Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railway

By: Chris Cravens

Type: General Entry

Published: June 1, 1995

The Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railway Company was chartered on May 29, 1885, to acquire the property of the Rio Grande and Pecos Railway Company, which had been sold under foreclosure. This property was acquired on June 18, 1889, by deed from James H. Anderson, and consisted of twenty-seven and three-quarters miles of three-rail track from Laredo to Santo Thomas Mine. The initial capital was $600,000, and the business office was in Laredo. Members of the first board of directors included Charles B. Wright, Charles B. Wright, Jr., and William C. Clark, all from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; William Aubrey of San Antonio; and H. C. Smith, James J. Haynes, W. H. Mowry, A. L. McLane, and W. W. Sharpe, all from Laredo. In 1892 the company owned twenty-seven freight cars, one company car, and three locomotives, and earned $2,527 in passenger revenue, $22,258 in freight revenue, and $340 in other revenue. The Rio Grande and Eagle Pass removed the third rail and abandoned about two miles of track from Minera to Santo Thomas Mine in 1895. Peak coal production from the mines served by the railroad occurred in 1915. The following year the Rio Grande and Eagle Pass reported earnings of $119,751 and owned four locomotives, 130 freight cars, three passenger cars, and five company cars. The portion of the road between Darwin and Minera, 1 ½ miles, was abandoned in 1925, and passenger service was discontinued in 1932. Output from the mines declined due to increased use of oil and natural gas, and the largest mine operated by the Cannel Coal Company closed in early 1939. With virtually no traffic, the line filed for abandonment in 1942. However, the building of the Laredo Flexible Gunnery School at Laredo Air Force Base near milepost 7 extended the life of the company. The portion of the line from Gardner to Darwin, nearly three miles, was taken up to provide rail needed in the construction of the training facility. In 1944 the fourteen miles from milepost 7 to Gardner was abandoned, and the balance of the railroad was abandoned in 1947.

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

Chris Cravens, “Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995