Texas Railroad History - Tower 182 - Lufkin (Prosser)

A Crossing of the Texas & New Orleans Railroad and the Angelina & Neches River Railroad


Above: Facing east along the Angelina & Neches River (A&NR) Railroad, a derail is in use in the foreground, adjacent to the chrome interlocker control post. The cabinet adjacent to the crossing houses interlocker electronics. (Mark St. Aubin photo, March 2018) The upper left inset describing the interlocker is an image taken from an A&NR employee timetable effective October 30, 1983 (Richard Pennington collection). Below Left: With "182" barely visible on the attached nameplates, the Tower 182 electronics cabinet sits parallel to the Union Pacific tracks. In a side view of the same cabinet (below right), another cabinet adjacent to the "Prosser" sign is visible north of the diamond. (Mark St. Aubin photos, March 2018)

The Houston East & West Texas (HE&WT) Railroad line through east Texas became known "the Rabbit", but how the nickname originated isn't well-established. One source claims it derived from passengers shooting rabbits from the train during stops en route between Houston and Shreveport. A more plausible explanation can be found in Robert S. Maxwell's book Whistle in the Piney Woods (East Texas Historical Association and University of North Texas Press, 1998) where Maxwell writes... "Because of its short, bobbing, narrow-gauge cars, its up and down hill roadbed, its tendency to jump the track, and, above all, its proclivity for "stopping behind every stump", the road was promptly labeled 'The Rabbit'..." Although "the Rabbit" ran to Shreveport, HE&WT's direct ownership ended at the Louisiana border. The HE&WT charter had called for Texarkana to be the northern endpoint, but the plan for a branch line to Shreveport morphed into the main line, and no branch to Texarkana was ever built. Construction commenced in Houston in 1877 and proceeded slowly northeast. It took nearly a decade to reach the state line, the Sabine River, forty miles southwest of Shreveport. The bridge over the Sabine into the town of Logansport, Louisiana opened on January 26, 1886.

Hard economic times led to bankruptcy for the HE&WT, a common occurrence for railroads of this era. After receivership and reorganization, the newly reconstituted HE&WT converted all of its tracks to standard gauge on July 29, 1894, a massive one-day project (that somehow succeeded without cell phones.) Standard gauge made the HE&WT substantially more valuable as it could interchange cars directly with other railroads, providing better service to Houston and Galveston for east Texas agriculture and lumber. The dense woods and frequent rains of east Texas often made the dirt roads impassable, hence passenger service to the two largest towns, Lufkin and Nacogdoches, was critically important. Civilization at Nacogdoches dated back to the founding of Spanish missions in the early 1700s, whereas Lufkin was founded by the HE&WT in 1882, named for HE&WT President Paul Bremond's close friend, Abraham Lufkin. Ten years later, Lufkin became the county seat of Angelina County.

The HE&WT's evolution into a standard gauge line through east Texas caught the attention of Southern Pacific (SP) Chairman C. P. Huntington, who sought to gain control of the HE&WT to be part of a direct line he was contemplating from Houston to St. Louis.

Left: Although the dean of Texas railroad historians, S. G. Reed, asserts October, 1899 as the timeframe of SP's takeover of the HE&WT, this article from the
El Paso International Daily Times of March 1, 1900 suggests that the deal had only been rumored, with the public announcement and closing of the sale coming several months later. The same article (right) also announced SP's intention to extend its Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad to Nacogdoches, which some "...railroad men do not understand..." The T&NO extension was part of a deal in which the Texas Legislature had authorized SP to acquire the Sabine & East Texas tracks from Beaumont to Rockland and the Texas Trunk Railroad from Dallas through Kaufman to Cedar. The deal required the T&NO to complete the gap between Cedar and Rockland, thereby creating a Beaumont - Dallas main line.

As with its other Texas railroads, SP allowed the HE&WT to continue operating under its own name. This arrangement continued until 1927 when the HE&WT was leased to the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad. Once it was merged fully into the T&NO in 1934, the HE&WT became extinct...but "the Rabbit" hopped on, as the T&NO's Lufkin and Shreveport Subdivisions.

Among numerous east Texas lumber companies was one founded in 1890 by Joseph Kurth, Sr., who had purchased a sawmill two years earlier from Charles Kelty. The sawmill site on the northwest outskirts of Lufkin became known as the community of Keltys, and it became the headquarters for Kurth's Angelina County Lumber Co. Kurth's company followed the common practice of building narrow gauge tram lines into the forest lands where it had timber rights; approximately sixteen miles of rail had been laid by 1893. Like many other east Texas lumber companies, Kurth eventually decided to organize a portion of the tram lines as a separate railroad company owned by himself and a few of his lumber company executives. Thus, in 1900, the Angelina & Neches River (A&NR) Railroad was chartered as a common carrier railroad to take over the main line of the tram operation.

: This rail map ((c) 2001, Mike Walker - SPV) has been annotated to highlight the main route of the A&NR (light blue) and the track segments that the A&NR began operating as other rail lines were abandoned, sold or had trackage rights granted. These include the St. Louis Southwestern (SSW) commonly known as the "Cotton Belt" (green); parts of a T&NO main line between Beaumont and Nacogdoches (orange) that crossed the A&NR at Dunagan (misspelled as "Dunganan"); and the Texas Southeastern (TSE) Railroad (pink) on which the Groveton, Lufkin & Northern (GLN) had operated into Lufkin using trackage rights until 1932. The TSE was based at Diboll on the HE&WT (red) just off the map south of Lufkin. The A&NR crossing of the HE&WT at Prosser, two miles north of downtown Lufkin, became interlocked as Tower 182 in 1936. By that time, HE&WT's merger into the T&NO had occurred, hence Tower 182 was considered to be a T&NO/A&NR interlocker.
Left: This item appeared in a Valuation Report for the A&NR released by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1919 showing that all of the tracks owned by the A&NR had been built originally by the Angelina County Lumber Co. When the A&NR was incorporated on August 23, 1900, the first ten miles of the "main line" of the existing tram were conveyed by the lumber company. After that, tracks were built by the lumber company and sold soon thereafter to the A&NR. It was less expensive for the lumber company to do the construction because they could supply for themselves the lumber needed for bridges, structures, signposts, etc. This simplified the accounting that would otherwise be required if the A&NR had to "buy" these items from the lumber company and hire lumber company work crews to lay the tracks. Also, the lumber company built temporary spurs into the forest so that raw logs could be moved to the mill, but these spurs were not sold to the A&NR. Thus, work crews that were extending the main line tracks for the lumber company could be redirected to build forest spurs whenever necessary. Overall, having the A&NR buy rail lines built by the lumber company was the most expeditious way to expand A&NR trackage.

Charles Zlatkovich's book, Texas Railroads: A Record of Construction and Abandonment (University of Texas, 1981), compiled construction records from the archives of the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT). It lists the Cotton Belt line into Lufkin as having been originally built by the Kansas & Gulf Short Line Railroad in 1885. This was a 43-mile extension south from Rusk that ultimately led back to Tyler where the Cotton Belt was based. In 1903, the Cotton Belt acquired the tracks of the Texas & Louisiana Railroad that had been completed from Lufkin east to Montery in 1902. This line was later extended deeper into the east Texas forest to White City. As the timber along this line was cut out, the segment from Prestridge (near Huntington) to White City was abandoned in 1933, and the remaining tracks into Lufkin were abandoned in 1939.

The first A&NR record in Zlatkovich's book is dated 1911, a 19.89 mile segment from Keltys to "Nadina". The endpoint was actually Naclina, derived from the community's location very close to the Angelina River which is the county line separating Nacogdoches County and Angelina County. The error undoubtedly stems from someone mistaking the letters cl for the letter d in transcribing handwritten information (and not simply a recent mistake; it appears in a document issued by the state of Minnesota in 1913 summarizing all of the rail lines in the U.S.)

Left: Naclina was the founded on the first reliably dry land on the east bank of the Angelina River. Although the river's normal channel was not particularly wide, the vicinity of the A&NR crossing, like much of the upper reaches of the Angelina River, was prone to flooding due to numerous creeks in the watershed and frequent heavy rains in east Texas. To stay above the expected flood level required the A&NR to construct the 2,000 ft. wooden trestle visible in this 1946 aerial image. ((c) historicaerials.com) Today, this entire image would show nothing but the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir surrounding a Texas Highway 103 bridge built on the south side of the former A&NR right-of-way.

The RCT record denotes construction of nearly twenty miles, but the first ten miles to just beyond Dunagan that existed when the A&NR was formed in 1900 had never been reported to RCT nor had the additional three miles built to Alco in 1906. Dunagan (a tiny settlement nearby) was the name chosen by T&NO in 1901 to identify its new crossing of the A&NR. This was very close to the original end of track for the A&NR known as McCoy, but Dunagan became the mutually accepted name. As of 1942, T&NO was operating a mixed train daily in each direction through Dunagan with stops at 11:45 pm (northbound, but officially westward toward Dallas) and 4:25 am (southbound, but officially eastward toward Beaumont.) The T&NO had a siding at Dunagan that held 36 cars, and there was a crew telephone at the station.

The impetus for incorporating the A&NR was the opportunity to increase revenue by operating as a tap line. A tap line was simply a chartered and incorporated common carrier railroad owned by a lumber company (or its closely related interests, e.g. management investors.) Tap lines moved raw logs inbound to the mill and moved outbound lumber products from the mill to interchanges with trunk line railroads. Tap lines were also allowed to serve the transportation needs of the general population and other industries along their rail lines. Sawmill companies in Texas and elsewhere were incentivized to convert their private logging trams to tap lines because when common carrier railroads exchanged traffic for interstate destinations, the revenue for the entire shipment was shared. Thus, identical cars of identical lumber products transferred to a trunk line for interstate shipments to different customers would produce varying revenue to the tap line depending on the division rate negotiated with the trunk line for each of the final destinations. As common carrier railroads, tap lines accepted two significant legal obligations: they had to offer transportation services to the public without discrimination, and they had to set public tariffs and charge fees for their services.

While it seems obvious that tap lines would charge fees for transportation services, lumber companies weren't accustomed to paying their tram lines to haul logs to the mill -- hauling logs was just another of the many plant activities that comprised the mill's operations. As common carriers, tap lines had to charge the mill to haul its logs since failing to do so would allow other nearby sawmills to request the same service at the same tariff -- free. Offering transportation services with public tariffs and without discrimination was an important legal obligation of common carriers, one they did not always meet. Hence, the ICC began a comprehensive investigation of tap lines in the early 1900s.

The A&NR was called to testify before the ICC at a hearing held in New Orleans on December 15, 1910. The ICC probe sought to identify railroads across the south and west that were not legitimate tap lines due to violations of common carrier obligations. The so called "Tap Line Cases" resulted in lengthy and complex litigation that was ultimately settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ICC had essentially disclaimed common carrier status for any tap line that was primarily owned by a lumber company, regardless of evidence that it was fulfilling its common carrier duties. The courts rejected the ICC's position and remanded the cases for reconsideration under a different legal interpretation. When the litigation finally faded out, many tap lines had improved compliance with their obligations, but the ICC rulings were largely rejected in the courts. As Ernest M. Teagarden described it in The History of Federal Regulation of Railroad Joint Rate Divisions (Bowling Green State University, Ohio, June, 1955)..."In the final analysis, about all the Commission had accomplished toward a solution of the tap line problem was to have its power defined by the Supreme Court. Commission policy had been shifted from a policy of preventing proprietary divisions to one of regulating them."

Below: The ICC hearing was conducted by Examiner Burchmore and Administrative Judge Cowan. Appearing as the main witness for the A&NR was Eli Wiener, its Secretary and Treasurer. In this passage, an unidentified witness, Mr. Garwood, also appears (from his testimony, perhaps he was an attorney representing RCT.) The witnesses discuss the difficulty of getting RCT to recognize common carrier status. RCT had no jurisdiction over interstate tariffs, but they were empowered to set rates for all intrastate shipments. The complicated wording in the final sentence below explains that RCT had already scheduled a hearing to determine whether the A&NR would be allowed to establish joint rates for intrastate traffic.

The ICC hearing transcript sheds significant light on how the A&NR expanded and operated:

The A&NR had been chartered as a common carrier railroad. Thus, for interstate traffic, they could negotiate divisions under ICC rules. In 1905, A&NR decided to seek a formal declaration of common carrier status from RCT so they could propose divisions on intrastate traffic. Such declaration from RCT would also give A&NR the unquestioned right to carry goods and people for fares. Unfortunately, A&NR submitted its application to RCT during the time the Commission had begun to question whether it had the legal authority to make declarations of common carrier status; no law explicitly said they could. Railroads with charters that asserted common carrier status presumably possessed the legal authority to provide general transportation services since charters were state laws. But intrastate fares were regulated by RCT, and it held the exclusive power to authorize intrastate joint rates, something it would not do for a railroad that it had not recognized as a common carrier. RCT's sudden unwillingness to make that declaration created a murky legal limbo. Carrying goods and people for fares was not authorized for tram operations; it was strictly a common carrier railroad function. Despite complying with RCT's general tariff regulations, railroads that did not have a common carrier blessing from RCT risked potential legal action for accepting fares for moving people and goods, particularly if their charters didn't explicitly assert common carrier status.

Austin Statesman, October 25, 1905

El Paso Morning Times, February 18, 1911
Left & Below: Galveston Tribune, March 2, 1911

Right Top:
San Antonio Express, March 26, 1911

Right Bottom:
Houston Post, April 19, 1911

Above: As early as 1905, the A&NR was planning a request to RCT for a common carrier status declaration, primarily to gain the right to seek divisions on revenue from outbound products shipped intrastate from the mill at Keltys. No evidence has surfaced to indicate that RCT ever acted on the request; it certainly wasn't granted. The subject returned in 1911 as the A&NR was nearing completion of an extension into the community of Chireno, eleven miles beyond Naclina. In the aftermath of the ICC hearing, the A&NR was concerned about carrying passengers and goods for the townspeople of Chireno without RCT approval. RCT denied the request, but then agreed to reconsider after a delegation from Chireno made a plea directly to the three Commissioners in early March. Although the March news item from the Galveston Tribune stated that RCT's denial of the request would be reversed, the outcome remained in doubt until mid April when it became clear that Commissioner Wortham had changed his position and favored granting common carrier status to the A&NR. RCT issued Circular No. 3770 on May 1, 1911 to approve the request.

RCT's order required the A&NR to commence services at Chireno by January 1, 1912. That date was chosen because the A&NR had signed a contract with Chireno to provide service to the town by that date in exchange for various considerations, e.g. a free right-of-way and depot grounds in Chireno. The A&NR's 1919 ICC Valuation Report states that donations of $10,100 were received "...from the citizens of Chireno and Lufkin, Tex., as an aid in constructing its road into Chireno, Tex." The extension to Chireno also resulted in a connection with the Nacogdoches & Southeastern (NSE), a tap line railroad, at La Cerda. The nature of the NSE exchange at La Cerda is undetermined, but aerial imagery from 1956 shows there was a connecting track in the northwest quadrant of the diamond. The NSE was abandoned in 1954, and the A&NR line from Dunagan to Chireno was abandoned in 1963.

The location where the Angelina County Lumber Co. had built its tram line across the HE&WT c.1893, about three miles east of Keltys, came to be known as Prosser, but the origin of the name is undetermined. Lumber trams building across Class 1 railroads was not uncommon in east Texas, and it took many years for RCT to enforce safety requirements on uncontrolled tram crossings. Railroads occasionally ignored the state law requiring all trains to stop at all uncontrolled crossings, perhaps because they considered "tram crossings" to be different from "railroad crossings". RCT began regulating railroad grade crossings in 1901, and the first interlockers were commissioned for operation in 1902. The first tap line crossing to be interlocked was Tower 110 in 1917, and the first tram crossing to be interlocked was Tower 111 in 1919.

Left: This 1982 aerial image ((c) historicaerials.com) of Prosser shows the A&NR angling slightly more than due east/west and SP's tracks similarly angled north/south. There are connections in three quadrants, two of which remain intact; the northeast connector was taken out in the mid 1990s. Imagery from 1947 shows northwest and southwest connectors only, and 1955 imagery adds a southeast connector.

The crossing at Prosser was not interlocked until 1936 when Tower 182 was commissioned by RCT. SP records obtained by Carl Codney list Tower 182 as a "ground lever" plant, a mechanical interlocker that required rotating trackside levers near the diamond to effect derail and semaphore signal changes permitting A&NR trains to cross. A table in the January 2, 1937 edition of  Railway Age lists the Prosser interlocking as a 3-lever mechanical plant built by Union Switch & Signal Co. The plant was later upgraded to use electronic relays, but it was (and apparently still is) operated by A&NR train crews when they wish to cross. While Prosser has been swallowed by the growth of Lufkin, and Union Pacific (UP) has succeeded SP, the A&NR continues to operate over the remnants of the original line from Keltys through Tower 182 east to Dunagan. It also operates on 3.5 miles of UP tracks into Lufkin, and uses remnant tracks of the Cotton Belt from Keltys, where the mill has long been closed. A paper mill at Herty became a major customer for the A&NR in the 1940s, producing newsprint and other products. The mill was closed at the end of 2003, but its multiple siding tracks appear to remain in use by the A&NR for railcar storage. The A&NR's business is now based on serving a variety of industrial facilities across Lufkin and providing railcar storage for other railroads.

Below: excerpt from a 1949 T&NO Employee Timetable (ETT)


Six miles east of Prosser, the T&NO/A&NR crossing at Dunagan does not appear in RCT's interlocker numbering system. There is, however, a clue that it was controlled to some extent by the railroads. A T&NO ETT dated March 8, 1942 specifies that "F-1 and MK-5 class engines must not use the following tracks:", followed by a list that includes "Dunagan -- Track leading to A. & N. R. R. R. beyond derail." The existence of a derail on the A&NR track at Dunagan suggests that there was some kind of manual control, presumably designed to restrict A&NR movements across the diamond so that T&NO trains were able to pass through Dunagan without stopping. Whether it qualified as an interlocker or was simply manually operated signals and derails is undetermined, but no evidence of RCT oversight of the Dunagan crossing has surfaced. There is one documented instance of railroads controlling a tram crossing "on their own", without RCT oversight; see Cruse.

Left: This map snippet taken from a June, 1954 T&NO ETT shows that the two T&NO lines that crossed the A&NR at Prosser and Dunagan, respectively, combined into a single track through Nacogdoches and then split north of town. The T&NO line through Dunagan was part of a route between Beaumont and Dallas that had been completed in 1903. Nacogdoches city leaders opposed creating a separate right-of-way for the T&NO; the town had 2,000 residents and the downtown area was already well-developed. They favored having the T&NO share the existing HE&WT tracks since both railroads were SP properties. T&NO may have obtained a right-of-way and they may have laid some track, but the decision was made early on to share the tracks between Dorr Junction (south) and Bonita Junction (north.) The 3.58-mile track segment between the two junctions is listed in the 1904 edition of Poor's Manual of Railroads as "jointly operated".

Below: The ETT provided rules governing A&NR movements at Prosser and between Prosser and the Lufkin station. Note that the Angelina County Lumber Co. was still hauling timber cars through Prosser using A&NR trackage rights, and had the right to use the T&NO tracks when necessary for wye purposes. The A&NR had trackage rights on the T&NO between Dunagan and Zavalla (lower right corner of the map), apparently to serve a business at Zavalla at which the A&NR had built additional tracks.



T&NO's line between Dunagan and Nacogdoches (Dorr Jct.) had been difficult to maintain from the outset due to its path through swampy lowlands where several creeks flowed into the Angelina River. The route required multiple trestles, and it was subject to frequent flooding and numerous bridge repairs.

Right: The Alpine Avalanche dated July 4, 1902 reported on a major Angelina River flood; this was perhaps only a year after the T&NO had built its line through the river's bottomlands. Note that Lanana was a bayou near Dorr Jct.; the HE&WT tracks crossed Bayou Lanana between Nacogdoches and the river near Climax. Also, Dunagan was south of Nacogdoches, not north.

While the difficulty in maintaining this track segment may have motivated T&NO to consider a permanent reroute via Prosser long before 1957, the die was cast when work began on the McGee Bend Reservoir in 1956 (re-dedicated as Sam Rayburn Reservoir in 1965.) The substantial investment required to rebuild the T&NO's Angelina River crossing to rise above the flood control pool elevation could not be justified.


Above Left: In late January, 1956, the T&NO asked the ICC to approve abandoning the tracks between Dunagan and Nacogdoches. It also requested permission to "acquire" the A&NR's tracks between Dunagan and Prosser. (Sulphur Springs Daily News-Telegram, February 1, 1956) Above Right: The ICC granted permission to the T&NO on April 21, 1957, but trackage rights, not outright acquisition, was authorized for T&NO's use of the A&NR line between Dunagan and Prosser. (Ennis Daily News, April 22, 1957)

T&NO trains from Beaumont began turning west at Dunagan on the A&NR to Prosser where they turned north to continue to Bonita Junction. A northeast quadrant connector at Prosser was built to support these movements. SP and A&NR agreed that SP would handle dispatching duties for the tracks between Dunagan and Prosser.


Right: This March, 2022 Google Maps simulated 3-D view of the former T&NO line looks south across the Angelina River swamp from the north bank near Poe. At least four small outcroppings are visible where tracks briefly transitioned between trestles. The portion of the right-of-way at the bottom of the image is now Nacogdoches County Road 539, which ends at a "tram boat ramp" for river access. Below: This image is taken from a map produced by the Army Corps of Engineers (courtesy, The History Center, Diboll) detailing the McBee Bend Reservoir project. The T&NO's Angelina River crossing was about 4.5 miles south of Lacyville and 6.5 miles north of Dunagan (not marked.) When this map was made in 1960, the T&NO line was already abandoned.
Left: Pilings from the T&NO trestle remain in the Angelina River at the "tram boat ramp", presumably where Postmaster Cooper caught the boat to cross the river in 1902. (Google Maps photo by "Grandma Ghee")

: Approximately three miles of the T&NO right-of-way north of the former Angelina River crossing has been repurposed as Nacogdoches County Road 539. Considering all of the roadways near Lufkin and Nacogdoches that are not covered, it is surprising that Google Street View has imagery for almost the entire distance to the boat ramp. Drive it yourself going south from the FM 538 intersection, but be careful -- it's a dead end. Locals assume all such east Texas railroad rights-of-way were logging trams, but this one never was.

Above: In 1957, the Angelina County Lumber Co. was still hauling logs to Keltys using A&NR trackage rights. Here, #110 led by Engineer Jay Morrison pulls a load of logs between New Camp and Dunagan. (A. E. Brown photo, collection of The History Center, Diboll, Texas) Click the image to hear this engine with Jay Morrison at the controls as it pulls a heavy log train near Keltys in 1959. (from A Symphony in Steam, by L.J. Carlson and H.K. Vollrath, 1959, courtesy The History Center.)

On May 5, 1982, the Cotton Belt announced "...its intention to sell the portion of its Lufkin Branch that extends approximately from Rusk to Keltys to the Angelina and Neches River Railroad." (Alto Herald, May 20, 1982.) The A&NR decided not to proceed with the entire purchase, instead acquiring 6.6 miles of track from near downtown Lufkin through Keltys to Clawson. The A&NR officially abandoned the 4-mile segment from Keltys to Clawson in 1989. It no longer provides services on this track but the track remains intact for railcar storage purposes. The end of track at Clawson is just shy of its former grade crossing of Farm Road 2021 (at 31 24 01N, 94 47 46W); Google Street View shows railcars parked there as of August, 2022. In the other direction from Keltys, tracks remain in use by A&NR as far as the Bakelite Chemical facility a mile east of downtown Lufkin.

Above Left: Looking northwest at the Nile St. grade crossing, this view faces the former Keltys sawmill site. The track at left is the former Cotton Belt to Clawson, now used for railcar storage. The A&NR track curving to the right was built c.1981 to connect the main line (which intersected the Cotton Belt north of the sawmill) with the Cotton Belt tracks to the southeast toward downtown. This facilitated A&NR serving businesses along those tracks into central Lufkin. Above Right: This view is east along the A&NR main track from the Spence St. grade crossing. The Prosser diamond is in the distance, adjacent to the silver electronics cabinet. (both images, Google Street View, 2022)

: A&NR #208 (hat tip, Chino Chapa)

: Angelina County Lumber Co. #110 c.1955 (collection of The History Center at Diboll, hat tip Chino Chapa) This locomotive has been cosmetically restored and is now on display at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin.


Right: In 1983, the ICC granted permission for A&NR to operate 2.79 miles of the SP main line south from Dunagan to Buck Creek where a connection was made to a spur into a Lufkin Industries manufacturing facility that had opened c.1981. The facility was located on the north side of U.S. Highway 69, three miles west of Huntington (a town named for C. P. Huntington, one of the founders of SP.) This 1981 USGS topographic map shows the facility and the spur. Two miles of spur tracks served the facility, but only the first 0.67 miles off the main line was owned by SP; the remainder belonged to Lufkin Industries. The spur crossed (green circle) the long abandoned Cotton Belt line to White City. In 1994, service to the Lufkin Industries facility ended.

Below Left
: This 1955 aerial ((c)historicaerials.com) of Dunagan shows the connecting track used by A&NR to reach Buck Creek and Zavalla that also facilitated the T&NO's 1957 permanent reroute via Prosser. Below Right: Two half-mile long track segments remain in use at Dunagan for railcar storage. (Google Earth, 2015)

The connector at Dunagan dates back to at least 1946, probably for trackage rights to Zavalla. It was probably not for emergency reroutes to Dorr Jct. via Prosser because the northeast quadrant connector at Prosser doesn't exist even as late as 1955. The northeast connector was undoubtedly in place at Prosser for the 1957 permanent reroute, and it appears to have remained intact until the reroutes terminated in the early 1990s. The T&NO line through Dunagan was part of SP's Rockland Branch that ran from Beaumont to Jacksonville. SP began abandoning this branch from Beaumont toward Dunagan in 1991. The final track segment from Dolan to Dunagan, 23.2 miles, was abandoned in 1994. A&NR's request to the ICC to relinquish its trackage rights to Buck Creek appeared in the Federal Register on October 13, 1994.

Above: R. J. McKay took this photo at Dunagan in 1975 where the connector from the SP tracks joins the A&NR. R. J. comments: "The station sign is hard to read, but I believe this is Dunagan, Texas, a point on the Angelina & Neches River Railroad. ... there is an SP style phone booth there."

Last Revised: 11/10/2023 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.