Texas and Pacific Railway

The Texas and Pacific Railway Company (known as the T&P) was created by federal charter in 1871 with the purpose of building a southern transcontinental railroad between Marshall, Texas, and San Diego, California.

Texas and Pacific Railway
Reporting markTP
LocaleTexas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas
Dates of operation18711976
SuccessorMissouri Pacific
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
HeadquartersMarshall, Texas


The T&P had a significant foothold in Texas by the mid-1880s. Construction difficulties delayed westward progress, until American financier Jay Gould acquired an interest in the railroad in 1879. The T&P never reached San Diego; instead it met the Southern Pacific at Sierra Blanca, Texas, in 1881.

The Missouri Pacific Railroad, also controlled by Gould, leased the T&P from 1881 to 1885 and continued a cooperative relationship with the T&P after the lease ended. Missouri Pacific gained majority ownership of the Texas and Pacific Railway's stock in 1928 but allowed it to continue operation as a separate entity until they were eventually merged on October 15, 1976. On January 8, 1980, the Missouri Pacific Railroad was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad. Because of lawsuits filed by competing railroads, the merger was not approved until September 13, 1982. However, due to outstanding bonds of the Missouri Pacific, the actual merger with the Union Pacific Railroad took place on January 1, 1997.

Several reminders of the Texas and Pacific remain to this day, mainly two towering buildings which help define the southern side of Fort Worth's skyline—the original station and office tower (pictured below) and a warehouse located immediately to the west. In 2001, the passenger platforms at the T&P station were put into use for the first time in decades as the westernmost terminus for the Trinity Railway Express, a commuter rail line connecting Fort Worth and Dallas. The warehouse still exists but there are plans to renovate it. The passenger terminal and corporate offices have been converted into luxury condominiums.

Major named passenger trains of the Texas and Pacific

Major named passenger trains of the Texas and Pacific (route sections between St. Louis and Texarkana were operated by Missouri Pacific):


  • March 3, 1871 - United States Congress grants a charter to the Texas Pacific Railroad Company
  • 1871 - Texas legislature charters the company and grant permission to purchase the Southern Trans-Continental Railway Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. Note: This is a different Southern Pacific Railroad company from the one referred to above.
  • March 21, 1872 - The Southern Pacific is purchased.
  • March 30 - Southern Trans-Continental Railway Company is purchased.
  • 1872 - Thomas A. Scott, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, becomes president of the Texas & Pacific.
  • May 2, 1872 - an Act of Congress changes the name to Texas and Pacific Railway Company
  • June 12, 1873 - Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad Company purchased.
  • July 1, 1873 - First rail line opened between Longview, Texas, and Dallas, Texas
  • December 28, 1873 - Rail line from Marshall, Texas, to Texarkana, Texas, placed in service.
  • 1881 - Abilene, TX connected to the line.[1]
  • 1925 - Lima Locomotive Works delivers 2-10-4 locomotives to the T&P. The type is nicknamed "Texas" as a result.
  • October 15, 1976 - merged with the Missouri Pacific
Revenue Freight Traffic (Millions of Net Ton-Miles)
T&PKO&G/KO&G of TXMidland ValleyCisco & NortheasternPecos Valley SouthernTexas Short Line
1925 1763193230470.8
1933 149816384(with T&P)(with T&P)(with T&P)
1944 4761412113
1960 416849597
1970 5854150 (merged Apr 1970)(merged 1967)

"T&P" includes its subsidiary roads (A&S, D&PS, T-NM etc.); operated route-miles totalled 2259 at the end of 1929 (after C&NE, PVS and TSL had become subsidiaries) and 2033 at the end of 1960.

The Texas and Pacific was unable to finance construction to San Diego, and as a result the Southern Pacific was able to build from California to Sierra Blanca, Texas. In doing so, Southern Pacific used land designated for, and surveyed by Texas and Pacific, in its rail line from Yuma, Arizona, to El Paso, Texas. This resulted in lawsuits, which were settled with agreements to share tracks, and to cooperate in the building of new tracks. Most of the features advantageous to Texas and Pacific were later disallowed by legislation.


Under the influence of General Buell the TPRR was originally to be 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge, but this was overturned when the state legislature passed a law requiring 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) gauge.[2]

Land grants

From 1873 to 1881 the Texas and Pacific built a total of 972 miles (1,560 km) of track; as a result it was entitled to land grants totalling 12,441,600 acres (50,349 km²). T&P, however, received land only for the construction of track east of Fort Worth. This meant the firm received only 5,173,120 acres (20,935 km²). The State of Texas did not award the additional area because, it said, the construction had not been completed within the time required by the firm's charter. The then state Attorney General Charles A. Culberson filed suit to recover 301,893 acres (1,222 km²) on the grounds that "the road had been granted land partly on sidetracks and partly on land not subject to location."[3] The state ultimately recovered 256,046 acres (1,036 km²) giving a net grant to the T&P of 4,917,074 acres (19,899 km²), or 7,683 square miles. By comparison, the state of Connecticut is 5,543 square miles (14,356 km²).

Texas Pacific Land Trust

The Texas Pacific Land Trust (NYSE: TPL) was created in 1888 in the wake of the bankruptcy of the T&P in order to provide an efficient and orderly way to sell the railway's land, receiving at the time in excess of 3.5 million acres (14,000 km²). As of 31 December 2006 the Trust was still the largest private land owner in the state of Texas,[4] owning the surface estate of 966,392 acres (3,911 km²) spread across 20 counties in the western part of the state. The Trust also generates income from oil & gas royalties through its 1/128 non-participating royalty interest under 85,414 acres (346 km²) and 1/16 non-participating royalty interest under 386,988 acres (1,566 km²).[4]

See also


  1. Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abilene". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. NLA
  3. Texas and Pacific Railway from the Handbook of Texas Online
  4. Metz, Robert (January 5, 1998). "Shaking the Money Tree: Texas Pacific Land Trust If You Trust Land". Money Talks. Investor Features Syndicate.

Further reading

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