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HENDERSON AND OVERTON BRANCH RAILROAD

HENDERSON AND OVERTON BRANCH RAILROAD. The Henderson and Overton Branch Railroad Company was chartered on April 29, 1874, to construct a line in Rusk County from a connection with the International and Great Northern Railroad Company at Overton to Henderson, a distance of sixteen miles. The contractor, Ward Dewey and Company, had completed all but 1,000 feet of the grade and had built most of the bridges and the station at Overton when a disagreement arose. They withdrew from the work, and the contract was declared forfeited. The Henderson and Overton Railway Construction Company was subsequently formed and contracted with O. H. P. Piper and A. B. Collins to finish the road. The line opened on May 7, 1877. For services rendered the contractors received $100,000 in Henderson municipal bonds, a state land grant of 143,360 acres, and title to the right-of-way and the rolling stock. The Henderson and Overton Branch was acquired by the International and Great Northern on September 27, 1880, and was operated by the latter company until it was consolidated with the newly reorganized International and Great Northern Railway Company on August 31, 1911.

In 2008 Union Pacific, which owned the Henderson and Overton Branch, announced plans to abandon the less than fifteen-mile spur. The Rusk County Rural Rail District (RCRRD) was formed to attempt to acquire the branch from Union Pacific. Local officials wanted to save the line for transportation of lumber and to attract new business use of the rail. The RCRRD worked with the Henderson Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) and the Henderson city council on acquisition proposals and funding plans. In October 2009, after lengthy negotiations, Union Pacific accepted an offer to purchase the branch line. HEDC financed $1.2 million for the purchase. The deal was closed in May 2010, and during the opening celebration on June 24, 2010, residents welcomed the whistle of a locomotive on the tracks near the Depot Museum grounds. Short-line operator Blacklands Railroad of Sulphur Springs was hired to run the Henderson and Overton Branch spur.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Henderson Daily News, October 23, 2009, November 16, 2009, May 24, 2010. Tyler Morning Telegraph, October 15, 2009, October 23, 2009, June 25, 2010.

S. G. Reed and Ann T. Smith

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

S. G. Reed and Ann T. Smith, "HENDERSON AND OVERTON BRANCH RAILROAD," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqh05), accessed July 22, 2014. Uploaded on September 19, 2010. Modified on January 4, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.