Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway

By: George C. Werner

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Chartered as the Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad on June 22, 1905, the railroad was renamed the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway Company upon resumption of independent operation on April 1, 1923. Members of the first board of directors included R. C. Duff, J. L. Thompson, L. O. Jackson, A. M. Acheson, Alexander Thompson, W. W. Smithey, H. E. Kitcher, William A. Vinson, and Carter Stewart. The business office was in Trinity. The WBT&S operated forty-eight miles from Weldon through Trinity to Livingston. On April 8, 1924, the company purchased sixty-six miles between Trinity and Colmesneil from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Company of Texas (Katy), making a total system of 114 miles. The Katy had acquired the B&GN from Duff in 1912 and in 1914 leased the company for ninety-nine years. However, the Katy entered receivership in 1915, and the reorganized company, which emerged in 1923, had no need for the "orphan" lines in East Texas. Duff reacquired the B&GN stock held by the Katy and, for $100,000, purchased the Katy's Sabine Division from Trinity to Colmesneil. Duff continued to press for the extension of the WBT&S to both Waco and Beaumont and, although he obtained authority from the Interstate Commerce Commission for the new construction, he was unable to secure the necessary financing. In 1926 the line had six locomotives and fifty-eight cars and received $25,802 in passenger earnings and $243,020 in freight earnings. However, the depletion of timber resources along the WBT&S, coupled with the early effects of the Great Depression, forced the company into receivership on February 8, 1930. This receivership lasted until the railroad was totally abandoned in 1961 and was the longest bankruptcy of any Texas railroad. Abandonment of the line began in 1936 with the line from Trinity to Colmesneil. In 1941 the outer eight miles of the Weldon line was removed, and in 1949 the twenty-four miles between Luce and Livingston was retired. The WBT&S suspended operations in 1959, when its only locomotive was condemned, and the last track was removed in 1961. The company was widely known by its nickname Wobble, Bobble, Turnover, and Stop, which is perhaps the best indication of the condition of the railroad during much of its life.

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

George C. Werner, “Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/waco-beaumont-trinity-and-sabine-railway.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995