The Galveston, Sabine and St. Louis was chartered on December 18, 1882. The railroad was planned to connect Galveston Island with a suitable point on the Red River in Grayson County. According to the original articles of incorporation the company had a capital stock of $550,000. The principal place of business for the railroad was Longview. The members of the first board of directors were Sam Cundiff, T. H. Crutcher, A. S. Taylor, Brad Barnes, Charles H. Jewell, George W. Harrison, J. C. Turner, S. W. Barnes, and J. H. McCauley, all of Longview. In January 1883 the railroad acquired the Longview and Sabine Valley, and in 1885 constructed an additional eleven miles of narrow-gauge track from Camden (later Tallys) to Martin's Creek. On January 15, 1886, the GS&SL was placed in the hands of a receiver, who converted the line to standard gauge on May 23, 1887. The GS&SL was sold under foreclosure on May 8, 1888, to C. M. Whitney, who conveyed the line to the Texas, Sabine Valley Northwestern on June 22, 1888.