San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway

By: Nancy Young

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway Company was chartered on August 28, 1884, to connect San Antonio with Aransas Bay, a distance of 135 miles. The capital stock was $1,000,000, and the principal office was in San Antonio. Members of the first board of directors were Augustus Belknap, William H. Maverick, Edward Stevenson, Edward Katula, Daniel Sullivan, A. J. Lockwood, George H. Kalteyer, William Henermann, and J. C. Howard, all of San Antonio. Uriah Lott was the principal promoter of the line, and Mifflin Kenedy was contractor for virtually all of the mileage built before 1900. Kenedy received his payment in stocks, bonds, and in the bonuses given the SA&AP, which included $102,950 from the citizens of Corpus Christi and $52,660 from the citizens of Bee County. Between 1885 and 1887 the railroad built 222 miles of track between San Antonio and Corpus Christi and between San Antonio and Kerrville. During the years 1887 and 1888 the SA&AP constructed 176 miles between Kenedy and Houston. An additional 172 miles were completed from Yoakum to Waco between 1887 and 1891. Three branch lines, Gregory to Rockport, twenty-one miles; Skidmore to Alice, forty-three miles; and Shiner to Lockhart, fifty-four miles, were also built in 1888 and 1889. By the end of 1891 the SA&AP was operating 688 miles of main track. On July 14, 1890, the railroad went into receivership with Benjamin F. Yoakum and J. S. McNamara named receivers. A financial reorganization was effected by the SA&AP without any sale of the property, and the receivership was lifted on June 16, 1892. The SA&AP was a competitor in many areas with various Southern Pacific lines and was acquired by the SP in 1892. In that year the SA&AP owned fifty locomotives and 1,388 cars and reported passenger earnings of $401,000 and freight earnings of $1,318,000. The Railroad Commission brought suit in 1903 for forfeiture of the SA&AP charter in order to compel the SP to divest itself of ownership because of violation of the law which prohibited common ownership by parallel and competing lines. As a result of the suit the SP sold its stock in the company, but was required to continue to guarantee the bonds of the SA&AP. In 1904 the railroad began an extension to the lower Rio Grande valley. However, it only built thirty-six miles of track between Alice and Falfurrias, where the SA&AP terminated for the next twenty years. By 1916 it owned eighty-six locomotives and 2,810 cars. In that year the company reported passenger earnings of $1,228,000 and freight earnings of $2,851,000. The Interstate Commerce Commission authorized the SP to regain control of the SA&AP in 1925, and the company was leased to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway Company for operation. Under SP auspices, the SA&AP built 135 miles of track between Falfurrias and McAllen and between Edinburg Junction and Brownsville, which opened in 1927. With the completion of the lines into the lower Rio Grande valley, the SA&AP owned 859 miles of main track. In 1933 the company abandoned forty miles between Shiner and Luling, and in 1934 the remaining 819 miles of track was merged into the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company. With the changes in transportation requirements, much of the former SA&AP has been abandoned. In 1994 remaining portions included the track between Giddings and Cuero, San Antonio and Gregory, San Antonio and Camp Stanley, Houston and Eagle Lake, and Brownsville and McAllen.

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

Nancy Young, “San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995