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Don's Rail Photos

Waco Beaumont Trinity & Sabine


There is a tendency today to pick meaningless generic names for companies. As an example, the name Lucent Technologies does not conjure up the image of technical geniuses designing communication equipment like the name Bell Laboratories. Many of the old names had a special class. If you say out loud "Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows", you want to raise your baton to give the downbeat to the "Entry of the Gladiators." A famous advertising company was BBD&O--Batton Barton Durstin and Osborne. When you pronounced their name aloud it sounded like a bowling ball rolling down a staircase.

There were certain railroad names which also had a grand sound. For example, the Chicago Saint Paul Minneapolis and Omaha. Some traction lines were special like The Steubenville East Liverpool and Beaver Valley Traction Company.

One of my favorite names was the Waco Beaumont Trinity and Sabine. It's nickname was the Wobblety Bobblety Turnover and Stop. Now, can anyone pronounce Wobblety Bobblety without grinning?

When I came to Texas in late 1965 with Railway Express, I had the chance to travel from time to time. Since most of the Interstates were not yet open, I could take somewhat diverse routings to get to where I was supposed to go. On a trip to Houston, I went through Trinity, Texas, and found what was left of the Wobblety. Here are pictures of locomotive 1 (Baldwin July, 1920 #53413) and their sorta caboose. The locomotive is in the museum at Galveston, but what happened to the caboose?

Chartered as the Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad on June 22, 1905, the railroad was renamed the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway Company upon resumption of independent operation on April 1, 1923. Members of the first board of directors included R. C. Duff, J. L. Thompson, L. O. Jackson, A. M. Acheson, Alexander Thompson,qv W. W. Smithey, H. E. Kitcher, William A. Vinson,qv and Carter Stewart. The business office was in Trinity. The WBT&S operated forty-eight miles from Weldon through Trinity to Livingston. On April 8, 1924, the company purchased sixty-six miles between Trinity and Colmesneil from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Company of Texas (Katy), making a total system of 114 miles. The Katy had acquired the B&GN from Duff in 1912 and in 1914 leased the company for ninety-nine years. However, the Katy entered receivership in 1915, and the reorganized company, which emerged in 1923, had no need for the "orphan" lines in East Texas. Duff reacquired the B&GN stock held by the Katy and, for $100,000, purchased the Katy's Sabine Division from Trinity to Colmesneil. Duff continued to press for the extension of the WBT&S to both Waco and Beaumont and, although he obtained authority from the Interstate Commerce Commission for the new construction, he was unable to secure the necessary financing. In 1926 the line had six locomotives and fifty-eight cars and received $25,802 in passenger earnings and $243,020 in freight earnings. However, the depletion of timber resources along the WBT&S, coupled with the early effects of the Great Depression,qv forced the company into receivership on February 8, 1930. This receivership lasted until the railroad was totally abandoned in 1961 and was the longest bankruptcy of any Texas railroad. Abandonment of the line began in 1936 with the line from Trinity to Colmesneil. In 1941 the outer eight miles of the Weldon line was removed, and in 1949 the twenty-four miles between Luce and Livingston was retired. The WBT&S suspended operations in 1959, when its only locomotive was condemned, and the last track was removed in 1961. The company was widely known by its nickname Wobble, Bobble, Turnover, and Stop, which is perhaps the best indication of the condition of the railroad during much of its life.

George C. Werner The Handbook of Texas Online.




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