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PANHANDLE AND SANTA FE RAILWAY

PANHANDLE AND SANTA FE RAILWAY. The Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway Company was one of the two major operating subsidiaries of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (Santa Fe) in Texas. It owned or leased virtually all Santa Fe properties west of Sweetwater, with lines covering the Panhandle and South Plains regions as well as a line across the Trans-Pecos to Presidio. In addition, the P&SF also operated a disconnected line from the Texas-New Mexico border south of Carlsbad, New Mexico, to Pecos and at various times leased the Rio Grande, El Paso and Santa Fe. At the end of 1933 the P&SF operated 1,879 miles of track of which 166 were owned and the balance leased or operated under trackage rights. The track operated included ninety-six miles in Oklahoma. The P&SF was chartered on November 2, 1886, as the Southern Kansas Railway Company of Texas. Its name was changed on June 5, 1914. In 1886 the Southern Kansas Railway Company, a Santa Fe affiliate, began construction of a line from Kiowa, Kansas, across Indian Territory to the Texas border. The thirty miles of the Southern Kansas Railway Company of Texas from the Texas border to Canadian was opened for service September 12, 1887, and the seventy miles from Canadian to Panhandle City was placed in service on January 15, 1888. The Panhandle Railway Company was used from Panhandle City to Washburn and the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway from Washburn to Amarillo. On December 5, 1898, the property of the Panhandle Railway Company was acquired at foreclosure sale by the Santa Fe. The former Panhandle Railway was abandoned in 1908 when the Southern Kansas Railway Company of Texas built a direct line from Panhandle City to Amarillo. At the end of 1908 the company had 125 miles of track. The principal office was originally at Fort Worth, then moved to Panhandle City by charter amendment on August 24,1889, and finally to Amarillo on November 9, 1899. The P&SF built two additional lines under its own charter. The twenty-six miles from Panhandle to Borger opened in 1926, while a ten mile line between White Deer and Skellytown was completed in 1927.

In 1901 the Santa Fe acquired the railroad system constructed by the J. J. Hagerman interests between Amarillo and Pecos through eastern New Mexico. This included the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway Company, which opened a ninety-five-mile line from Amarillo to the Texas-New Mexico border at Farwell and Texico on March 1, 1899. The Santa Fe used the P&NT charter to construct 475 miles of additional trackage over the next thirteen years. Most of this mileage was in operation by the end of 1911. This construction included the line between Canyon and Plainview, which opened in 1907 and was extended to Lubbock in 1910 and to Sweetwater and Coleman by December 1, 1911. Two branch lines between Plainview and Floydada and between Slaton Junction and Lamesa were also built during this period. The last mileage constructed by the P&NT was between the Texas-New Mexico border at Farwell and Lubbock. The property of the P&NT north of Sweetwater was leased to the P&SF for operation on July 1, 1914. Other Santa Fe properties operated by the P&SF included the South Plains and Santa Fe between Lubbock and Crosbyton. This line was leased by the P&SF on July 1, 1917, and was extended from Lubbock to Seagraves in 1918 and from Doud to Bledsoe in 1925. The North Texas and Santa Fe built a line between Shattuck, Oklahoma, and Spearman, which was leased to the P&SF when completed in 1920. This line was subsequently extended from Spearman to Morse in 1931. The Clinton and Oklahoma Western Railroad Company operating between Clinton, Oklahoma, and the Texas-Oklahoma state line and the Clinton-Oklahoma-Western Railroad Company of Texas running from the Texas-Oklahoma state line to Pampa were acquired by the Santa Fe in June 1928 and leased to the P&SF on January 31, 1931. In 1930 the P&SF began construction of a line from Amarillo to the north line of Dallam County. However, due to restrictions on P&SF bonds, the North Plains and Santa Fe organized to complete the line, which, when completed, provided a short route for Santa Fe traffic between Texas and Colorado. This line was also leased to the P&SF for operation. In 1928 the Santa Fe acquired the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient operating between Wichita, Kansas, and the Texas-Oklahoma border north of Chillicothe, and the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company of Texas operating from the Texas-Oklahoma border to Alpine. In 1930 the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient of Texas completed a line from San Angelo to Sonora as well as a line from Paisano, west of Alpine, to Presidio. The Texas properties were leased to the P&SF on January 1, 1931.

P&SF earnings in 1916 included $1,202,354 in passenger revenue, $4,682,959 in freight revenue, and $62,254 in other revenue. To meet its growing needs, the P&SF constructed a new fourteen-story office building in Amarillo during the late 1920s. It opened on January 18, 1930, and was still a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture in 1990. By 1931 the P&SF was listed as a Class I railroad by the Railroad Commission with passenger earnings of $745,700, freight earnings of $10,585,600, and other earnings of $775,750. Equipment was provided by the Santa Fe. In 1948 the P&SF merged all of its leased properties in Texas with the exception of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company of Texas and the Rio Grande, El Paso and Santa Fe. Earnings continued to grow and in 1962 included $939,670 in passenger revenue, $38,211,350 in freight revenue, and $571,390 in other revenue. By this time it was no longer legally necessary for the Santa Fe to maintain separate operating companies in Texas, and the P&SF as well as the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company of Texas were merged into the parent company on August 1, 1965.

George C. Werner

Citation

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

George C. Werner, "PANHANDLE AND SANTA FE RAILWAY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqp03), accessed July 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.