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WELCOME TO LEN KUBIAK'S TEXAS HISTORY SERIES



History of Trains in Texas



The fore runner to the rairoad was actually invented in Germany in the 1500's. Primitive railed roads consisted of wooden rails over which horse-drawn wagons or carts moved with greater ease than over dirt roads. These wagonways were the beginnings of modern railroads.

By 1776, iron had replaced the wood in the rails and wheels on the carts. Wagonways evolved into Tramways and spread though out Europe. Horses still provided all the pulling power. In 1789, Englishman, William Jessup designed the first wagons with flanged wheels. The flange was a groove that allowed the wheels to better grip the rail, this was an important design that carried over to later locomotives.

The invention of the steam engine was critical to the invention of the modern railroad and trains. In 1803, a man named Samuel Homfray decided to fund the developement of a steam-powered vehicle to replace the horse-drawn carts on the tramways. Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) built that vehicle, the first steam engine tramway locomotive. On February 22, 1804, the locomotive hauled a load of 10 tons of iron, 70 men and five extra wagons the 9 miles between the ironworks at Pen-y-Darron and the town of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. It took about two hours.

In 1821, Englishman, Julius Griffiths was the first person to patent a passenger road locomotive.

In September, 1825, the Stockton & Darlington Railroad Company began as the first railroad to carry both goods and passengers on regular schedules using locomotives designed by English inventor, George Stephenson. Stephenson's locomotive pulled six loaded coal cars and 21 passenger cars with 450 passengers over 9 miles in about one hour.

George Stephenson is considered to be the inventor of the first steam locomotive engine for railways. Richard Trevithick's invention is considered the first tramway locomotive, however, it was a road locomotive, designed for a road and not for a railroad. Stephenson was extremely poor growing up and received little formal education. He worked in local collieries and was self-taught in reading and writing. In 1812, he became a colliery engine builder, and in 1814 he built his first locomotive for the Stockton and Darlington Railway Line. Stephenson was hired as the company engineer and soon convinced the owners to use steam motive power and built the line's first locomotive, the Locomotion. In 1825, Stephenson moved to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, where together with his son Robert built (1826-29) the Rocket.



The Stephenson Locomotive with First Railroad Bridge (1825)

Colonel John Stevens is considered to be the father of American railroads. In 1826 Stevens demonstrated the feasibility of steam locomotion on a circular experimental track constructed on his estate in Hoboken, New Jersey, three years before George Stephenson perfected a practical steam locomotive in England. The first railroad charter in North America was granted to John Stevens in 1815. Grants to others followed, and work soon began on the first operational railroads. George Stephenson is considered to be the inventor of the first steam locomotive engine for railways.


The Tom Thumb, first steam-driven locomotive
to operate on a commercial railroad

In 1830, Peter Cooper of Baltimore successfully tested the Tom Thumb, the first steam-driven locomotive to operate on a commercial railroad in the United States. By 1840, over 2800 miles of track were in operation. However, the bulk of the construction was concentrated in the Northeast.



The Tom Thumb had an engine that weighed less than a ton. Later steam engines weighed over 600 tons!

Capitalists and entrepreneurs naturally concentrated their efforts on the areas of the country that were densely populated and had well-developed markets. As a result, in 1840 there were still no commercial railroads west of the Mississippi and only one operating in the South (in Charleston, South Carolina).

With the revolution behind them, the government of the Republic of Texas recognize the potential that railroads offered to the vast Texas frontier. To try to entice investment, individual cities and counties issued bonds to aid railroad construction, and the republic offered loans and land grants. Texas optimistically chartered its first railroad and construction began in the 1840s. However little progress was made until shortly after Texas became a state and immigration took a marked step up.

The Southern Pacific Railroad notified the Texas government that it has accepted the provisions of Texas law that permits it to operate in the state.

This was not the Southern Pacific that later became one of the major railroads in the United States but a much smaller railroad that operated near Marshall. This railroad was first chartered as the Texas Western in 1852 and changed its name to the Southern Pacific in 1856.

In 1858, the Southern Pacific faced losing its state charter if it did not begin service to Marshall, but the steam locomotive they had ordered had not yet arrived.

The railroad began offering service using ox-drawn rail cars. The oxen pulled the cars up the grades and then rode back down. Later, when the locomotive did arrive, it earned the nickname "The Bull of the Woods" for its habit of "boldly leaving the rails and charging off into the woods like an enraged bull."

Much of the Southern Pacific line, which ran from Caddo Lake to Marshall, was destroyed during the Civil War. What was left of the railroad was acquired by the Texas Pacific in 1871.

Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, & Colorado Railway (1853)

The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, & Colorado Railway became the first operating railroad in Texas (1853). This railroad was also the second railroad west of the Mississippi. The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, & Colorado offered freight and passenger service along a 20-mile track between Harrisburg and Stafford. Other railroads soon followed. By the end of 1861, there were about 470 miles of track in Texas and nine railroad companies. Five of these companies were centered in the Houston area, and all but one served a seaport or river port.


Texas' First Railroad - 1853. Curtesy Highlands Historical Press Inc., Dallas, Texas.


Early Texas railroads were not as safe as most Texans thought they should be. When the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, & Colorado arrived at its low bridge crossing at the Brazos, passengers were offered a chance to get off and take the ferry across rather than risk their lives on the train. The Southern Pacific, located near Marshall, had an engine nicknamed the “Bull of the Woods” for its habit of jumping the tracks and charging into the woods like an enraged bull.

In spite of their shortcomings, the railroads were a major improvement in Texas transportation. In 1854, the 35-mile trip by stagecoach from Houston to Hockley took a day and a half and included an overnight stop. In 1857, it took only an hour and forty minutes by rail. The railroad freight rates were about half of those charged by teamsters, and cotton farmers began to use the roads to ship their product out to market.

The growth of the railroads had a major impact on the lives of ordinary Texans. By 1879, the cotton business, already fueled by the removal of the Indians, the slaughter of the buffalo, and the introduction of barbed wire, had doubled from its pre-Civil War levels.

The rise of cotton was the beginning of the end of the old subsistence way of life. From now on, agriculture would become more and more commercialized. It now paid to specialize in one crop. Once poor but independent, the farmer now found he had new opportunities but a more complicated life. He now depended on the market, on credit from banks, and on the cheap and reliable transportation of the railroad—and they in turn depended on


The 1870's and 1880's saw major expansion of railroad lines criss crossing Texas resulting in the creation of numerous new towns such as Rockdale, Thorndale, Cedar Park, Leander, Reagan, Bremond and others.

Steam Trains of the 1870's Hauled Cotton Bales to Market Creating Dozens of New Texas towns






LEONARD KUBIAK's
TEXAS HISTORY WEBPAGES




NATIONAL HISTORY

History of Thanksgiving.
History of the Hesston Belt Buckle.
Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the U.S.





TEXAS HISTORY

History of the Texas Region from The Dynasaur Era to Historic Times.
How Texas Got It's Name.
Old 300 Anglo Settlers in Texas.
Will Goyens, early-day Texian
Sam Houston
History of the Texas Revolution.
Texas Declaration of Independence (1836).
Jim Bowie, Hero of the Alamo
William Travis, Hero of the Alamo
Goliad Massacre(1836)
Battle of the Alamo (1836)
Battle of San Jacinto
Officers and Men in the Texas Revolution
Important Documents of Early-Day Texas
General Santa Anna
Indian Captive Cynthia Ann Parker
Military Forts in Early Day Texas
History of the Republic of Texas
General George Custer
Generals Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant
Letters by Early-Day Texas Settlers.
Governor John Conally
State Representative Daniel James Kubiak
Jean Kubiak Cundieff Memorial Page


BAILEY COUNTY HISTORY

History of Muleshoe, Hurley, Virginia City, Bailey County, Texas



BURLESON COUNTY HISTORY


History of Deanville, Burleson County, Texas

History of Burleson County, Texas




BURNET COUNTY HISTORY

History of Gabriel Mills, Cedar Mills and Bertram, Texas



FALLS COUNTY HISTORY

Nature Tours on the Historic Brazos River
History of Busksnort and Marlin, Texas
Eye Witness Accounts of Busksnort and Marlin, Texas
History of Cedar Springs, Wilderville, and Rosebud

Pleasant Grove, Falls County, Tx Webpage
Rosebud, Falls County, Tx Webpage
Highbank Webpage and History
History of Reagan, Texas
History of Reagan Baptist Church
History of the Reagan Methodist Church
Reagan Homecoming Page
Reagan Obituaries
Map of Reagan, Texas
Former Residents of Reagan, Texas
Former Students and Teachers of Reagan, Texas
Fond Memories of Life in Reagan
History of Alto Springs
History of Long Branch
History of Blue Ridge
History of North Blue Ridge (Stranger)




FALLS COUNTY CEMETERY LISTINGS

North Blue Ridge (Stranger)Settlement History and Cemetery
Blueridge History and Cemetery Roll
Mustang Prairie Settlement History and Cemetery Listing
History of Cedar Springs, Pleasant Grove, & Wilderville, and cemetery Listings
Waite (Reagan)Cemetery Listing
Blue Ridge (Reagan)Cemetery Listing
Hog Island (Reagan) Cemetery Listing
Johnson (Reagan)Cemetery Listing
Powers/McCaleb(Reagan)Cemetery Listing




HALL COUNTY


Memphis History and Homepage
Turkey History and Homepage



LEE COUNTY HISTORY

History of Tanglewood



LIMESTONE COUNTY HISTORY
Kosse History and Home Page.
Kosse Cemetery Listings.
Kosse Area Obituaries.


MAVERICK COUNTY HISTORY

History of Eagle Pass & Fort Duncan


MILAM COUNTY HISTORY

History of Milam County
History of Rockdale, Thorndale, Bushdale
History of Gause
History of Hamilton Chapel, Cemetery Listing
History and Listing of Rockdale IOOF Cemetery

History of Jones Prairie



ROBERTSON COUNTY HISTORY

History of Bremond
History of Wootan Wells
History of Calvert
Jewish Settlers of Early-Day Calvert


WILLIAMSON COUNTY HISTORY

Leander & Bagdad, Williamson County, Texas Home Page
Liberty Hill, Williamson County, Texas Home Page
Prehistoric History of the Liberty Hill Region
Liberty Hill Settlement in the 1850's
History of the Liberty Hill Stage Coach Stop (1852)
Liberty Hill -Then and Now
The Founding of New Liberty Hill (1882)
Historic Liberty Hill Cemetery Listing.
History of Cedar Park




HISTORY OF TRANSPORTATION

History of Trains in Texas



INDIAN RELEATED HISTORY

Indian Treaty Signed With the Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches in 1867
The Story of Cynthia Ann Parker.
History of the Tarahumara Indians, a primitive tribe living in modern times.


OLD WEST RELATED HISTORY

Another true life tale of life in Early-Day texas
Famous Sam Bass Outlaw Gang
History of the Cowboy and Cattle Drives in Early-Day texas
History of The Western Stagecoach
Cowboys of the Silver Screen.



MISCELLEANEOUS HISTORY

History of Thanksgiving.
History of the Hesston Belt Buckle.








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