This line was built by the Texas & New Orleans Railroad starting in 1902, and served a number of local lumber interests along the line. Eventually the line came under control of the Southern Pacific Railroad (who owned the T&NO), and was abandoned in the 1970s.
Nacogdoches to Athens
— ICC Abandonment Filings —
|Southern Pacific Railroad|
|Docket: AB 12 Sub 53||10/28/1976||Section: 1a|
|Application filed for authority to abandon a line extending from MP.154.56 near Bonita Junction in a northwesterly direction to MP 298.70 near Seagoville, a distance of 144.14 miles in Nacogdoches, Rusk, Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, Kaufman and Dallas Counties, Tex. (This includes the stations of Ponta, Reklaw, Sacul, Cushing, Trawick, Mahl, Frankston, Poynor, LaRue, Eustace, Mabank, Kemp, Kaufman, and Crandall.)|
|Length: 144.14 miles|
Also under this filing: Dallas to Eustace
— User Comments —
This is an interesting abandonment. Two segments, one from an industrial plant near Eustace to an interchange at Athens and another from Bonita Junction NW about a mile to an industrial siding, were sold by SP to a subsidiary, St. Louis Southwestern Railway (SSW). This sale was required by the abandonment. Today most of the abandonment, except for these two segments, is almost undetectable. No rails, few ties, overpasses removed and most grade crossings paved over. But not so with the sold segments. Except for dirt filled flange grooves at grade crossings and an uneven roadbed they could be, and may be, used today.
I worked over a portion of this track from Jacksonville to Dallas in 1980 and 81 as an engineer for SP. It was in pretty bad shape then. As I recall, most, if not all the track speed was 10 mph. I think about that old run every time I pass by the Bonita Jct station sign going through Nacogdoches.
worked on that rr 1963 tell thay took it up,sad day for me
There is a 1 mile section of this roadbed that is open to the public to hike on. It is part of the "new" Bunker's Pond Trail at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center in Seagoville, Texas. The Wetland Center is open to the Public twice a month. There is not much left from the railroad days except a couple of signs and the concrete bridge supports where the line crosses the East Fork of the Trinity River. Info at wetlandcenter.com
The wooden trestles of the line are still up at the 2 crossings of Cedar Creek Lake alongside US 175. Also an old underpass of US 175 (or SH 40 which was along there before that) made of metal beams and concrete supports/abutments still exists along what is now a county road south of the current US 175 between Crandall and Kaufman in the Gastonia community. One of the few remaining depots of the line was restored in the mid-1970s in Frankston and has served as the town library ever since.
I remember the few times I ever saw trains on the line, (Steve is right) the trains didn't move very fast.
The Athens depot in 1986:
A group of young women called the Southern Pacific Singers, based in Jacksonville, that toured various points and depots in the 1920s:
I'm not sure how much of this is actual/biographical, and how much is artistic liberty, but this children's book talks about life in some early-mid 1900s timeframe along a part of the T&NO railroad near Jacksonville; it's called "How Many Miles to Jacksonville?" It looks to be out-of-print, but these 2 links still showed it available:
I'm still trying to locate an online pic of a wooden trestle being built along the line in 1902 near Reese (west of Jacksonville), but I haven't found it yet.
I grew up in Nacogdoches in the 80s and remember the remnants of this line. In Reklaw, a property owner maintains a wooden crossbuck sign adjacent to the site of the Highway 84 overpass, and in Cushing the depot has been preserved.
I worked out of Jacksonville in each direction to Nacogdoches- Dallas in 1963 while I was cut off on the Galveston Div. I worked with K. Snodgrass there and at Strang on the Gal. Div.
I own with my family the Rail road right of way at 148 and 175 in Crandall. I got a " quit claim deed". Does anyone have information of how they got the land back when the rail road was abandonded? say In 1985. Do you actually own it and have a clear title. Mrs. Fred F. Adams,Jr. Po Box 175 Crandall, Texas 75114 some people say this was only an easement.. and no clean title can be gotten from the paper work called the guit claim deed? Is this a local problem? A lawyer problem. I need to know. Mrs. Adams
Im sure anyone/employees on one of those slow moving SP GP-9 engines remember me and my buddies fishing,walking along the trackage right-of-way between the old steel trestle over the east fork river coming out of Crandall headed toward Dallas.My father was the ranch manager for the Bunker Sands Hunt ranch(Combine) which is now the wet land center.We use to wave and sometimes chunk a rock at the cars when it passed by slowly thru the ranch.My what wonderful memories of my childhood !
The steel bridge that crosses the Neches River is still in tact and can be seen from county road 3314 in Cuney. At one time there was a year plate at the heading of the bridge with 1917 on it.Somebody has removed it.Directly under the bridge are what look like the original wooden trestle support beams that are cut off at water level. Does anybody know if the original bridge was ever washed away or just replaced? The bridge supports are made of brick and are still solid. The bridge could probably be used today. There are also wooden trestles that run along side CR 3314 and wooden trestles where the line crosses CR 3313 in Cherokee County.
I worked with my father on taking up the re-lay ties (ties that the Southern Pacific bought back for reuse) when the Mabank end of the line and the Jacksonville end of the line were scrapped out in the summer of 1982. I mostly worked in the yards at Eustace and Jacksonville during this time.
My father then bought the ties from the spur running from the Reklaw area up to the Lake Striker Power plant in the early spring of 1983. It took us about a month to finish that and I worked mainly at the yard in Reklaw then.
I have a railroad crossing sign from that job hanging in my garage. Still looks brand new.
The Athens Branch starts at MP 583.5 from the Corsicana Subdivision (former SSW) now UP. The branch line goes from Athens to Eustace MP 0.0 to MP 13.6. Track speed is 25 mph to Eustace and then 10 mph industrial lead for 3.3 miles to Sulphur Plant. We operate a local every Saturday to service Athens and a Sulphur train usually once to twice a month.
My first job on the SP was on this line as a B&B helper. We retied the Trinity River bridge just north of Kaufman. The year was 1973, Mr. Parker was the forman, Benny Brown, AR Brown, Durwood, Kenny. We would ride the motor car from Kaufman to Athens inspecting bridges. In the 80's I worked on the very south end of this line from West Port Author to Lufkin, TX. Rockland Branch.
I worked for SP out of Nacogdoches on the "rabbit". The line from Nacogdoches to Shreveport. I was in the A&WE Dept. I ran a dozer. That was 1976 or there abouts. I actually rode a passenger car with my mom from Dallas to J'ville when I was very young. I was sad to see them take up that line over the years.
Walked this line as a kid many times. Grandmothers house at Gallatin. What years was the Lake Striker spur used and what was hauled?
I don't know about Lake Striker, but the Bonita Line was a pulp wood line. The big product in the "Big Thicket" was pulpwood. I'm sure other freight was carried on that line, but pulpwood was big in the 70's. Lots of trucks dedicated to that all over east Texas.
I grew up near the T&NO SP line through Pleasant Grove, and would ride my bicycle to see the Steam locomotive freight as it spotted cars on the public siding between Elam & Buckner in the early 50's. There was a Grove TX depot on sight with section gang support equipment. Does anybody have a picture of the Pleasant Grove depot that remained into the early 50's? I would later take my son to play on the cars spotted on the siding when we went to the barber shop near by on Buckner in the late 70's. There was a stately oak tree between the depot and Loop 12. It was all that remained after abandonment, until Dart cleared the entire sight for their new station. We lived beside the tracks and would know when every train passed. (Inbound Mon, Wed, Fri, outbound Tue, Thu, Sat.)
My great grandfather's (Joe Reed) land, later my Dad's (Travis Etheridge), bordered the north side of the tracks in Reese and there was a tall trestle over the creek there. Walked it many times as a kid into my early 20's. I remember waving to the passenger train that came through there in the 60's around noon. It was our clock to go get lunch, lol. In the 80's they were storing old train cars along that section, interesting exploring, and during a storm the trestle gave way and pulled a lot of cars down into the creek. Took them quite a while to get it cut up and cleared out of the creek. Still have a piece of rail from it. A lot of timber that was hauled out was used in the fence on the property. You can still find the ends of the trestle if you know where to look.