railroad had to maintain a fairly brisk volume of traffic in order even to pay operating costs. The general business slump all over the country sharply reduced the amount of general freight and passenger traffic of the road.

Unable to meet its financial obligations, the line went into receivership on December 16, 1885. Lionel A. Shelden and John C. Brown were appointed as receivers.

During the course of the receivership over $5,000,000 was expended by the receivers in repairing, restoring, and improving the railroad property and providing new equipment. Sections of the track and roadbed in Louisiana which had been washed away or damaged badly by the flood waters were replaced. New and stronger bridges were constructed. Many miles of the road in West Texas which had been built in great haste during the race to El Paso were repaired and improved. New locomotives, freight cars, switch engines and passenger coaches increased the line's service.

The receivership was terminated effective May 1, 1888, but Governor John C. Brown was not discharged by the Court until October 31, 1888.

There still may be residents of Millsap, Texas, who have a warm recollection of a Texas and Pacific traveling auditor by the name of I. B. Eliot. During the temporary absence of the regular agent, Mr. Eliot took over the station at Millsap. Shortly after he arrived, a church in the town installed an organ. The organist was unexpectedly called away, and Mr. Eliot, an accomplished organist, volunteered his services. During the weeks that followed he played for all the church services, and in addition, gave frequent concerts. From miles around people came into Millsap to attend these rare treats of good music. Mr. Eliot enjoyed the concerts and the church music so much himself that he postponed his return to Marshall several times after the regular agent returned.

Beginning in 1889, and extending over a period of years, the company acquired a number of branch lines in Louisiana and Texas. During the latter part of 1898 the road built its own line between Shreveport and Waskom, and gave up the lease from the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas.


In addition to financing a substantial portion of the purchases of branch lines and the construction of others, the railroad made other additions and improvement during the period from 1888 to 1915. This comprehensive expansion program made such inroads on income that interest on outstanding bonds could not be paid for several years. At the close of 1915 the company owed over $3,000,000 in unpaid interest and past-due notes. After nearly a year of litigation in various State Courts, on October 27, 1916, John L. Lancaster, First Vice-President of the Texas and Pacific, and Pearl Wight, a New Orleans banker, were appointed receivers.

In this day of glass-smooth roadbeds, split-second schedules, air-conditioned coaches, and all the other wonders of modern railroading, it might be well to recall a few of the events and personalities of those days when the railroad was coming of age.

Between Marshall and Hallsville was a section of track crewmen dubbed "The Alps." The low hills over which the track was built put a heavy strain on the link and pin couplings, and sometimes the trains would break into sections when the strain became too great. Part of a train would go hurtling back down the track while the rest of the cars sped onward.

Before the line between Dallas and Longview was rebuilt, the uneven track of the unballasted roadbed prompted a Texas and Pacific engineer, O. P. Cubberly, to sing "Nearer My God to Thee" as his train rolled and lurched along.

Before the days of radio, telephone, and extensive use of telegraph, the problem of uniform correct time was a serious one with the railroad. In order to have all trains and stations using the same time, it was ruled that all watches and clocks would be set by the clock in the general office at Marshall. Each engineer and each conductor checked his own watch when he left Marshall and at every stop along the route all watches and clocks would be set with his.


In one of the new towns in "West Texas cowboys of the community made life miserable for the Texas and Pacific station agent by practicing their marksmanship on the lighted lamps of the railroad station. His appeals to the local authorities went unheeded, and, in desperation, he requested the general office for instructions. The solution to his problem sent by the general office was a masterpiece of simplicity. He was instructed to "open the station after daylight in the morning and close it before dark at night." With no lamps burning there would be no shooting.

A west-bound passenger train rolled into Weatherford in 1891 just as a fight broke out between the employees of two rival freight companies. Bare knuckles and wooden clubs were playing havoc with faces and heads. Passengers on the train had ringside seats for the melee raged along the right-of-way. When time came for the train to leave, the company owners and a few bystanders had joined the fracas. The passengers were so anxious to see the outcome of the fight the conductor held the train for fifteen minutes until the combatants settled their differences.

No story of the Texas and Pacific would be complete without recalling some of the men whose accomplishments and personalities have won for them a respected place in the railroad hall of fame.

L. S. Thorne, Vice-President and General Manager, guided the railroad through some of its most trying years. In appreciation of his great services to the line, the Gould

family gave Thorne an automobile. It was the second automobile to make its appearance on Dallas streets, but the strange "contraption" caused so much disturbance among the horses of the town that Thorne seldom used it.


There are many who remember E. P. Turner, the General Passenger Agent, who coined the Texas and Pacific slogan "No trouble to answer questions." Although the slogan became well known and found wide favor with the traveling public, station passenger agents sometimes were hard pressed to hold their tempers when practical jokers placed a too literal interpretation on the meaning of the slogan.

A. L. Ewing, paymaster and later treasurer of the road, is credited with having known every employee of the company by name. From New Orleans to El Paso, his pay car was a familiar sight as he went the length of the line with the monthly wages. Mr. Ewing kept his shooting eye sharp by taking shots at wild game along the track as he went between towns in West Texas.

Another official well known and loved by the employees of the line was John W. Everman, a "Yankee" from Philadelphia. Everman joined the Texas and Pacific in the early 1880's. The memory of the Civil War was still fresh and the young Philadelphian was not too warmly received by the people of Marshall. Before long, however, his natural friendliness and sincerity won the hearts of the Southerners. During his long association with the railroad he served in many capacities—from clerk to Assistant General Manager. As paymaster he once scared the fight out of a drunk section hand by pinning his neck to a wall with a pitchfork. The prongs missed the man's neck but imbedded tightly in the wall. With the man securely pinned down and thoroughly scared, Mr. Everman was then able to explain to him why his wages had been given to his wife. During the 1908 flood in Dallas, Everman, Ed Bassett and Sam West narrowly escaped death when the bridge they were inspecting collapsed and hurled the three men into the swollen Trinity River. Sam West was knocked unconscious by the fall, but Everman and Bassett managed to get him safely out of the water.

  Chapter Four: BETWEEN TWO WARS  

In every field of activity—industry, commerce, education or religion—organizations and institutions which have climbed to greatness, almost without exception attribute much of their success to the efforts of one individual. The Texas and Pacific is no exception.

To John L. Lancaster must go much of the acclaim for the eminent position the railroad occupies today. As Vice-President, Receiver, Federal Manager, and President, his progressive leadership brought the railroad to the front ranks among the really great lines of the nation.

Upon taking charge of the company as receivers in October, 1916, Lancaster and his co-receiver entered upon a program of completely rehabilitating the railroad. Their plans were just getting under way when World War I halted the work. As in the conflict recently ended, the Texas and Pacific gave its best for the nation at war. Financially strengthened by increased stock and bond issues, after the war the program of improving and modernizing the property was resumed.

The line's roadbeds were virtually rebuilt. Crushed stone and heavy gravel ballast was put down to support the massive new 110 lb. rail then being used to replace the

lighter rail of earlier years. The first railroad in the Southwest to use rail of this weight, the Texas and Pacific prepared the way for the coming of mammoth locomotives then being built. Especially designed by Texas and Pacific engineers to haul tremendous loads over the boundless reaches of the Southwest, the mighty "Texas 600" freight engines set a new high standard of pulling power, efficiency, and economy of operation for other railroads of America. Weighing 723,200 pounds, 15 feet, 6 inches high, and 97 ft. long, the "Texas" engine, in size and power, lived up to the name it proudly carries. Passenger engines of a similar design were put into service also in 1925.

Realizing it was not sufficient merely to keep abreast of the parade of progress, the Texas and Pacific endeavored to visualize the needs of the people it served and prepared to meet them.


Millions of dollars were spent improving and enlarging the terminal and warehouse facilities at New Orleans, Alexandria, Dallas and at other cities along the line. The Shreveport passenger station, completed in May, 1939, is one of the finest in the country. Its beautiful, modern appointments, excellent facilities and air-conditioned comfort are a radical but refreshingly new departure from conventional passenger stations. The extensive Texas and Pacific facilities in Fort Worth are among the most complete, efficient and fully equipped in the country. The Texas and Pacific Passenger Station, the immense Terminal Warehouse and Lancaster Yards constitute railroad installations unrivaled by those of any other line.

The Terminal Warehouse in Fort Worth, with its huge 611 ft. receiving platform, extensive freight and storage space, cold storage plant, and office rooms, is a modern miracle of engineering design. The fast, efficient and economical handling of freight made possible by the Terminal Warehouse has been no small factor in the rapid development of Fort Worth into one of the leading cities of the Southwest.

Lancaster Yards, another vital unit in the Texas and Pacific system at Fort Worth, is a vast labyrinth of tracks, shops, foundries and warehouses. In the great classification yard, with its sixty miles of tracks, five thousand cars can be handled daily. In the well equipped shops rolling stock is repaired, overhauled, and rebuilt. Lancaster Yards also includes a "hump," the first in the Southwest, for switching cars by gravity into the classification yard. The speed and direction of a car into the classification yard is governed by electrically operated car retarders and switch machines controlled by operators in towers high above the tracks. Another feature of the "hump" are the track scales which weigh and automatically record the weight of a car while it is in motion.

Texas and Pacific Time Table No. 9 issued in 1873, carried this warning to the railroad employees: "When in doubt, let safety be the rule." Safety is still the rule with Texas and Pacific. It was the rule in 1937 when this company, the first in the Southwest, installed a piece of railroad magic called CTC—Central Traffic Control.

An operator sitting before his CTC board watches the progress of each train in his section. He can flip a tiny lever and fifty or a hundred miles away the engineer of a speeding freight train receives a signal to take the siding at the next passing track. Or a different signal may tell him to keep going full speed ahead for the track is clear. This well-nigh foolproof CTC system opens and closes switches, sets signals, keeps trains moving safely and swiftly at 75 per cent of double track capacity.


Ever alert to the needs of the traveling public, the Texas and Pacific inaugurated the famous "Sunshine Special" between Texarkana and El Paso. The "Texan" is another favored train of the Southwest, providing overnight service between St. Louis-Memphis and Dallas-Fort Worth. Supplementing these two celebrated trains is the popular "Louisiana Limited" rendering outstanding service between New Orleans, Shreveport, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso and Denver.

The Texas and Pacific Railway has never been content with the mere fulfillment of its obligations to furnish transportation to the thousands of people it serves. Its ambition goes beyond that. It seeks zealously to encourage and aid the development of the resources of the great Southwest and to further the cause of industry, commerce, and agriculture.

Discovery of oil at Ranger, Texas, in 1918 gave the Texas and Pacific its first experience in coping with the transportation of petroleum. The "know how" in handling the transportation problems of the oil industry was of inestimable value later when the discoveries in East Texas and Louisiana astounded the world by their magnitude. Speedy, dependable Texas and Pacific service contributed materially to the initial exploitation and subsequent development of this vast reservoir of "black gold." Year after year petroleum products have constituted a major portion of Texas and Pacific freight.

Refrigerated cars speed fresh fruits and vegetables from distant farming districts to urban centers. Ranchers ship their cattle to the great livestock markets confident they will be moved safely and quickly. Enlarged and improved warehouses and terminals at many places have made for faster, more economical handling of farm and ranch products.

In every other field of business activity in the Southwest the Texas and Pacific has played a vital role. Manufacturing, mineral processing, wholesale distributing, and assembly plants, to mention just a few, are enterprises that have grown and prospered while being ably served by Texas and Pacific transportation.

The Texas and Pacific has come to render a vital service to the people, not only of the Southwest, but also to others both east and west. It is an important link in the shortest route between California and the eastern section of the Nation. Free from extremes of elevations and climate, freight and passenger schedules are maintained with regularity and dependability.


December 7, 1941, Day of Infamy!

The peaceful steel rails of American railroads were turned into an iron warpath. Fires were still raging at Pearl Harbor when trains roared out of the East with vital supplies for the exposed and vulnerable West Coast. In that dark hour the railroads rushed to battle stations. The railroads of America tightened their steel belts and began gearing for their mightiest effort. Soon there was under way the greatest movement of men and supplies known in all the world's history. When Uncle Sam demanded land transport, American railroads delivered. Not a ship was launched, not a soldier or sailor was sent overseas, not a single item of Lend-Lease food and equipment was shipped to our allies without first having begun the journey as raw material or finished product somewhere, sometime, on a steel rail.

The Texas and Pacific met the war time challenge magnificently.

In Texas and Louisiana were built some of the largest training camps for the Army and Navy. Materials for the building, maintenance and supply of these huge centers early in the war became a chief factor in the ever increasing traffic load of Texas and Pacific trains.

After the camps were built, the soldiers and sailors came. From the four corners of our Nation, men came to Texas and Louisiana to learn the lessons of modern warfare.


At the beginning of the second year of World War II, somewhere in this great country, a troop movement was starting every six minutes, and for every soldier moving down the steel rail, there had to be eight tons of equipment—guns, ammunition, tanks, half-tracks, jeeps, clothing, food, blankets, medicine, and others too numerous to mention. The Texas and Pacific rose to the occasion and the millions of trained soldiers and sailors who came out of camps served by the railroad are proof of how well the stupendous transportation task was done.

In addition to the heavy passenger and freight traffic resulting from Army and Navy activities in the area, war plants of all kinds demanded fast, efficient railroad service. Boxcars, tank cars, and locomotives long retired from use were reconditioned and pressed into service. Millions of tons of raw materials poured into factories and shops. Working around the clock, seven days a week, the factories turned out the implements of war in a flood that engulfed our enemies.

The amazing production records of many war plants in the Southwest were made possible by the untiring vigilance and ceaseless efforts of the men and women of the Texas and Pacific.

Two simple charts will tell the story far better than hundreds of words—a story of passenger and freight movement unprecedented in history. This seemingly impossible task was done with practically no increase in equipment and with 3,024 of the railroad's regular employees serving in the Armed Forces.


The Southwest is on the brink of unprecedented growth. This great region possesses in abundance all the essentials upon which to build a mighty industrial and commercial empire.

Nature has richly endowed the Southwest with vast stores of mineral resources. It possesses 82 per cent of the Nation's proven petroleum reserves and produces 67 per cent of the natural gas. The minerals used in construction rival oil and gas in quantity. Of the Nation's supply of sulphur, 99 per cent comes from the Southwest. Large deposits of high-grade iron ore in East Texas give rich promise of a major iron and steel industry. Many other minerals are found in commercial quantities and are being rapidly developed.

Huge war plants located in the Southwest trained thousands of workers new to industry. The skills and energies of these workers are now available, and are being used, for peacetime production. These plants created large new power reserves and discovered and developed important, new resources of raw materials. But more important, they demonstrated again and again that production costs are no higher, and frequently much lower, than in the long-established industrial centers.

Many industrial and commercial organizations have found it extremely difficult to serve the whole Nation from a single point of manufacture or distribution. These concerns are finding their way out of this difficulty by establishing regional plants and distributing points to serve a well-defined sectional market. More and more of them are coming to the Southwest. The abundant supply of skilled workers, better labor conditions, almost limitless sources of raw materials, low-cost power, and excellent transportation facilities are advantages the Southwest offers the firms planning to decentralize their operations.


The manner in which Southwestern railroads seize the opportunities now open, and their willingness to accept the great responsibilities these opportunities entail, will, to a large extent, set the pace of industrial growth in the Southwest. Railroads are the life-lines of industry. Aggressive, efficient railroads providing fast, dependable, safe rail service are a requisite of industrial success.

The Texas and Pacific realizes the opportunities and accepts its responsibilities. During 1946 nearly $9,000,000 will be spent on new equipment and improvements to track and roadbed.

Along many sections of the line maintenance crews are readying the track and roadbed for the heavy traffic ahead. Carload upon carload of ballast is being put down to cushion the pathway of the speeding trains. New, heavyweight rails are being laid. Wherever possible curves are being eliminated or made more gradual. Shippers of bulk products will welcome the new hopper cars recently put in service by the Texas and Pacific. Weather damage in transit will be a thing of the past when these covered, all-steel carriers make their appearance among the freight cars of the line.

Early in 1947 the Texas and Pacific will offer the traveling public a new experience in passenger train service—The Texas and Pacific Eagles. These beautiful lightweight trains are now being custom built to give the traveler comfort, convenience, speed and safety unmatched by previous passenger trains.

The Eagles will be fast. On some sections of the line the mammoth diesel-electric locomotives of the Eagles will reduce running times by 25 per cent. Safety has not been sacrificed for speed. While striving for speed, comfort and beauty, the engineers and designers are not overlooking the mechanical improvements that make for safer, smoother operation. Coaches, sleepers and diners will be of aluminum alloy construction. Although somewhat lighter, their strength will not be decreased. All windows in the Eagles will be of safety-glass, fog-proof and tinted to remove sun glare. Roll stabilizers on all cars will eliminate swaying on curves, and new improved shock absorbers will make for smoother riding. Electro-pneumatic brakes will provide greater braking efficiency and increased safety.


Engineers, designers and decorators have combined their talents to create coaches, sleepers and diners of unsurpassed beauty and comfort. Insulated against heat, cold and noise, and air-conditioned for year 'round ideal temperatures, the spacious, beautifully appointed cars will give passengers a delightful experience in traveling comfort. No efforts are being spared to make these coaches, sleepers and diners the best on American railroads. Sleepers will be equipped with radios to enable the traveler to enjoy his favorite programs. All cars will be equipped with a public address system to keep passengers informed as to stops, points of interest along the route, meal times and other information. Lounge facilities in these modern cars will be in keeping with the other distinctive appointments.

The Eagles exemplify the farsighted, progressive program the Texas and Pacific has followed since its beginning. Seventy-five years ago the builders of the Texas and Pacific pushed back the frontiers of the Southwest and paved the way for progress. Now, three quarters of a century later, the men and women of the Texas and Pacific stand ready again to take the lead in a new crusade of achievement. Once more there are new horizons to explore. The Southwest is on the threshold of a new era of industrial development, and, as it was nearly a century ago, the Texas and Pacific is in the vanguard of the parade of progress.

On July 7th of this Diamond Jubilee year, Texas and Pacific participated in a history-making transportation event that had no parallel in American railroading. After months of intensive study and planning, three great railroads—the Pennsylvania, Missouri Pacific and Texas and Pacific—inaugurated daily, through passenger train service between New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and the principal cities of Texas along the Texas and Pacific route. Never before had any railroad or any combination of railroads operated a solid, daily through train beyond St. Louis or Chicago.


Each day a Westbound Sunshine Special will leave Pennsylvania Station, New York. Passengers who board the train there may, if they so desire, journey westward as far as El Paso without changing trains or even changing seats. There are no delays, no train changes, or connections to make. An Eastbound Sunshine Special departs from El Paso each night, and follows its well-known route to St. Louis, but once there, continues to New York, via Pittsburgh, Washington and Philadelphia. Each of these trains has coaches, chair cars, sleeping cars with all types of accommodations, and dining and lounge car facilities.

It is especially fitting that Texas and Pacific's Sunshine Special was selected to provide this historical new transportation service. For thirty years the Sunshine Special has been a favorite train of the Southwest, and during these years of superior service it has become a mighty link binding the Southwest with the populous, industrial East. Now this champion of the Texas plains will join the ranks of the other great trains which have made American railroads the envy of the world.

Another significant aspect of this new travel service is the fact that the first trans-continental, through passenger train connects the East and the Great Southwest. Other sections of our country which are more densely populated and considerably more industrialized than the Southwest were passed over in favor of this rich natural region. The volume of traffic between the Atlantic seaboard and the Southwest is great enough now to warrant this new service, but the study and effort expended to perfect the operation of these daily, through trains is more than a move to take care of a current situation. It was with an eye to the future that these plans were made. The Southwest, with its vast reservoir of natural resources and other advantages for industrial expansion, will, in the not too distant future, come into its own as one of America's outstanding industrial regions. This historical new train service is in preparation for that day.

  Past Presidents  
  Marshall O. Roberts: April, 1871 - February, 1872  
  Thomas A. Scott: February, 1872 - April, 1881  
  Jay Gould: April, 1881 - December, 1892  
  George Jay Gould: December, 1892 - October, 1916  
  J. L. Lancaster: October, 1916 - May, 1945  
  W. G. Vollmer: May, 1945  
  [Caption}: Texas and Pacific shops at Marshall, Texas -- 1877.  
  [Caption]: El Paso, Texas, when Texas and Pacific arrived in 1881.  
  [Caption]: Oxen caravan at Big Spring -- 1890s.  
  [Caption]: It was not uncommon to have trains halted by buffalo. One of the early locomotive engineers had a unique experience with a bull buffalo near Colorado City. The huge animal deliberately planted himself on the track and asserted his priority rights. Eyes gleaming with rage at the intruder of his domain, the buffalo was lowering his massive head for the charge when the engineer, fearing damage to the engine, opened the steam valves and scared the fight out of the big fellow. Duly impressed by the prowess of his antagonist, the bull conceded the victory and clattered off the right-of-way.  
  [Caption]: Immigrant house at Baird, Texas.  
  [Caption]: Old cosmopolitan hotel in Big Spring owned by Earl of Aylford about 1900.  
[Caption]: Early in 1847 the Cairo and Fulton Railroad extended its line into Texarkana, joining with the Texas and Pacific. The companies jointly issued baggage checks to be used for baggage handled by the two railroads. These checks were made of brass and were attached to pieces of luggage much the same way checks are used today. Baggage check No. 4554, pictured here, figured prominently in a sensational theft in 1875, at Longview. The check was switched from the sample trunk of a jewelry salesman to an identical trunk with a number of bricks in it. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad later became part of the Missouri-Pacific system.
  [Caption]: North 1st and Pine Street of Abilene, Texas, 1886.  
  [Caption]: Scene on Texas Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, about 1880.  
  [Caption]: Texas and Pacific bridge at Dallas during 1908 flood.  
Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections, additions, and contributions of new material.