roseopt.gif (8507 bytes) Special Collections Division
the University of Texas
at Arlington Libraries

Vol. XV * No. 2 * Fall  2001

The Texas Electric Railway
By Gary Spurr

From 1916 until 1948, the Texas Electric Railway provided passenger and freight service to the citizens of North Central Texas. The railway combined the operations of the Texas Traction Company and the Southern Traction Company. With Dallas as its center, the railway operated three lines: one to Sherman and Denison, one to Ennis and Corsicana, and one to Hillsboro and Waco. These routes gave the Texas Electric 226 miles of track, making it the longest interurban west of the Mississippi River. While primarily a passenger line, Texas Electric Railway also offered mail and express service. In 1928, it began to haul freight as well and provided streetcar service in several towns that it served. The Texas Electric Railway was the last independent interurban line in Texas by 1942. While the line operated throughout World War II, ridership declined after the war due to the surge in private automobiles, buses, and trucks. The last run of the Texas Electric was on December 31, 1948.

Special Collections recently acquired more than sixty black and white negatives of the Texas Electric Railway courtesy of S. W. Johnson. The negatives, taken by an unknown photographer, were largely shot in the late 1940s in Dallas. However, other locations are featured as well, including Waco, Hillsboro, and Waxahachie. While the Texas Electric was primarily a passenger line, it did offer freight, mail, and express service. The photographer concentrated on photographing the freight equipment of the line. While there are photos of passenger cars, the bulk of the photos are of box motors, freight equipment converted from passenger cars, and other equipment built by the Texas Electric in its own shops.


The 327 about to enter the Dallas Interurban Terminal in Dallas, February 15, 1946.

The photos illustrate more than just the equipment of the line. In the backgrounds are scenes of Dallas and other locations in the 1940s. In views taken at the Dallas interurban terminal, buses, which would help lead to the demise of the Texas Electric, are visible. What follows are a sampling of some of the photographs from the collection. These negatives are an important addition to the historical photograph collections housed in Special Collections. For further information, contact Gary Spurr, Special Collections Archivist, by phone at 817-272-3393 or email at spurr@uta.edu .

 

 


The 315 with trailer leaves Dallas 
on the Waco run, January 1, 1946.

Class A freight motor 800 (left) rests
 between runs by the Dallas freight
 house, while box motors
(right) wait 
in stalls, March, 1946.

The 253 crosses the Brazos River in
Waco on its way to Dallas, March, 1946.

All photos are from the Texas Electric Railway Negative Collection, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

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Special Collections
The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries
Phone: (817) 272-3393 * Fax: (817) 272-3360 * E-mail: Reference Desk

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