The Galveston, La Porte and Houston Railway was chartered on October 7, 1892, as the LaPorte, Houston and Northern Railroad Company; the name was changed on January 30, 1895. On that date the company also acquired the North Galveston, Houston and Kansas City Railroad Company, for a total of twenty-eight miles of track. In 1895 the railroad reported passenger earnings of $4,000 and freight earnings of $7,000, and owned four locomotives and twenty-one cars. That year the company completed 1½ miles of track between Brady and Harrisburg, six miles between Thayer and LaPorte, and twenty-one miles between Strang and North Galveston Junction. In early 1896 the railroad's two-mile bridge across Galveston Bay was completed, giving the Galveston, LaPorte and Houston access to Galveston Island. However, before the bridge was completed the railroad went into receivership, on January 7, 1896. The line was operated by Thomas W. House and M. T. Jones until October 4, 1898, when it was sold under foreclosure to L. J. Smith of Kansas City for $425,000. Smith conveyed the property to the Galveston, Houston and Northern Railway Company on April 27, 1899.