Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway

By: Nancy Young

Type: General Entry

Published: August 1, 1995

The Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway Company was chartered on October 17, 1902, to construct a railroad from some point in Johnson County in a southeastern direction to the Beaumont area. The capital stock was $300,000. Although the principal office was originally located at Hillsboro, it was moved to Cleburne and Fort Worth in 1906 and to Houston in 1908. Members of the first board of directors were S. R. Wrightington and Stephen E. Young, both of Boston, Massachusetts; Edward M. House, Robert H. Baker, and E. Sammons, all of Austin; Thomas W. House and John H. B. House, both of Houston; J. C. McDowell of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; and William Malone of San Marcos. Construction began in November 1902, and the line between Hillsboro and Mexia was opened in October 1903. The following January the section between Hillsboro and Cleburne opened for service, making a total of seventy-eight miles of track. The railroad's profits were not as high as expected, and the Eastern financiers refused to put more money into the line. At that time both the Colorado and Southern Railway Company and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company were interested in expanding their respective systems from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Houston and Galveston. Accordingly, on August 1, 1905, the Colorado and Southern bought the Trinity and Brazos Valley. Benjamin F. Yoakum, then chairman of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company, and a director of the Colorado and Southern Railway Company, contracted to complete the Trinity and Brazos Valley. Yoakum subcontracted the actual construction to the firm of P. M. Johnston and Company. Under the terms of the contract, Johnston was paid with stocks and bonds of the Trinity and Brazos Valley, with these securities subsequently purchased by the Colorado and Southern. The Colorado and Southern, in turn, sold one-half of the securities to the Rock Island. Between 1905 and 1907 an additional 224 miles were completed between Mexia and Houston and from Teague to Waxahachie. Tracks of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas were used between Waxahachie and Dallas, while the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe tracks were used between Cleburne and Fort Worth and between Houston and Galveston. At Houston the Trinity and Brazos Valley acquired a one-quarter interest in the Houston Belt and Terminal then being built by Yoakum. Having been unprofitable since 1905, the Trinity and Brazos Valley entered receivership on June 16, 1914, when John W. Robins was named receiver. In 1916 it reported passenger earnings of $200,000 and freight earnings of $842,000. Robins was replaced as receiver by L. H. Atwell, Jr., who was followed by Gen. John A. Hulen in 1919. In 1926 the line reported passenger earnings of $170,000 and freight earnings of $2,600,000, owned thirty-seven locomotives and 1,383 cars, and was listed as a Class I railroad. The company was reorganized in 1930 as the Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Company with Hulen becoming its first president. The Trinity and Brazos Valley called itself the Valley Road, but it was more commonly known as the Boll Weevil.

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

Nancy Young, “Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995