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Don's Rail Photos
Cherokee & Southwestern
For an almost complete history of the Texas State Railroad, you can visit their website. It tells about the construction by convict labor in 1896. Then changes in the prison system caused a drop in traffic, and the line was leased to the Cotton Belt in 1921. They tired of it, and it was leased for 10 years to the Texas South-Eastern. They gave up on December 31, 1969. The story then goes on to tell how the line was turned over to the Parks and Recreation Dept in 1972, rebuilt, and is now one of the premier tourist attractions in Texas. But they don't tell about 1970.
A group organized to operate tourist trains over the TSR and called themselves the C&SW. They apparently acquired 3 steam locomotives, a small gas switcher, and a few former Frisco cars. They tried to operate over trackage which had been given almost no maintenance in many years. Without a lot of backing, like the State was able to give a few years later, they really had little chance of success.
I went down there in May 1970 to see what was going on. They were operating. We missed the train departure from Rusk, but headed down the line line to catch it at a crossing. In the car with me were my wife and three little kids, and their grandmother. We parked at the crossing and waited. And waited. And waited. "Daddy, when can we go home?" And waited. Finally we saw the smoke. "It's coming!" And we waited. Finally a little tank engine running backwards pulling a large coach slowly rolled past. I later got another shot of the train with the engine pulling.
They operated from Rusk to Maydelle for awhile. Going was slow, and so was patronage. It finally disappeared.
I hope someone can give me more information of the source and disposition of the equipment. Mike Jarvis says the tank engines went to Texas Tank Car at San Angelo. But here are a few photos of the short life of the C&SW.
If you look at this series of pictures real slowly, you can get a movie effect of the train coming and going at that lonely grade crossing. The only thing you can't hear are the kids and their grandmother. The locomotive, 2, was supposedly built by Baldwin in 1920.
And the train coming back.
The gas switcher was at Rusk and did not appear to be operable. It was Plymouth #4454.
One of the steam locomotives began life at Schenectady in September 1942, #70428, as U S Army 4002. It was sold to Brown Paper Mill Co in West Monroe, LA, as 5. Brown became part of Olin Mathieson Chemical Co. It later was sold to Lone Star Steel Co. and was in storage at their plant until moved back to Louisiana to a private museum near Baton Rouge.
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