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MOSCOW, CAMDEN AND SAN AUGUSTINE RAILROAD

MOSCOW, CAMDEN AND SAN AUGUSTINE RAILROAD. The Moscow, Camden and San Augustine Railroad Company was chartered on May 18, 1898, by William Thomas and Ernest A. Carter, who owned the W. T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company. The railroad was planned to connect Moscow in Polk County with San Augustine fifty miles to the east. The capital was $250,000, and the principal place of business was Camden. Members of the first board of directors were C. H. Jones of Galveston; J. E. McAshan of Houston, J. A. Handley, of Hortense; E. J. Mantooth of Lufkin; S. Bergman and D. L. Jones, both of Moscow; and W. T. Carter, E. A. Carter, and Jack Thomas, all of Camden. The line from Moscow to Camden, a distance of seven miles, was built for the railroad by the lumber company in 1899. W. T. Carter moved his operations to Camden where he had extensive timber holdings after a fire destroyed his sawmill at Barnum in 1897. The railroad connected the mill with the Houston East and West Texas Railway Company at Moscow. Although chartered to run as far east as San Augustine, the company only extended a short distance east of Camden where it intersected a tram line that brought logs from Camp Ruby. This connection formed a Y, which allowed the locomotives to be turned.

The Moscow, Camden and San Augustine quickly paid for itself as it returned $56,500 in dividends during the first twenty years. Only $9,000 was paid out as cash dividends, the balance was a transfer from surplus in the profit and loss account to the credit of the open account with the various stockholders. This discharged their indebtedness for unpaid subscriptions. Due to the close relation of the railroad to the W. T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company, locals suggested that the initials on the side of the locomotive tender stood for "Mr. Carter and Sid Adams," the owner and longtime superintendent, respectively, of the sawmill. The Moscow, Camden and San Augustine never owned much rolling stock; for much of its history it only had one or two locomotives and a combination baggage-coach with space for express, passengers, and a desk for the conductor. Freight traffic, originally lumber from the sawmill and later supplemented by pulp wood or wood chips, was carried in cars provided by its connecting railroad. In 1903 the railroad reported passenger earnings of $500 and freight earnings of $15,000. By 1952 the amounts were $100 and $50,000, respectively.

The railroad had an interesting operation at Moscow. The train was left on a hill outside of town while the locomotive was uncoupled and turned on a turntable for the return trip. Once this was done, the brakes were released on the cars which then coasted into a siding at the depot. This practice ended in April 1959 when the railroad leased a locomotive that was too large for the turntable. Instead of being turned at Moscow, it ran forward from Camden to Moscow and backed up on the return trip. Passenger service on the Moscow, Camden and San Augustine increased in the late 1950s, when a ride on the railroad's mixed freight and passenger train became somewhat of a tourist attraction. The railroad was also the last common carrier in Texas to use steam locomotives in regular service, but after 1965 only diesel engines were in use. Passenger revenues peaked in the early 1970s and were nearly $2,800 in 1972. However, passenger service was discontinued in July 1973 due to the age of the combine used to carry passengers, which dated from 1898, and the fear of potential accidents at the busy Highway 59 crossing near Moscow.

In 1968 the Carter family sold the sawmill, timber lands, and railroad to what was then United States Plywood-Champions Paper, Incorporated. The railroad became an active subsidiary of that company which became known as Champion International, Incorporated. On June 30, 2000, the railroad was acquired by International Paper Company and in April 2007 the Georgia-Pacific Wood Products South LLC, a subsidiary of Georgia Pacific LLC, purchased the International Paper Camden complex which included the railroad assets.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

A Pictorial History of Polk County, Texas, 1846–1910 (Livingston, Texas: Polk County Bicentennial Commission, 1976; rev. ed. 1978). “Moscow, Camden & San Augustine Railroad MCSA #548” (http://www.uprr.com/customers/shortline/lines/mcsa.shtml), accessed March 21, 2012.

 

 

George C. Werner

Citation

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

George C. Werner, "MOSCOW, CAMDEN AND SAN AUGUSTINE RAILROAD," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqm09), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 26, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.