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Don's Rail Photos

Mineral Wells & Eastern RR

Weatherford Mineral Wells & North Western Ry.

The Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway Company was chartered on July 2, 1889, to build a line from Weatherford to Mineral Wells, twenty-five miles. The capital was $500,000, and the business office was located in Weatherford. The members of the first board of directors included J. R. Stone, J. E. Soulé, W. S. Stone, and D. P. Doak, all of Kansas City; H. M. Taylor, Henry Warren, Austin Kerr, and William Anderson, all of Weatherford; and William Johnsonqv of Strawn, Texas. The Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern completed twenty-five miles from Weatherford to Mineral Wells in 1891. That year the company owned two locomotives and ninety cars. In 1895 it earned $15,561 in passenger revenue and $38,070 in freight revenue. The line was bought by the Texas and Pacific Railway Company in 1902 and extended eighteen miles from Mineral Wells to Graford in 1908. In 1931 the line was classified as a Class II railroad by the Railroad Commissionqv and owned three locomotives and three cars. That year the line earned $5,783 in passenger revenue and $854,122 in freight revenue. Twelve miles of track between Salesville and Graford were abandoned in 1936, as were eight miles between Mineral Wells and Salesville in 1941. By 1945 only freight service was maintained. On January 1, 1988, the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern was merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company as successor to the Texas and Pacific. However, in the fall of 1989 the line was sold to the city of Mineral Wells, which leased it to the Mineral Wells and Eastern Railroad for operation on October 1, 1989. There was insufficient traffic to support the line, and when Mineral Wells withdrew its operating subsidy, the Mineral Wells and Eastern closed in May 1992.

Chris Cravens The Handbook of Texas Online

By the 1940s, the line was operated as a T&P branch.

Texas & Pacific 416 was seen on the train near Camp Wolters.

Trinity Valley Railfans had a museum in the former Santa Fe depot in Weatherford for many years. A group of us met with some of the leading citizens of Weatherford and Mineral Wells in the late 1960s to propose buying the line from the T&P and operating museum owned equipment for tourists. The T&P would not even consider talking to us at the time.

In 1989, the line was sold to the City of Mineral Wells. They contracted with theMineral Wells and Eastern to operate the line. It was hoped that the former army base at Mineral Wells would become a flourishing industrial park. The railroad bought the last GP30 owned by the UP and a caboose. Operations were handled by 3 people, including a young man as manager, plus the train crew. They also tried to maintain the trackage which had been allowed to detriorate. Progress was being made until the rains came in 1991 and early 1992. Much track was washed out, and operations could no longer be continued. With a low traffic base, it became apparent that there was no future for the line since no heavy industry had been attacted to the former army base. Reconstruction costs were too much. The end came quietly.

Marshall Higgins was a truck driver from Lubbock, and he would make 2 or 3 runs a week into Dallas over night. When my days off and his days in would line up, we would head out chasing trains. Marshall has now retired, and I really miss those runs together.

On a bright spring day in March, 1990, we decided to chase the MW&E. Marshall was sure we were lost as we wound around the back roads between the two terminals. Finally, we came upon the tracks just as the train was coming. We both shot the engine and caboose, but my camera jammed on the locomotive. Fortunately Marshall was able to get off several exposures as the train was not travelling at any spectacular rate of speed. Here are the results of our efforts.

701 was built in February 1963, #28161, as Union Pacific 701. It was retired on  July 29, 1989.  It was leased to MW&E as 701 in October 1989 and was sold as MW&E 701 in February 1990.  It was sold in March 1992 as Acadiana Ry 701.

The caboose was formerly Missouri Pacific 13831 and is now at the Lake Mineral Wells Rail-Trailhead.

A few years earlier, I took a photo of the depot which was being used for offices for non railroad businesses.


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