You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Part 2: Where did Austin’s railroads go?

Rail lines shot out in all directions.


Last week in this space, we discussed Austin’s first two main rail lines, the Houston & Texas Central, which arrived from the east in 1871, and the International & Great Northern, whose tracks entered town from the north in 1876 and proceeded south.

“Besides the H&TC (later Southern Pacific) and the I&GN (later Missouri Pacific), Austin had a third railroad, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas, whose main north-south line passed east of Austin at Elgin,” says historical rail expert and former American-Statesman political cartoonist Ben Sargent. “Accordingly, the MKT built a branch from Granger through Georgetown and Pflugerville into Austin, so some of its passenger trains could run through Austin, then continue through San Marcos to San Antonio by trackage rights over the I&GN. This ‘Katy’ branch was built in 1904 and abandoned in 1974.”

A smaller rail line, the Austin & Northwestern Railroad, chartered in 1881, headed to Burnet on narrow-gauge track during the 1880s. It was extended to Granite Mountain near Marble Falls to haul granite blocks to Austin for the new Capitol. Acquired by H&TC and converted to standard gauge, it is now used by the Austin Steam Train Association for excursions based in Cedar Park and by CapMetro’s MetroRail for the commuter line to Leander.

Yet another line, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass, chartered in 1884, approached the Austin area from the southeast, but reached no closer than Lockhart.

And from the late 1800s to the 1940s, the Austin Street Railway Company operated several trolley lines, including one to the Austin Dam, another to Hyde Park, and one along East First (Cesar Chavez) Street.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Commentary: More than ever we must remember to be efficient, green
Commentary: More than ever we must remember to be efficient, green

This week, some of the world’s leading energy executives are in Austin, discussing the future of energy at Energy Thought Summit 2017. One of the showcase events is the launch of the uniquely ‘Austin’ “Electric Drive.” It’s an actual street dedicated to plugging in your electric vehicle, or “EV”. At the...
Commentary: Austin tree ordinance violates private property rights
Commentary: Austin tree ordinance violates private property rights

Trees are timber — a natural resource that belongs to private property owners in the same way as a backyard garden. It would be absurd to require a government permit to harvest your peppers and potatoes — yet many Texas cities strictly regulate trees on your land. Overregulation of landowners and their ability to trim and remove tress is...
Letters to the editor: March 27, 2017
Letters to the editor: March 27, 2017

Re: March 13 commentary, “Legalizing drug importation harms Texas’ patients, economy.” The viewpoint expressed by Thomas R. Kowalski citing imports harming local economy is exactly correct. In fact, the exact situation has already occurred — not in the drug manufacturing industry but in the American automobile manufacturing...
We’re against emotionalism, except when we’re not

Conservatives have rightly taken pride in Neil Gorsuch’s calm and cerebral performance at his Senate confirmation hearings. Many commentators, along with Republican senators, have mocked Democrats for presuming to evaluate Gorsuch based on the outcomes of his cases. Did he “side with the little guy” or with big corporations? The right...
Commentary: Tree ordinances are best left to city governments
Commentary: Tree ordinances are best left to city governments

Once again, the Legislature is taking aim at cities — and tree protection ordinances sit squarely in their crosshairs. The value of trees and urban forests is unquestionable. There are very real economic, environmental and psychological benefits that trees provide for our communities and their residents. Studies have demonstrated that the presence...
More Stories