Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway

By: Chris Cravens

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 2, 2020

The Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway Company was chartered on March 6, 1925, to build from Estelline in Hall County to a point in Castro County, with a branch from Briscoe County to Lubbock County, about 200 miles. The line came out of an attempt by the Fort Worth and Denver City to build branches into the lower Panhandle to handle the shipping of cotton. The initial capital was $200,000, and the business office was in Fort Worth. Members of the first board of directors included Hale Holden and C. G. Burnham of Chicago, Illinois, and Khleber M. Van Zandt, F. E. Clarity, W. F. Sterley, T. B. Yarbrough, Joseph H. Barwise, Jr., W. C. Logan, and W. O. Hamilton, all from Fort Worth. In 1928 the road completed 206 miles of track from Estelline through Sterley and Plainview to Dimmit, and from Lubbock through Sterley to Silverton. The route required the construction of two tunnels near Quitaque. The line was leased to the Fort Worth and Denver City for operation and merged into that company on June 13, 1952. In 1989 the Burlington Northern, successor to the Fort Worth and Denver, abandoned much of the former Fort Worth and Denver South Plains. During the summer of 1993 64 ½ miles of right-of-way from Estelline to South Plains opened as a hike-and-bike trail as part of the Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway System.

W. D. Jeter, The Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway (M.A. thesis, Texas Technical College, 1949).

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

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

Chris Cravens, “Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 2, 2020

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