Texas Trunk Railroad

By: Nancy Young

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1995

The Texas Trunk Railroad Company was chartered on November 6, 1879, to build from Dallas southeast to the Gulf Coast near Sabine Pass in Jefferson County. A branch was also planned to connect the main line in Angelina or Tyler county with the Louisiana border. The total distance of the proposed project was 350 miles. The capital stock was $5 million, and the principal office was located at Dallas. Members of the first board of directors were Josiah G. Graves of North Scituate, Massachusetts; Jonathan F. Ely of Canton, Ohio; George H. Ely of Cleveland, Ohio; Daniel R. Sortwell of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Malcolm Henderson, James B. Simpson, and William L. Cabell, all of Dallas; James T. Vanston of Kaufman County; and D. A. Robinson of Denton. The railroad was projected to reach the timber acreage of East Texas while expanding the trade area served by Dallas. By August 1881 the Texas Trunk had completed thirty-six miles between Dallas and Kaufman, which handled only local traffic. On December 5, 1881, the railroad was placed in receivership with Thomas M. Simpson as receiver. Simpson was the first of seven receivers who handled the affairs of the Texas Trunk during most of its twenty years of existence. The company was sold at foreclosure on May 1, 1883, and on July 2, 1883, the property was transferred to a new Texas Trunk, which was organized under the original charter. Between June 15, 1883, and December 1, 1883, the railroad was extended sixteen miles from Kaufman to Cedar (later known as Gossett). In two sales held in July and August 1885 the properties of the second Texas Trunk were sold to J. E. Schneider and others, who operated the railroad until it was acquired by the third Texas Trunk Railroad Company, which was organized about November 19, 1885. The third company was more successful than the earlier organizations, as it operated the railroad until September 25, 1889, before it too entered receivership. This receivership lasted two months and was terminated on November 22, 1889. However, in less than two years the railroad was back in the hands of the court, when it entered receivership for the third time on September 4, 1891. The property was acquired by Edward H. Pardee on April 9, 1896, who conveyed the railroad to the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company on November 25, 1899. The act of the Twenty-sixth Legislature that authorized the Texas and New Orleans to acquire the Texas Trunk also required the purchaser to construct a connecting link between Cedar and an existing line at Rockland within four years. By 1903 the 160-mile line via Athens and Nacogdoches was completed, thus forming a through route between Dallas, Beaumont, and Sabine Pass. This line is now largely abandoned.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

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

Nancy Young, “Texas Trunk Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-trunk-railroad.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: