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ROSCOE, SNYDER AND PACIFIC RAILWAY

ROSCOE, SNYDER AND PACIFIC RAILWAY. The Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway Company was chartered on October 1, 1906, for the purpose of building a railroad from Roscoe in a generally northwesterly direction to the west boundary of Bailey County, a distance of about 200 miles. Construction began the following year, and the first section of thirty-one miles from Roscoe to Snyder opened on June 12, 1908. The extension of 18½ miles from Snyder to Fluvanna was completed on September 11, 1909, and opened two days later. The capital was $200,000, and the business office was located at Roscoe in Nolan County. Members of the first board of directors included Fleming W. James, William G. Swenson, Edward S. Hughes, J. E. Wills, Eugene Wood, Henry James, and J. M. Wagstaff, all of Abilene, Texas, and N. T. Reed and A. A. Reed of Hutchinson, Kansas. From its beginning the railroad established itself as one of the most profitable short lines in the nation. As a bridge route connecting the Santa Fe and the Texas and Pacific railroads the line enabled transcontinental shippers to transport California fruits and vegetables to Memphis and New Orleans markets in five days. The RS&P sold its service directly to shippers through general agents in such cities as Fort Worth, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Washington. The first RS&P locomotive and the original rails were purchased used from the Texas and Pacific. In 1916 the company owned three locomotives and two passenger cars and earned $15,984 in passenger revenue, $149,054 in freight revenue, and $3,189 in other revenue. In 1931 the company owned four locomotives, one freight car, and three passenger cars and earned $210,101. Passenger service was discontinued in 1953.

In 1941 the Fluvanna extension was abandoned and the track taken up, reducing service to the original thirty-one miles from Roscoe to Snyder. Between 1950 and 1955 diesel locomotives replaced the steam equipment, and the last steam engine was retired to a Snyder park. In 1960 the company began buying and leasing tank cars; two years later it added a repair shop to its Roscoe facilities to service its own cars and those of other companies. The company also replaced twenty-two miles of track with heavier rails in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Only one wreck marred the history of the railroad. It occurred in April 1926 when a bridge washed out and a locomotive and one passenger car plunged into a draw. For years the RS&P maintained a payroll of approximately seventy employees and defied the trend toward decline that affected other railroads. In 1972 the railroad was independent and owned two locomotives and 641 freight cars. The net income for that year was $516,679. Deregulation of the railroads following the passage of the Staggers Act in 1980 made it impossible for the company to continue to compete for bridge traffic. This resulted in the abandonment in 1984 of all of the line except for about 1½ miles of industrial track remaining at Roscoe.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Snyder Daily News, Diamond Anniversary Edition, December 9, 1962.

William R. Hunt

Citation

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

William R. Hunt, "ROSCOE, SNYDER AND PACIFIC RAILWAY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqr13), accessed September 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.