The Texas South-Eastern Railroad Company was incorporated on October 9, 1900 and has remained independent during its entire existence. It originally operated by moving various products around the East Texas area and provided limited passenger service between Lufkin and various nearby towns. While still an active short line today, operating in Diboll, TX, it is only a small operation compared to its once 78-mile presence.
The TS-E lines in and around Lufkin were the result of the company's intent on connecting to the Cotton Belt line that ran through town, combined with the acquisition of many logging railroads in the area.
The 10-mile branch between Blix and Lufkin was built by the Texas Southeastern railroad in 1908. It was sold to the Angelina and Neches River railroad in 1996, and the last TSE train made its run on this line that year. A section of this track is still used by the A&NR inside Lufkin to move products between industries and the UP main line. The branch is abandoned from Peavy to just northeast of Farrell.
The branch connected in Blix to the "main" line ran from Diboll to Fastrill, Texas. A portion of the TSE "main" from Diboll through Blix to Vair is now the Texas State Railroad tourist line. The section NW of Vair is abandoned. Towns on this section are Raville, Neff, Walkerton, Anderson Crossing, Kenley, Bluff City, Lehane and Fastrill.
Another abandoned section of the TSE extended NE from Diboll to Cushing, Ashford and up to Farber (Frostville) on the Cotton Belt (SSWT).
Thanks to Richard Hall for contributing information.
I believe your description of the TSE "main" from Diboll to Vair as being the Texas State Railroad is incorrect. The TSR runs from Palestine to Rusk. It used to continue from Rusk, SE to Lufkin but that part is now abandoned.
I spent many happy hours as a youngster riding in the cab of this TSE engine [pictured above]. The photo was taken about the time I took my first cab ride in the early 1950s. Another engine I spent time on was the Southern Pine #13 which is now on display in Diboll. The TSE ran freight service between Diboll and Lufkin with the "local" running daily (M-F). I never saw any passenger service in the 1950s. The logging operation was still in use at that time (1950s) with the #13 on the head end.
the TSRR ran ONLY from palestine to rusk. the line from rusk to lufkin was the SSW
The SSW abandoned the Lufkin-Tyler line in 1987. Angelina & Neches River RR owns a 6 mile segment from the UP Lufkin yard to FM 2021 in Clawson.
The TSE abandoned passenger service in 1942 which is why no passenger cars were seen in the 1950s.
TSE did lease and operate the Texas State RR for awhile before the tourist operation started up in the 1970s. TSE took over the TSRR from the T&NO (SP)in the 50s or 60s.
Sometime in the 1990s I visited the TSE shops in Diboll. They were rebuilding the diesel engine of the former Cotton Belt Baldwin VO1000 #1007. I watched as the shop men were re-installing parts of the engine outside in the open.
The History Center museum in Diboll has photos online of a special passenger train that operated in the late 1960s using the Baldwin VO1000 and old Frisco coaches.
It was either a special train for school kids or a summer special.
I was in Lufkin just after Christmas (2014). I explored some of the former TSE line on the west side of town. It's still in use. There are still some customers/shippers. The line is rather curvy. Still a siding or two.
Saw someone park her car to walk the line a bit to photograph what looked like a pile trestle. I did not go back later to see exactly what drew her interest.
I drove down to The History Center in Diboll and drove around the lumber mill. Baldwin #1007 was out in the open. Another more modern switcher (#17?) was nearby. The shop building was closed. The former TSE offices looked abandoned.
Dennis and all:
The TSE is very much alive and well in 2016...now it's owned by R.J. Corman (it's fourth owner in almost as many years) and the two-man crew uses an SW1500 to serve its five remaining customers. 301, the ex-Eddystone shop switcher, is the backup Baldwin and 1007, still in green TSE paint, is for sale. The BLW products normally stay in the two-track engine house, but there's room for the EMD unit if necessary. The company office is active, too...it just needs a coat of paint! While times have been hard down in Diboll, it's still early to write this little line's epitaph!