The Years Roll on for Texas State Railroad
A rare two-train event that delighted photographers occurred recently as part of the yearlong celebration. The locomotive engine on the left — Southern Pine Lumber Company #28 — operated in East Texas, hauling timber for the Temple Lumber Company. The Magma Arizona #7 is a retired engine once used by the Magma Copper Mine in Arizona. It appears in the 1962 MGM movie “How the West Was Won.”
Texas State Railroad celebrates its 135th birthday this year. Founded in 1881, the railroad served the foundry at the state penitentiary in Rusk. By 1909, it stretched to Palestine and enhanced transportation and commerce in that East Texas region.
It was built by inmate labor to haul timber to fuel the foundry and iron ore to be made into such items as the iron framework for the dome of the State Capitol.
On July 4, 1976, the railroad was transformed into a historic passenger tourist attraction operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife. In 2003 the state legislature formally designated it as “the Official Railroad of Texas.”
The yearlong celebration continues with a Sunday Funday for families set for 1 p.m. September 18. For every adult ticket purchased, get one child’s ticket free (ages 2-12.) Children under age 2 ride free as lap babies.
More information is available at texasstaterr.com.