Orange and Northwestern Railroad

By: Robert Wooster and Nancy Young

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 1, 1995

The Orange and Northwestern Railroad Company followed the route of a gauge tram road connecting the pine forests of Southeast Texas with sawmills at Orange. Henry J. Lutcher and G. Bedell Moore built the line to secure a steady supply of logs for their Orange mill. On January 14, 1901, William H. Stark and other Orange lumbermen received a charter for the Orange and Northwestern, which was to extend from Orange to a point on the Gulf, Beaumont and Kansas City Railway near Buna in Jasper County, for a distance of thirty miles. The capital was $200,000, and the principal place of business was Orange. Members of the first board of directors were Moore of Bexar County; Alexander Gilmer, Lutcher, L. Miller, G. W. Bancroft, and W. W. Reid, all of Orange County, and D. Call of Jefferson County. Reconstruction of the line began at Orange in May 1901. Buna was reached late that year, and the line was placed in regular operation in March 1902. Later in 1902 the line's charter was amended to allow its owners to build as far north as Marshall and Corsicana. In 1903 the road reported passenger earnings of $5,000 and freight earnings of $31,000 and owned three locomotives and forty-two cars. No further construction was undertaken until 1905, when Benjamin F. Yoakum acquired the Orange and Northwestern. By February 1906 Yoakum had extended the line north of Buna another twenty-eight miles to Newton. The Colorado Southern, New Orleans and Pacific Railroad Company (later the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad Company) acquired control of the Orange and Northwestern when it purchased a majority of its common stock on April 14, 1906. In 1953 the line reported passenger earnings of $28 and freight earnings of $608,900. The Orange and Northwestern became part of the Missouri Pacific Lines on January 1, 1925, but continued to operate as a separate company until it was merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company on March 1, 1956. In 1963 the track between Mauriceville and Newton was abandoned, but the right-of-way between Mauriceville and Bessmay was later acquired and track relaid by the Sabine River and Northern Railroad Company.

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

Robert Wooster and Nancy Young, “Orange and Northwestern Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995