Kenedy to Houston

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Looking east towards Houston on the west side of the UP double track main. The ties and rails are in the process of being removed. Photo by Jason Rose, June 2001.

This line was established as the San Antonio and Aransas Pass, Houston Branch. It ran between Kenedy, TX, and the Union Station in downtown Houston. The line reached Houston in about 1890. It was acquired by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1925 and was made part of SP's Texas & New Orleans Railroad in 1934.

The line has been dormant for a few years now. Traffic has been limited to locals switching a few cars near the junction with the UP double main line that leads into Houston. Houston Metro (the mass transit system of Houston) bought the line recently and plans to use the land for a high occupancy vehicle route. In June 2001, Houston Metro began dismantling the line.

Thanks to Jason Rose for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
Docket Number: 22834 Date: 10/30/1963 Section: 1(18)
Applic for auth. to aband. a portion of its Yoakum Br., Victoria Subdivision, near River Junction, in DeWitt County, to a point near Kenedy, Karnes County, a distance of 37.09 mi., all in the state of Texas.
Length: 37.09 miles Citation:  

At the first photo what is the overpass in the far distance?

Dequante Bazemore
chesapeake, VA
2/18/2010

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That overpass would be I-610, usually called Loop 610. At that point the rail line was about 1/2 mile south of U.S. 59. Today the ROW is the Westpark Toll Road.

Dave Bethke
Houston, TX
2/23/2010

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The caption says the line continued to Downtown Union Station but from looking at a google map I cannot make out what path it would have taken to do so. I can only tell as far as 527. Any knowledge?

Ben Cain
Houston, TX
3/10/2010

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The line continued along what is now US 59, curving left and passing just north of the present US 59/TX 288 interchange. It continued in a NE direction to Bastrop St. just north of McGowen. Traces of the ROW are visible on Google Earth. It then followed what is now Bastrop to Capitol where it joined another UP line heading into Union Station. Portions of the ROW are very visible where Bastrop is still not paved, as well as the line heading to the station.

Dave Bethke
Houston, TX
3/27/2010

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Would this SP Line be the same one that you cross over at Kirby?

Todd
Lumberton, TX
6/9/2010

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The line east of Bellaire Junction was kept in place to the Summit for the Ringling Brothers Circus Train until the Summit was closed. No more Summit, no more need for any railroad tracks!

The line east of the Summit was ripped up decades ago, the SP used it's own station and not Union station, in fact I believe the line pre-dated the Houston Union Terminal.

Eli
Houston, TX
10/21/2010

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The abandonment filing does NOT correspond to this railroad.

Also, the line apparently never crossed the UP main, at least, not in decades.

Going into Houston was indeed torn up years ago, in the late 1960s with US-59 heading east into town. It was cut off just beyond Hazard Street at that point, then later to just before Wakeforest by '85.

By December 2002, all tracks east of the UP main were stripped.

@Todd: Yes.

PS3D
College Station, TX
5/3/2011

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This abandonment filing is for the Kenedy to River Junction (west of Cuero, TX) segment which was part of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass (SA&AP) mainline from Kenedy to Yoakum. River Junction was on the SP line from Cuero to Stockdale which previously extended into San Antonio. River Junction was formed when the SP abandoned the former SA&AP bridge over the Guadalupe River southwest of Cuero and built a short connecting line to use the newer SP bridge west of Cuero.

Apparently, the ICC did not grant this petition in full because the portion from Yorktown to River Junction was the subject of a 10/24/1969 filing (listed as The Yoakum Branch). Trackage was abandoned between Kenedy and Yorktown (about 25 miles) in the 1960s and the remaining segment to River Junction was abandoned in the 1970s, thereby severing the former SA&AP Kenedy to Waco mainline from the original San Antonio to Corpus Christi mainline. A 1961 photograph of the Yoakum to Kenedy local may be found at http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=318594.

The SA&AP Yoakum to Houston extension via Hallettsville and Eagle Lake is documented in previous comments and photos on this page, but this filing was for a segment nearly 135 miles from Houston (although only about 20 miles from the terminus in Yoakum). Portions of the Yoakum to Houston line were probably abandoned shortly after SP took full control of the SA&AP since traffic could be routed through Victoria and Rosenburg to Houston. Other portions survived much later including the segment between Eagle Lake on the Sunset Route and Bellaire Junction (westside of Houston) which was abandoned after 2000.

Burleson Smith
Fairfax County, VA
3/6/2013

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I followed this line myself. As a kid, I remember going to Downtown via 45 N. When we exit, there was a line that crossed Bstrop Street. I wish I had a camera then as I want a picture of that. A while back I turned on that street and found a small section of the rain line. I followed it which showed the line go and dead end at 288. Was there a bridge at one time that was removed? Someone out here knows and probably has pictures of it.

Lewis
Houston, TX
4/10/2013

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There was never a bridge where this line crossed the current depressed SH 288 freeway. The railroad simply crossed all streets at grade, since at that time, there was no freeway at that location, hence no hole in the ground. City streets were used to carry SH 288 back then.

Kevin
Houston, TX
12/26/2015

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Do you have any pictures or information about Kenedy to Houston? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.