Brenham to Giddings, TX
— ICC Abandonment Filings —
|Southern Pacific Railroad|
|Docket: AB 12 Sub 56||11/1/1976||Section: 1a|
|Application filed for authority to abandon a line of railroad extending from MP 20.86 near Brenham in a westerly direction to the end of the line at MP 55.78 near Giddings, a distance of 34.92 miles in Washington, Fayette and Lee Counties, Tex. (This line includes the stations of Brenham, Mill Creek, Burton, Carmine and Ledbetter).|
|Length: 34.92 miles|
— User Comments —
why can't this line be saved for the use of rail bikes
elder people can ride these bikes when they can't ride on the paths after the rail is gone . this could bring more money to the company than destroying the rail
bike rides in summer in Texas ? not by me !
It can't be used because highway 290 has been expanded onto much of the right of way.
It is amazing that there is hardly any evidence left of the ROW. I have only been able to find where it veers N off of 290 just east of Carmine. The land owner is clearing the ROW for some reason and you can see what is left of a trestle. When the SP abandons, they really abandon!
The lines which could still be used today for passenger service is staggering. Now who would rather take a bus instead of a rail motor between many destinations? Give me a rail motor any day over highway traffic.
Rail bikes would be a great thing indeed. I build rail equipment in the 18" gauge size and would be no trouble increasing to standard gauge.
Can anyone comment on whether this line ever went to Chappell Hill?
To Jim M.and all- Yes it did go to Chappell Hill, and Hempstead. It originates as a branch off the Houston to Hempstead line, along Hwy 290. In downtown Hempstead, you can see where the line curves off to the west (bed only) and follows "Austin Branch Rd" out of town just south of 290. A satellite image shows remains of the bridge supports in the Brazos river. It passes just south of Chappell Hill, still south of 290, behind the Lazy Mule Saloon, and comes into Brenham from the southeast, up to and directly behind the Bluebell Creamery and into downtown, then exits to the west to follow Old Mill Creek Rd. On Mill Creek Rd you can see the big pieces of pink granite that fell off the flat cars on their way from the Llano area to Galveston after the hurricane of 1900 to build the seawall. The portion out to the Brazos river existed during the Civil War and abandon I believe in the early '50's.
Thanks for the great information on this right-of-way. My interest has been more east to Hempstead, but I'm going to continue to extend that west. I have shot some photos that may be helpful in understanding the current condition of the old right-of-way between Hempstead and Giddings, and how little time it takes, especially in Texas, to obscure or obliterate signs of it.
Uhm.. It says to Giddings but the track that remains from Giddings through Paige, to west of McDade, to Elgin is over grown and even paved over at some crossings with significant neglect. Looks as if that part of the line has been out of use as well for some time.
I would vounteer to turn the abondon rail into a walk and bike trail, as great the silver comet trail in Georgia and Alabama. This would be great for all in the state of Texas. If you don't like to walk, ride a bike, so why not make use of the old rails land. Who could we contact to maks this happen, surely their some companies that would support the trails? Can we get the local cities to participate and organize a goup effort to make this happen? Please, lets do it!
I am able to volunteer my time to make this abondoned rail line into a hike and bike trail,as great as the silver comet trail from Georgia to Alabama.These abandoned rails turned into walk and bike trails can and will boost economic prosperity into these communities.
There is a national organization "Rails to Trails" that would be interested in any of these.
I was an engineer on the SPRR from 1971 until I retired--traveled over much of the SPRR tracks from South to North and even to Dension. my division was what was formely called the H & T C ( Houston Texas Central) I fired for old heads that use to run the Sunbeam from Houston to Dallas as well as Houston to Austin. In my early years I worked the Austin extra board and was called to run the Brenham Local out of Austin. The bridge
between Brenham and Hempstead burned some time back in the early fifties and SP decided not to rebuild it. At one time there was at least ten miles of track left on the Austin mainline where they would store railcars.
This former SP line (Houston & Texas Central) was abandoned from Brenham, east to Hempstead (about 21 miles) possibly as late as 1960. Included on this line was a bridge over the Brazos River. There are cement abutments remaining at the river itself which leads me to believe there were steel spans over the river proper and probably wooden trestles approaching from the east and west. In the 1970s I spoke with an old conductor that had worked this line when it was intact. He said the reason for the abandonment of the Brenham-Hempstead portion was due to the shifting/sinking of the bridge supports at the Brazos River. The conductor advised that the Roadmaster responsible for that portion of the line told him that the railroad was aware of the shifting and attempted to stop it by pumping large amounts of cement into the ground around the supports. This failed to stop the shifting. A by-product of the cement pumping was a plugging-up of some of the water wells at farm houses in the immediate area. At this point, SP realized that a solution to the shifting situation was going to be very expensive and chose to abandon the line rather than spend additional money at the Brazos River bridge. The conductor further advised that the railroad ran loaded aggregate trains (sometimes over 100 cars) over this very bridge right up until the line was closed.
I ran across the line when I took old mill creek road,25, from burton to Hempstead, I noticed an old bridge on someone's property, made with some scrap rail and limestone, then the row became clear to me, wasn't even looking for an old rail bed, loved it. I have a pic of it if anybody wants it, email me. firstname.lastname@example.org