Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 34
Corporate Name: Beaumont & Saratoga Transportation Company
Folk Name: “the Fletcher tram”
Ownership: Keith Lumber Company with J. Frank Keith. W. F. Ryder Lumber Company. Kirby Lumber Company.
Years of Operation: 1905 to 1930s
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: Six to twelve
Locations Served: Voth Hardin
Counties of Operation: Jefferson and Hardin.
Line Connections: Texas & New Orleans at Voth and the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe at Pelt
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
History: In 1905 and 1906, the American Lumberman was reporting that the Keith Lumber Company was reported to have a “large tram line.” In March 1905, the mill had been employing a good number of men on extending the company tram road a distance of six miles with a capacity of carrying a 100,000 feet a day. In June 1906, the mill had again been extending the company tram road. Extends westerly from a connection at Voth in Jefferson County with the Texas & New Orleans and the Santa Fe for twelve miles to Pelt. Keith Lumber Company incorporated the Beaumont & Saratoga Transportation Company in 1906 under Texas laws as a transportation company, not as a common carrier. The lumber company held the notes on the railway line as well as its capital stock. According to the American Lumberman, in a listing of steam logging roads that year, the Beaumont & Saratoga had three locomotives plying fifteen miles of tram road. The I. C. C. reported that, by 1910, the rolling stock consisted of four locomotives and seven flat cars. Keith Lumber used two of the transportation company's locomotives for carrying logs over its tram road and leased from the company the use of the steel tracks. The tapline locomotives hauled the logs from the four unincorporated spurs over its tracks to the mill for a charge of $3 per car. Only a very small percentage of tonnage was for other interests than Keith Lumber Company. Although Zlatkovich gives the Beaumont & Saratoga no mention, Reed does note it. Keith Lumber (which had earlieer been sold or leased to W. F. Ryder Lumber Company) sold its mill and trackage to Kirby Lumber in 1922. Kirby Lumber put in a second hardwood mill in 1923. The Kirby mill burned in 1928 but was rebuilt. It sent its output to Bessmay for planing/drying, before installing a planer sometime around 1928. It was still operating in 1951, and its operations were transferred in 1954 to the new Silsbee plant. Kirby informed the state's Railroad Commission that the Beaumont & Saratoga was used only for plant and lumbering trackage, not for common carrier purposes. It was incorrectly reported both the mill and the Beaumont & Saratoga had been abandoned by the mid 1930s. Kirby Lumber Company discontinued the industrial then the logging tram operations of its transportation company before World War II. According to Strapac, the Keith Lumber Company's tram line, the Beaumont and Saratoga Transportation Company, operated five locomotives at various times from Rockland. [The headquarters location is in error.] No 4, a 2T Lima Shay engine, was purchased in 1914 from Aldridge Lumber Company at Aldridge, Texas. Keeling noted that the Beaumont and Saratoga Transportation Company, owned by Keith Lumber Company at Voth, operated a tram logging road. Under his heading for Keith Lumber Company at Voth/Rockland, Keeling reports that the tram road used two geared and two rod locomotives,