Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 33
Corporate Name: Jefferson & Northwestern Railway Company
Folk Name:
Ownership: Clark & Boice Lumber Company
Years of Operation: 1891 to 1942
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: 50
Locations Served: Dallas (Dallas)
Counties of Operation: Marion, Cass, Morris, and Camp.
Line Connections: Texas & Pacific and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas at Jefferson; Cotton Belt at Naples.
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
History: Clark & Boice Lumber Company began constructing a narrow gauge logging tram in 1891 from its mill at Jefferson, in Marion County, northerly to harvest the timber of the pineries of Cass County. Milled lumber at Jefferson, with its connections to the Texas & Pacific and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, could be rail exported to the rest of the nation. In 1899, the Jefferson & Northwest Railway Company was chartered as a common carrier, with the common stock of the railway owned by the stockholders of Clark & Boice. In 1906, noted the American Lumberman that C. E. Bancker was the railroad's secretary. The road was twenty-five miles in length, and rolling stock included five locomotives and seventy-five cars. Before 1910, the railway had no passenger service. But with the road converting to standard gauge and extending to Linden, the Marion County seat, regular freight and passenger service over the Jefferson & Northwestern tracks supposedly became a booming business, according to Reed. In fact, the tapline had no regular passenger service that year, handled only the freight of a tie company situated along the tracks, and did not handle the lumber of several small mills also situated on the tracks. More than eighty percent of the tonnage and revenue of the railway was in the interest of Clark & Boice. In later years, however, Jefferson & Northwestern did freight other interests' tonnage (particularly cotton) and developed a considerable passenger service to Jefferson from as far north as Naples and Linden. By 1926, the tracks had been built into Naples, connecting with the Cotton Belt there, giving the railway more than fifty miles of tracks. Continual struggles with the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Interstate Commerce Commission by Clark & Boice to get through rates led to large deficits by 1928. The coming of the Great Depression, the introduction of cost-effective logging trucks, and the reduction of cotton shippage resulted in the abandonment of the line from Linden to Naples in 1933. In 1934, a new charter reorganized the company with the new name of the Jefferson & Northwestern Railroad Company. In 1942, the remaining trackage from Jefferson to Linden was abandoned. This tram line, more than any other, had tremendous impact on state and county road development of surface roads from Jefferson to the communities of Linden, Kildare, Bivens, Naples, Marietta, Atlanta, and Mt. Pleasant after World War One. Jefferson & Northwestern controlled the traffic from Naples to Linden to Jefferson, while its subsidiary tram roads, the Linden & Kildare and the Atlanta & Mt. Pleasant, affected the traffic of the remaining communities mentioned above. Some of the current road surfaces affected were Highways 77, 59, 49, and 43.