Abandoned Rails of

Greenville, Texas

Greenville, 60 miles northeast of Dallas and established in 1846, has a varied railroad history dating back to 1880 when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Extention railway first laid tracks there. Subsequent railroad companies appeared in the prospering town soon after, including the East Line and Red River Railroad in 1881, the Dallas and Greenville Railway in 1886, the St. Louis and Southwestern Railway in 1887, and the Texas Midland line in 1896. This influx of railroads helped to establish Greenville as a leading cotton market in the area; the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad even thought it beneficial to locate their machine shops there.

Today, Greenville is served by three railroads: Kansas City Southern (nee-MKT, ex-L&A); the Dallas, Garland and Northeasthern (ex-MKT tracks); and the Blacklands Railroad (ex-Cotton Belt tracks). Texas Tower 64 previously guarded the crossing of the MKT and Cotton Belt; while no longer in use, the lower half of the tower remains.

Sources: The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas Interlocking Towers website, Jim Satterwhite

This shows the area around Tower 64, with an "advance-approach" ...
This shows the area around Tower 64, with an "advance-approach" semaphore in the background.
Here is the lower half of former Tower 64. The ledge above the d...
Here is the lower half of former Tower 64. The ledge above the door served as a platform to the door on the second floor, with a set of stairs leading up to it along the outside wall.
A closeup of the signal control boxes, which are no longer used.
A closeup of the signal control boxes, which are no longer used.
Tower 64 still stands near the crossing it served. The tracks in...
Tower 64 still stands near the crossing it served. The tracks in the foreground are former MKT tracks, now owned by DGNO.
Another close-up of the control boxes, this time with their prev...
Another close-up of the control boxes, this time with their previous owners easily identified. The track across the picture is ex-SSW, ex-L&A trackage, current in use by Blacklands Railroad. Its current western terminus is about a quarter-mile to the right of this picture.
This is the distant signal for DGNO trains approaching the KCS i...
This is the distant signal for DGNO trains approaching the KCS interchange. It's rare to see a new semaphore these days.
East of Tower 64 along the Blacklands Railroad (ex-SSW), we see ...
East of Tower 64 along the Blacklands Railroad (ex-SSW), we see the remains of a tri-color signal, rotated 90-degrees to the main. The tracks from the east up to this point are still used for storage.
This signal is no longer used.
This signal is no longer used.
Wonder how old this signal is, and the last time it was used?
Wonder how old this signal is, and the last time it was used?
To the east of Hunt Yard, the ex-MKT trackage splits. The main t...
To the east of Hunt Yard, the ex-MKT trackage splits. The main track heads north to Denison (seen in the background on the left); the abandoned tracks represent the original right-of-way eastward out of town; the newer tracks in the foreground is the new KCS alignment.
The abandoned right-of-way is still marked by crossties
The abandoned right-of-way is still marked by crossties
Here is a view looking back to the west, where the abandoned ROW...
Here is a view looking back to the west, where the abandoned ROW joins the new alignment; the tracks continue on to Hunt Yard.
The tracks continue eastward. Just beyond the slight curve to th...
The tracks continue eastward. Just beyond the slight curve to the left, they approach the old MKT overpass, which is no longer there.
Following the abandoned MKT tracks, we find an old railroad coal...
Following the abandoned MKT tracks, we find an old railroad coal dump buried in the trees.
This is what remains of the former MKT machine shops.
This is what remains of the former MKT machine shops.
These chutes were used to unload hoppers full of commodity into ...
These chutes were used to unload hoppers full of commodity into open-top trucks waiting below.
The remains of the MKT overpass (which was the starting point fo...
The remains of the MKT overpass (which was the starting point for MKT's Mineola Branch) can be seen here in this view looking northward. KCS's existing tracks can be seen below, with the ex-MKT right-of-way barely visible in the background.
A close-up of the abutment on the north side of the overpass.
A close-up of the abutment on the north side of the overpass.
The remains of the south abutments of the overpass are nearly ov...
The remains of the south abutments of the overpass are nearly overcome by tall grasses and trees.
An old wooden plank stands tall to mark the bridge's old locatio...
An old wooden plank stands tall to mark the bridge's old location.
To the south of the bridge, we can see the earthen ramp leading ...
To the south of the bridge, we can see the earthen ramp leading up to the bridge's elevation.
Further evidence of MKT's Mineola Branch -- the street name that...
Further evidence of MKT's Mineola Branch -- the street name that parallels the right-of-way is appropriately named. The railheads can be seen poking through the pavement.
Here the tracks cross Caddo Street.
Here the tracks cross Caddo Street.
Beyond Caddo Street, the tracks continue southward towards Mineo...
Beyond Caddo Street, the tracks continue southward towards Mineola, TX. The right-of-way has been obliterated almost completely within Greenville; it can be picked up on/parallel to US 69 south of town.
This area shows the location of the old alignment; little eviden...
This area shows the location of the old alignment; little evidence of it remains.
A grade crossing of the former MKT tracks with St. John's Street...
A grade crossing of the former MKT tracks with St. John's Street.
On the east side of Greenville, the old ROW rejoins the new. Loo...
On the east side of Greenville, the old ROW rejoins the new. Looking back west, we can see the extensive road work and highway overpass that has rendered the abandoned ROW almost untraceable. The new KCS tracks are to the right, and cross the former ROW near the control cabin in the background.
Looking back to the west, we can see where the old MKT right-of-...
Looking back to the west, we can see where the old MKT right-of-way meets up with the new KCS right-of-way.
This lonely MKT rail brings to an end the Greenville Tour.
This lonely MKT rail brings to an end the Greenville Tour.

—  User Comments  —

The St. Louis Southwestern Railway did not exist until 1891. The railroad that built into Greenville in 1887 was the St. Louis Arkansas and Texas a predecessor company of St. Louis Southwestern.

Ed Cooper
Shelbyville, KY
5/14/2009