Gulf and Northern Railway

By: Robert Wooster

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

The Gulf and Northern Railway Company was chartered on September 17, 1917, to build a railroad from the area of Burkeville to a point near Bleakwood in Newton County. The capital was $25,000. The members of the first board of directors were B. F. Bonner, George F. Howard, B. H. Brown, John W. Link, W. T. Hancock, and Fred Pasche, all of Houston, and G. E. Davidson of Silsbee. Bonner, a prominent Houston lumberman, provided much of the early impetus for the project, which was designed to afford transportation of locally cut timber to major shipping points. Plans were apparently altered slightly when Robert W. Wier established a large new lumbermill at Wiergate, some four miles west of Burkeville. He was to clear-cut about 86,000 acres of virgin longleaf pine in northern Newton, Jasper, and Sabine counties. Wier built the fifteen-mile Gulf and Northern from Wiergate to Newton, where the line met the longer Orange and Northwestern Railroad. Funding for the new road came from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. Headquarters were at Wiergate. Construction, which had begun in June 1917, was underway at the time the railroad was chartered, and the line was placed in service on March 1, 1918. In 1926 the Gulf and Northern reported passenger earnings of $3,000 and freight earnings of $76,000 and owned one locomotive and two cars; it was listed as a Class III railroad in the Railroad Commission Annual Reports. Having depleted available forest acreage, Wier ended his Wiergate operations in 1943 and dismantled the big mill there. The Gulf and Northern discontinued operations on April 23, 1943.

Robert S. Maxwell and Robert D. Baker, Sawdust Empire: The Texas Lumber Industry, 1830–1940 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).

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

Robert Wooster, “Gulf and Northern Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995