Denison to Bells

The Denison and Southeastern Railway

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Evidence of the former right-of-way at 7th Avenue in Denison, TX. Photo by Greg Harrison, February 2009.

The intent of the Denison and Southeastern Railway, chartered on July 27, 1877, was to build a railroad line connecting the towns of Denison and Greenville to the south. They completed the first 20 miles of track between Denison and Whitewright in the early 1880s.

In March of 1880, the D&S was acquired (along with the nearby Denison and Pacific Railroad) by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which renamed the line the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Extension Railway Company. In November of the following year, the line was merged entirely into the MKT's system. Consequently, the MKT was considered the first railroad to enter the state of Texas from the north. By this time, the remainder of the line between Whitewright and Greenville, 32 miles, had been completed.

In 1989, the MKT was merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad (itself a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad). To shed excess trackage as a result of the acquisition of the MKT, UP abandoned the section of the D&S between its northern terminus at Denison and a connection with a Texas Northeastern line (formerly UP, nee Texas & Pacific's Transcontinental Division) at Bells, TX, in 1990. The D&S continues southward from Bells to Greenville and is still in use.

Today, only a few artifacts remain along the abanodned right-of-way of the Denison and Southeastern Railway.

Interlocking Towers

Nbr Location Railroads Type Authorized Retired Map
20 Bells MKT, T&P    Mechanical 7/27/1903
93 Denison MKT, H&TC    Electrical-Pneumatic 10/2/1913 1990
Other abandonments: The Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad   

The smaller concrete box was the battery bunker. The larger one is typical of what most likely had a Union Switch & Signal Co. style S semaphore signal erected on it that were all over the MKT lines before 1984 when the last bastion of them were retired from service after many decades of service and the parts began to wear out and were no longer available as they to were out of production for many year by that point. The signal seen here could have actully had the semaphore head removed an had an H5 searchlight signal head replace it at some point which was a practice many railroads did at some point and was less costly than to replace and upgrade the entire signal structure. This replaced the antiquated semaphore head with a newer superior state of the art type signal at the time that parts were available for to maintain. In 1921 this type of semaphore was considered modern. These old concrete signal foundations can still be found along many abandoned MKT right of ways sometimes with the H5 searchlight heads still intact.

Michael North
Keller, TX
2/12/2009

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Some great pictures! I would love to stumble across an abandoned route like this.

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY
2/14/2009

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It looks slightly eerie!!! You kinda expect the local teenagers to dare the other kids to walk down the abandoned line telling them about the Killer Hobo or Headless Brakeman!!

Jouh T.Patterson
Mansfield, TX
4/30/2009

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These shots are great of the old Katy Run, I'm a big fan of the M-K-T as well of the New York Central.

Tommy Leonard
Camillus, NY
5/3/2009

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My family and I drove this line right after it was abanonded and the track pulled. We videotaped the whole thing. Kinda boring, but kinda fun. There was some real pucker power going on when we drove across the old bridges! The double track photos here appear to be the old "Penland" siding, about 2/3 of the way to Bells from Denison.

John Markl
Sherman
8/2/2009

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The photo of the bridge supports is on our ranch just outside of Bells. I can remember that old bridge when I was a kid. I wish they would have left it there, it was really neat to drive underneath. The good thing is that it left a great road through the ranch where they took out the tracks.

Danny
Georgetown , TX
5/5/2010

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The house I grew up in 1977-1993. Those tracks ran behind my house.

Ben
Denison, TX
1/23/2011

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If you drive along Hwy 69 from Greenville to Bells, it runs parallel to the Dallas, Garland, and Northeastern's former Katy line. (Which is still active and in use.) Along this route you will find abandoned signals, relay cabinets, some stone signal bases (Where the signal mast has been removed....), telegraph poles still standing, and stone interlocking buildings.

Joe
Alvarado, TX
7/31/2011

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I have two photos that I took on the old MKT right of way in Denison, TX right next to the Eisenhower birth house. one of the photos shows where somebody pulled some old ties and rails together to form a makeshift reconstruction of the tracks. I will email them to you if you want to add them to this sight. Send email if interested.

David Nygaard
Plano, TX
1/17/2016

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/k51
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