Texas State Railroad 2-8-2 No. 30, an oil-burner, makes a late night appearance in Maydelle, TX, leading a freight bound for Rusk. A station agent awaits with train orders as the engineer (not in view) prepares to make the grab from the cab on the fly. Passenger service, here in Maydelle, ended here long ago.
In actuality, No. 30 is former Magma (Arizona) No. 7, nee Tremont & Gulf Railway Co. No. 30. The T&G Railway purchased the locomotive new in 1917 and operated her nearby in Louisiana. The depot, incidentally, was built for the 1985 Roy Clark-Mel Tillis movie, Uphill All the Way. This ROW, however, is part of the original Texas State Railroad, and dates back to 1883. The line was built with inmate labor and the original purpose of the railroad was to transport raw materials for an iron smelter located at the Rusk Penitentiary. In 1906, the line reached Maydelle, and by 1909, the line was completed when it reached Palestine where it connected with the International & Great Western Railroad. The railroad grew and eventually expanded to freight and passenger service, but it could not maintain a profit. Regular train service by the state ceased in 1921, and the line was leased to various railroad companies until 1969, when all operations came to a halt. The original Texas State Railroad owned only one *new* steam locomotive; a 2-6-0 built in 1915, numbered 7. Purchased by the Arkansas Railroad the locomotive was sadly scrapped in 1957 when they ceased operating.
In 1972, the Texas Legislature turned the railroad over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to be used as a state park. However, by 2006, the train was not profitable and cost the state of Texas $1 million per year. Because of budget concerns, the Senate passed a bill which allowed for the creation of an operating authority for the train with the power to lease the train to a private operator. On September 1, 2007, the operation was transferred to the Texas State Railroad Authority and leased for operation by American Heritage Railway, which also operates the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Colorado and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina. In August 2012 American Heritage Railways sold the Texas State Railroad to Iowa Pacific Holdings. In addition to continuing passenger operations, Iowa Pacific Holdings opened the track to the main line in Palestine on November 1, 2012 to begin offering freight services. The Western Group replaced Iowa Pacific Holdings as operator in May 2017. And, now you know!
They wouldn't allow us to take down a cellular tower mounted on top of the station roof so that was removed in Photoshop. Part of a Lerro Productions photo charter.
A continuously growing album of photos that IMHO reveal the awesome and seldom seen beauty of railroads from the dimming of day to dawn's early light! From dusk to dawn, trains roll on! (I'm still finding sunset to sunrise surprises!)