Texas Western Railroad

By: George C. Werner

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: December 1, 1995

Two of the three railroad companies named Texas Western were chartered on the same day, February 16, 1852. One, which proposed to build from Corpus Christi Bay to the Rio Grande, never progressed beyond the charter stage. The other company chartered on the same day had a checkered existence. Although the legislative act creating the railroad was captioned Vicksburg and El Paso Railroad Company, the body of the charter called the line the Texas Western. This difference in names was never questioned, and subsequent acts of the Texas legislature referred to the company as the "Vicksburg and El Paso Railroad Company, or Texas Western Railroad Company." The company was one of several transcontinental routes chartered during the antebellum period, and was projected to run from the eastern boundary line of Texas to El Paso. The charter was acquired for $600,000 in stock by the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company, which used it to bid for the right to construct the railroad authorized by the Mississippi and Pacific Act. However, the eastern backers of the Atlantic and Pacific did not comply with the requirements of the latter act, and the company was reorganized as the Texas Western in December 1854. The charter was subsequently reacquired by the Texas promoters of the line and was amended; the name was changed to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company by the legislature over the governor's veto on August 16, 1856. This company was a predecessor of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company and not a part of the later Southern Pacific. During 1857 the railroad constructed twenty-three miles of track between Marshall and Swanson's Landing on Caddo Lake. During the Civil War part of the line to Caddo Lake was taken up, and the rails were relaid to Waskom where connection was made with the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas Railway Company, thus forming a line between Marshall and Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1869 the company completed an additional twenty-three miles from Marshall to Longview. The Southern Pacific was sold to the Texas Pacific Railroad Company on March 21, 1872.

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

George C. Werner, “Texas Western Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 21, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-western-railroad.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995