The Waco Branch

Bremond to Waco, TX

—  ICC Abandonment Filings  —

Southern Pacific Railroad
Docket: 23403 11/27/1964 Section: 1(18)
Applic. for auth. to aband. its Waco Br. extdg. from M.P. 0.71 at Bremond, Robertson County, to M.P. 41.7 at Waco, McLennan County, a distance of 40.99 mi., all in the State of Texas. Appl. seeks auth. to aband. operation betw. M.P. 0.71 and M.P. 40.9 only, and will continue its swithing activities within yard limits at Waco.
Length: 40.99 miles

—  User Comments  —

According to the SPV Texas Railroad Atlas, this information is incorrect. SP's Waco Branch did not extend all the way to Waco, but rather, ran from Bremond to Marlin, where it connected with UP's former HTC and IGN lines. The Marlin-Waco segment is still very much an active line. I don't know who wrote up that abandonment application, but obviously, they were under the influence of some type of alcoholic beverage, a practice that was not uncommon among railroaders in the '60s and '70s.

A Former Railfan
Fort Worth, TX

SP/T&NO did petition for abandonment of the entire line; however, the IGN (MP) had a somewhat parallel line from Marlin to Waco that was inferior and ulitmately picked up the SP segment to replace its own. Perhaps this will clear up the confusion from the previous comment.

"The Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad, successor to the H&TC, abandoned the Bremond to Waco route through Marlin in 1965. Missouri Pacific (MP), successor to I-GN, took this opportunity to eliminate the lengthy segment from Marlin to Waco via Mart by purchasing the T&NO's more direct route. Rather than connecting to the T&NO tracks at the Tower 191 crossing, MP chose to eliminate the tracks on Ward St. by using T&NO's entire route through town. This eliminated the need for Tower 191, which was decommissioned, but necessitated construction of a short connecting line in south Marlin. Today, this route through Marlin is a Union Pacific (UP) main line."


Burleson Smith
Fairfax County, VA

Thank You, Mr. Smith, for that very informative explanation regarding this abandonment. Very helpful. Interesting to note, also, is that MP's ex-IGN Waco-Marlin line was abandoned in 1967, coincidentally, at the same time MP's ex-IGN Fort Worth-Waco line was abandoned. MP utilized trackage rights over The Katy from Fort Worth to Waco, eliminating the need for the Marlin line. Neither the Marlin, nor the Fort Worth lines, were "direct" routes. The old saying "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line." is very applicable here....

Joe Rogers
Alvarado, TX

I knew the crew that last worked it. Years ago when my family ( mother) went on trips, my granddad had a pass. Mother told me that when she was a little girl they would catch the Sunbeam to Bremond, then wait 8 hours for the mix( had two passengers on the rear of the freight train). Ride it to Waco, catch the Katy to Morgan Tx. A all day trip. Before my mother pass, I drove her to Morgan from Ennis is less then two hours. She told me this story.

Dane Williams
Ennis, TX

The H&TC line into Waco actually entered Waco north of the Brazos River. It had freight and passenger depots and other facilities there. The passenger depot--one of the oldest in Texas--stood abandoned up until a few years ago. The city had no interest in preserving it.

When UP Challenger locomotive #3985 pulled a passenger special from Ft. Worth to Spring TX in 1992 it used the portion of the SP Bremond-Waco line that MP had acquired in the 1960s.

Dennis Hogan
Frisco, TX

Mr. Hogan — that may be an incomplete story. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the city of Waco tried to buy it from Union Pacific over the course of several years, but was unsuccessful. Nobody — the city, historical groups, the railroad, the private sector, industry, railfans — seemed to have an interest in preserving it.

The depot was said to be 134 years old when it burned down in 2006. It apparently dated back to the original Waco Tap line.

Win Emmons
Waco, TX

The rail line from Reagan to Marlin was still intact as a right of way until around 2007 when it was demolished for the widening of Highway 6. An abandoned rail line ran from Marlin to Mart to Waco, but that was I&GN.

However, by that time, I&GN had been sold to Southern Pacific, and it was abandoned at that time. Because the I&GN line went around to Mart, it was discarded in the 1960s due to the fact that a better, more direct route followed to Marlin.

Most of the I&GN line near Waco is still visible today after it was cut off in the 1960s. A spur serviced a rock quarry, though that has been out of service for years. A few railroad cars sat in the spur near Highway 6 for years, but ultimately they were moved out, and in 2015, about a mile (at least) of the trackage was removed, having been there since the ~1964 abandonment.

Aaron J
College Station, TX

The existing Marlin-Waco line is not the line in question. The abandoned segment goes east from Marlin near the Marlin Middle School, went north toward Mart, and then went west toward Highway 6. Like previously mentioned in my comment below, the segment barely went east of Loop 340, and with the mid-2010s abandonment cuts off west of it.

Aaron J.
College Station, TX