USGS Logo Geological Survey Bulletin 845
Guidebook of the Western United States: Part F. Southern Pacific Lines


The railroad from New Orleans to Los Angeles is part of an extensive system with many individual members, of which the Southern Pacific Co. owns all or very nearly all of the capital stock. The line from Algiers to Lafayette now known as Morgan's Louisiana & Texas Railroad & Steamship Co. was incorporated in 1852 as the New Orleans, Opelousas & Great Western Railroad Co. It reached Morgan City (Brashear) in 1857 and Lafayette in 1880. It was operated by the United States during the Civil War and owned by Charles Morgan from 1870 to 1878. The Louisiana & Western Railroad Co. was built from Lafayette to the Sabine River in 1881, and the Texas & New Orleans Railroad Co. was constructed from Orange to Sabine River (Echo) in 1878-81. The latter was operated as part of the Louisiana Western Railroad until 1900. The Sabine & Galveston Bay Railroad & Lumber Co., later the Texas & New Orleans Railroad Co., built a line from Houston to Liberty in 1856-60 and from Orange to Liberty in 1859-60. It was dismantled by the Confederates in 1865 and restored in 1870. The line from Houston to El Paso, known as the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway, was also built in sections. The portion from Harrisburg (now a part of Houston) to Alleyton was built by the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado Railway Co. in 1853-60 and extended to Columbus by the bridge across the Colorado River before 1870, including 2-1/2 miles of road to the river built in 1861-65. The line from Columbus to San Antonio was constructed mostly in 1873-77, and the line thence to El Paso was built in 1881-82 by a contractor recompensed by bonds and capital stock. From Sierra Blanca to El Paso the tracks are used jointly by the Texas & Pacific Railway on a rental basis.

The lines west of El Paso were built in separate portions by local Southern Pacific organizations, since 1902 combined in the one general company. The tracks were laid from Yuma to El Paso in 1879-81, and the line from Los Angeles to Yuma was built in 1873-77.

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Last Updated: 16-Apr-2007