In 1882, the Houston and Texas Central began building a railroad line from Garrett, TX (just north of Ennis) to a connection with the Saint Louis-San Francisco Railroad (the Frisco) at Paris, almost 100 miles to the northwest. This northeastern extention of the H&TC was short-lived, though, as three years later in 1885, the company went into receivership, by which time only 51 miles had been constructed between Garrett and Roberts (just south of Quinlan). The Texas Midland was then chartered in 1892 in order to extend the line another 19 miles to Greenville, which was completed in 1895. Still intending to build to Paris, the Texas Midland continued construction north out of Greenville; the final 38-mile segment between Commerce and Paris was completed in 1897.
In 1903, it was reported that the Texas Midland was to be purchased by "Rock Island-Frisco" interests in Texas and subsequently extended another 65 miles south to Waco, where it would have connected with the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad. This did not came to pass, however, and it was sold much later to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1928, who then leased it to one of its subsidiaries, the Texas & New Orleans Railroad. It was finally merged into the T&NO in 1934.
The Texas Midland was the first road in Texas to use electric lights on its engines and one of the first to use steel boxcars and high speed gas-electric rail cars.
Just as the line was built one segment at a time, so also it was abandoned. The first segment to be abandoned was between Greenville and Commerce in 1933. The southern end of the Texas Midland between Garrett (Ennis) and Kaufman was abandoned in 1942 (due to washouts along the Trinity River), with the segment between Kaufman and Greenville to follow in 1958. The final segment between Commerce and Paris was abandoned in 1972, bringing to an end the Texas Midland Railroad.
A rough timeline of the Texas Midland Raiload:
Garrett ---- Kaufman ---- Roberts ---- Greenville ---- Commerce ---- Paris
1882 |---- Built by H&TC ------|
1892 |-- Built TM --|
1896 |--Built TM --|
1897 |--Built TM --|
1928 |------------------ Sold to Southern Pacific ------------------------|
1933 |- Abandoned -|
1934 |---- Merged into Texas & New Orleans ---| |-Merged T&NO-|
1958 |------- Abandoned ----------|
1972 |- Abandoned -|
See also Abandoned Rails of Greenville.