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Texas Railroad Sesquicentennial - September 7, 2003

Texas Railroad 
Sesquicentennial - September 7, 2003

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Texas Railroad Sesquicentennial - Introduction

Wednesday, September 7, 1853, marked the beginning of regular railroad operations in the state of Texas. On that day the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado Railway placed its first 20 miles of track in service between Harrisburg and Stafford’s Point. By the early 1880’s the BBB&C had evolved into one of the many properties that comprised the New Orleans to Los Angeles "Sunset Route" of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In fact, many people who know that the SP began in California and expanded east from there, may be shocked to find out that the BBB&C was the oldest corporate predecessor of that railroad (before its last-gasp lunge to Chicago). Harrisburg was later annexed by Houston; Stafford’s Point is now the southwest Houston suburb of Stafford, and practically all of the original BBB&C survives as a vibrant—and in places congested—component of SP successor Union Pacific. On the BBB&C’s first day, almost 13,000 miles of track were already open for business elsewhere in the United States. Yet from its meager genesis, the Texas railroad network had by about 1905 become the largest of any state in the nation, and has remained so ever since.

( Click here for a brief -- but detailed -- history of the BBB&C, written by Howard Laker, Historian of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. )

Sunday, September 7, 2003, marked the 150th anniversary of railroading in the Lone Star State. Through the power of the internet, several weeks in advance we challenged fellow rail buffs to celebrate the event by photographing as many Texas rail scenes as possible that day. Those who would not be available at the appointed time were encouraged to participate as close to that day as possible. This was also necessary to cover certain rail operations that do not normally take place on Sunday. The results, which are truly gratifying, are presented here. We offer our thanks to all the railfans and, especially, railroaders who made this presentation possible. We hope every visitor finds it a fitting tribute to the Texas Railroad Sesquicentennial.

Jimmy Barlow -- Leonard, Texas
Wes Carr -- Fort Worth, Texas

November, 2003


List of Contributors

A big "thanks" to all of you... without your help, this project would not have been a success!

Howard Bingham
Joshua Chlapek
Carl Codney
Randy Curlin
Ken Fitzgerald
Bryan Flint
Stephen Foster
Stephen Foyt
Robert B. Hall
Bob King
Len Kratz
Howard Laker
Eric Lyman
Keel Middleton
Michael North
Leonard Ruback
Bob Smith
Ken Stavinoha
Jeff Steen
Tim Swearingen
Skip Waters
Carl Wegerer, III
Ken Whitehead
Doug Wooten

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