Hillsboro to Waxahachie

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The former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad passenger depot in Waxahachie, TX. Photo by Robert Alford.

This abandoned railway was originally built by the Dallas & Waco Railroad in 1886 to connect its two namesake towns; it was completed in 1890. It made connection with the main line of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT, or "The Katy") in Hillsboro, north of Waco, and built northeast through Waxahachie to reach Dallas. The D&W created a junction with its line to the Houston & Texas Central Railroad (H&TC) in Waxahachie; shortly after, the MKT bought the D&W and the line. The UP acquired the line through mergers, but did not utilize it since they already had a line that accessed the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex from the south.

The line was abandoned south of Waxahachie to Hillsboro in segments, with the final segment abandoned as recently as 2002; some parts of the track in Waxahachie, the last remaining on the line, were removed in January 2008. For a time before abandonment, the section of track between Waxahachie and Hillboro was owned by SF&L, a scrap dealer/broker.

Interlocking Towers

Nbr Location Railroads Type Authorized Retired Map
44 Hillsboro MKT, StL&SW, T&BV    Mechanical 7/7/1904 1940
167 Hillsboro MKT, B-RI    Unknown
Other abandonments: Corsicana to Hillsboro, Cleburne to Teague   
174 Italy MKT, TE    Unknown 2/24/1931

excellent pics, hopefully someday this line will see trains again as the talk of commuter trains out of the DFW metroplex is back on the agenda for the future

Kyle
San Marcos, TX
4/22/2009

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AWESOME PICTURES!! This line is the basis for my free-lanced short line HO Scale model train layout (appropriately named The Waxahachie and Hillsboro Railroad). A short section of this line running north from Hillsboro still exists, and is in use by UP to serve a lumber yard.

Joe
Keene, TX
5/22/2009

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Great shots as i have enjoyed them all. I am a big MKT & RI fan & modeler. I was wondering once the RI reached Waxahachie what were did it go from there running south as the MKT had two line that came into Waxahachie.

Todd
Beaumont, TX
7/4/2009

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There's one line, abandoned from the Union Pacific crossing at Corsicana, west. the bed has no rails. Was this the old Cotton Belt to Hillsboro or the old interurban line? Alot of the old interurban line bed sticks out like a sore thumb from Corsicana to Dallas. Old culverts stand, used by farmers and ranchers.

Raybourne Ricks "Hank" Gupton
Anahuac (Anna-wack), TX
8/12/2009

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the line extended to just south of Wax. until a few years ago. When were the rails pulled up down to Italy,Forreston and Milford. There is still a long concrete bridge next to hwy 77 just north of Italy, a great sight to see

jeffrey smith
midlothian, TX
8/24/2009

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I have answer to Hank from Anahuac question about the abandoned grade out of Corsicana. It was the Cotton Belt that ran down to Waco and then Gatesville.

I still would like an answer to my first question, when did the MKT rails get pulled up from south of Wax. down thru Italy,Forreston and Milford?

Jeffrey Smith
Midlothian, TX
8/30/2009

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I think I can answer Jeffrey's question. Be advised, I'm not 100% sure, and wouldn't mind if someone corrects me. A former MKT employee at a train show told me that the line was actually abandoned by the MKT ITSELF, probably around 1986. The rails were pulled up from Italy to Nena, and the rest of the line saw VERY minimal use, or was used for freight car storage. This continued after UP acquired the line in 1988. The line was actually now TWO segments. Hillsboro-Italy, and Waxahachie-Nena. UP abandoned the Hillsboro-Italy segment in 1995 and sold it to scrap dealer A&K Railroad Materials (Which gave it the name SF&L, just for the purpose of legally abandoning it). Upon personally visiting this line in October 1996, I discovered that the rails were freshly pulled up, as grade-crossing signals, signs, and telegraph poles were still in place. A short section running north from Hillsboro still remains, and is used by UP to serve a lumber yard, and for MOW equipment storage. The junction at Hillsboro formed a WYE, but the south leg of it has been pulled up. The author of this site is correct about the abandonment of the Waxahachie-Nena segment. It was abandoned in 2002, and pulled up by 2008, although no one has mentioned that this segment was actually sold to BNSF, and operated jointly by UP/BNSF. Hope this helps!!

Joe
Keene
11/22/2009

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Thanks to Joe for his answers to my questions about the abandonment of the MKT south of WAX. thru Italy to Hillsboro. I figured it must have been before the UP takeover due to the fact that south of Nena the old roadbed goes thru several mobile homes and that there are 2 small 10ft trestles that are 6ft higher than the grade is now, which would indicate that the roadbed has eroded significantly. This amount of erosion would have taken many years to complete. Any other details about this line would be great.

Thanks for the update.

Jeffrey Smith
Midlothian, TX
12/27/2009

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News flash, the old MKT depot and land from Waxahachie to Nena has been purchased by the City of Waxahachie, and has been marked no trespassing along the route. The Depot's restoration has began about a week ago and will (sadly be used as city offices) a lot of the old signs and signals has been grabbed up by the City Fire Chief and displayed in his Pullman home yard just off the old Katy line. I had the opportunity to catch the UP guys working there on the line before the rails were pulled and was given a switch dated 1898 now displayed in my backyard. Any questions or photo's anyone would like send me a note to: robertalford52899@sbcglobal.net ( I will respond but it may take me a little while, so please be patient.)

Robert Alford
Waxahachie, TX
5/19/2010

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Answer for the Rock Island line running out of Waxahachie. It is still in use as it was a joint line with Southern Pacific-, Ft Worth and Denver- and C.R.I & P. The BNSF now parks long trains here on the East side of town every weekend. The railroad guys tell me the UP gave up there section to the BNSF when MKT was abandoned in which was only about a mile into the downtown yard from the west. The UP and BNSF have to take turns waiting on each other on the West side of town at there crossing there at least once a day. I was lucky to be off the day the BIG BOY from the UP came through town on its way to Ennis. Great fun chasing trains.

Robert Alford
Waxahachie, TX
5/19/2010

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Does anyone know the exact street address for the Waxahachie depot?? (600 South Rogers Street??)

Joe
Keene, TX
5/30/2010

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I will have to check, I think it sets on an unmarked street on the count it sits sideways to I will get back with you on that.

Robert Alford
Waxahachie, TX
6/9/2010

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Thank You Robert for the update for answering the RI question.

Todd
Lumberton, TX
6/9/2010

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The Chamber of commerce says the section in front of the Depot will be Katy Street. When work is done as of now there is no official address for the Depot.

Robert Alford
Waxahachie, TX
6/12/2010

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OK....THANKS for the answer Robert....Appreciate you checking into it.

Joe
Keene, TX
6/14/2010

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Like to add some more info to this page. The Rock Island passenger and freight depots were build by the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railroad, later becoming the Burlington-Rock Island Railroad. Sometime in the 1960's, the B-RI became the F&WD/RI Joint Texas Division. The both ex-B-RI depots were sold to The Nay Company sometime in the early 1970s. The Katy depot became a joint agency station with the FW&D/RI.

The Rock went bankrupted March 31, 1980. FW&D became Burlington Northern and took control of the line from Waxahachie, Corsicana, Teague to Casey in North Houston.

B-RI and thru out to BN...Trackage rights with the Katy from ENDOT (Forrest Ave. - Dallas) to Waxahachie.

Years later... BNSF bought the ex-MKT Dallas to Waxahachie right after the UP/SP merger. UP still serves the industries in Sterrett and up in Lancaster. UP, then later BNSF did service Boyce Gin and Grain down south of Waxahachie. That service was dropped and later the tracks were taken out of service later to be abandon.

BNSF did gain trackage right over the ex-Espee from Ft. Worth to SP JCT in Waxahachie. This is due to TRE commuter train traffic on the old RI between Ft. Worth and Dallas.

The Hillsboro segement is still intact for a few miles past Dana Jct. The MKT overpass over IH35 was taken down sometime in 2006 after TXDoT widen IH35 from four lanes to six.

Michael Ellis
Palestine, TX
12/20/2010

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Part Two.

I had a clipping that my late aunt that lived in Waxahachie gave me about the Katy depot. When the depot was sold to the city in 1989, someone with the UP railroad forgot to tell the city that they bought the depot, not the land underneath it! The city had plans to restore the depot, but since they didn't own the land, had to lease the building out. The Boyce Gin & Grain feed store leased the building for hay & feed storage. Afterwards, the depot fell in disarray.

Michael Ellis
Palestine, TX
12/20/2010

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Part Three..

I also am modeling this line as part of my Teague, Mexia, Rock Island & Gulf HO scale regional line. It joins up with my old T&BV line that used to run though Hillsboro. I've done several years of research and photos of this line. Hope to share some of that here or on my future FB page.

Michael Ellis
Palestine, TX
12/20/2010

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I model this line, too. I'm surprised that more people don't because 1. It was so recently abandoned (3-15 years). 2. It's an MKT line (Probably the most popular railroad in Texas). And 3. It had so many interchanges (UP, BNSF, SP, TBV, Cotton Belt, Rock Island, and possibly MP[IGN]).

Joe
Alvarado, TX
2/6/2011

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PART TWO-I am about to begin construction on my newest and latest version of the model railroad layout. (We moved about a year ago, forcing me to start over.) It will be a simple shelf layout (For the time being, anyway....Until I can build a larger layout.), due to space constraints. My version depicts a fictitious small town, north of Italy, where a connection was made (I think....) with Missouri Pacific's IGN line. (Close examination of satellite imagery of the area reveals a curving spur, running off the MKT main line and crossing Hwy 77, that appears to have joined with the IGN line.) Look for "The Waxahachie And Hillsboro Railroad" Facebook Page coming soon....

Joe
Alvarado, TX
2/6/2011

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I have recently found out that this line and MP's IGN line DID NOT interchange at Italy. Thanks to Robert for providing this information. Also, sorry "The Waxahachie And Hillsboro Railroad" Facebook Page didn't exactly take off as I planned. Computer problems, delayed work on the layout, and a decision to change the theme of the layout a little blew that idea out of the water. This does remain an interesting line, however. I visit it often.

Joe
Alvarado, TX
6/12/2011

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Correction!!-I have discovered that this line and MP's IGN line DID have an interchange at Italy, Texas. This line remains the basis for my model railroad layout, and the "Waxahachie And Hillsboro Railroad" Facebook Page is NOW up and running!!

Joe
Alvarado, TX
2/10/2012

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Hi, does anyone have info or pics of the MKT rails around Waxahachie and/or further to the south actually being dismantled and pulled up? I only got to see some skid steer loaders cleaning up after the rails were already removed around Howard Road and Old Italy Road. I remember when the tracks that pass through Hillsboro disappeared, but didn't see the removal process.

Also, is the MKT bridge that passes over Waxahachie Lake still in place?

Michael
Dallas, TX
4/30/2012

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I should also have added that I would like to know if railroad specific machines were used to pull the rails up.

Did the work crews use a Pettibone Speed Swing or crane that rides on the rails to do the lifting?

Thanks

Michael
Dallas, TX
4/30/2012

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Any info on the old Trinity & Brazos Valley depot/track layout for Hillsboro, TX?

Doyle Rowntree
Palestine, TX
10/21/2012

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I remember about 1996 my cousins and I drove my Jeep along the roadbed. It was still ballast from Hillsboro to about Milford. No fences or barriers. We drove over I35 on the RR trestle, which still had tracks on it. I remember there being split H-5 searchlight signals between Hillsboro and Milford along the track, in the middle of nowhere. As a signal collector I wish I had some. If anyone has info contact me at hale1114@yahoo.com

alan
grandview, TX
5/23/2013

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My grandparents lived in Hillsboro, just down the street from the split. I have heard, through the grapevine, that when that line was abandoned up to Waxahachie, the feds hadn't approved and ordered the roadbed re-ballasted.

mike pennington
bossier city, LA
12/11/2013

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