Rio Grande Northern Railroad

By: Chris Cravens

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

The Rio Grande Northern Railroad was chartered on February 3, 1893, to build from Van Horn Station on the Texas and Pacific, cross the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio near Chispa, and terminate at a point on the Rio Grande (the river, not the railroad) in Presidio County. The initial capital was $500,000, and the business office was located at El Paso. Members of the first board of directors included W. B. Brock, G. N. Marshall, and H. B. Stevens, all of El Paso; Charles B. Murphy of Marfa; R. E. Russell of San Francisco, California; John P. Ober of Allegheny, Pennsylvania; and Marshall Johnston of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By December 1895 the Rio Grande Northern had completed a twenty-six-mile line from Chispa to San Carlos, on which was located one of the six railroad tunnels in Texas. This was the only portion of the projected line built, as the coal at San Carlos proved to be uneconomical to produce. The Rio Grande Northern never operated its railroad. The San Carlos Coal Company rented a locomotive to haul the few carloads of coal produced at its mine. On January 4, 1897, the Rio Grande Northern was sold by the sheriff of Presidio County and abandoned.

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

Chris Cravens, “Rio Grande Northern Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995