Texas Mexican Railway

By: George C. Werner

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1996

The Texas Mexican Railway Company was chartered in March 1875 as the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad Company; the name was changed in June 1881. Promoted by Uriah Lott and with the financial support of Richard King and Mifflin Kenedy, the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande built fifty-two miles of three-foot-gauge track from Corpus Christi to San Diego between 1876 and 1879. In 1881 Lott and Kenedy visited New York, where they arranged to sell the railroad to the syndicate headed by William J. Palmer and James Sullivan, who were then involved in the construction of the Mexican National Railway between Nuevo Laredo and Mexico City. The new owners changed the name to the Texas Mexican Railway Company, and the company, now adequately financed, completed the remaining 110 miles to Laredo in September 1881. The amended charter also provided for considerable additional mileage, including a line from San Diego to Burr's Ferry on the Sabine River with branches to Tyler, Galveston, San Antonio, and Sabine Pass. The projected extensions would have given the Texas Mexican about 1,400 miles of track. In 1881 the company bought the Galveston, Brazos and Colorado Railroad Company for an entry into Galveston, but the connecting track was never built. Between 1881 and December 31, 1888, the Texas Mexican was operated directly by the Mexican National. With the completion of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway into Alice in 1885, the Texas Mexican was able to participate in through traffic between the United States and Mexico. The Texas Mexican absorbed the Texas Mexican Northern Railway Company in 1906 and in 1930 acquired the San Diego and Gulf Railway Company. On July 17, 1902, the railroad was converted to standard gauge. In 1939 the company acquired seven diesel units, becoming the first railroad of its size in the United States to completely dieselize its operations. In 1940 the company began operating the nineteen-mile railroad built for the United States government from Corpus Christi to the naval air station at Flour Bluff. Laredo is the major port of entry for railroad traffic between the United States and Mexico, and the Texas Mexican presently handles international traffic through Laredo for the Southern Pacific line. The United States portion of the international bridge at Laredo is operated jointly by the Texas Mexican and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company. Since January 1, 1889, the company has been operated by its own organization, although until recently the securities of the railroad have been owned by the National Railways of Mexico as successor to the Mexican National. The company is now owned by Mexrail.

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

George C. Werner, “Texas Mexican Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 12, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-mexican-railway.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996