Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 42
Corporate Name: Eastern Texas R. R. Company (Houston County Railway)
Folk Name:
Ownership: Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company (4-C)
Years of Operation: 1900 to 1924
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: 55
Locations Served: Kennard Houston
Counties of Operation: Houston and Angelina
Line Connections:
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
Equipment: Six locomotives
History: Eastern Texas Railroad, chartered in 1900, the incorporators being the Louisiana & Texas Lumber Company, a subsidiary of Central Coal & Coke Company, had its terminus at the Kennard mill. The railroad provided connections with the Cotton Belt, the Texas & New Orleans, and the Houston East & West Texas at Lufkin for Louisiana & Texas Lumber's mammoth mill at Kennard. Lufkin, according to the Nacogdoches Weekly Sentinel in 1902, was the headquarters for the rail road as well as the banking center for the Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company. The mill was situated at Tesla (or Tekla), which was about two miles north of the rail stop known as Druso, on the Eastern Texas railroad. Whether or not the A. L. Moore mill at Kennard in 1905 had rail connections with the Eastern Texas remains unknown. By 1906, the Eastern Texas, reported the American Lumberman, had a standard gauge track of fifty-five miles, eight locomotives, 150 cars, and two steam loaders. More than twenty-eight miles, according to Zlatkovich, had been completed by 1902, linking the mill with Lufkin. Two more miles the following year were finished, linking the mill with Kennard itself. Zlatkovich records that the railroad was abandoned in 1924, the year the mill closed. Reed states the railroad became part of the St Louis Southwestern. The Southern Industrial and Lumber Review article on October 20, 1903, indicated that railroading, along with logging and milling, were dangerous occupations. A conductor and an engineer died in a train wreck on the tram road in 1903. From Kennard, Houston County, to Lufkin, Angelina County. Later it expanded to Hardin County, where it linked with Kirby mills at Ariola and Village Mills in 1935. Strapac's work notes the Eastern Texas Railroad of the Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company [Central Coal and Coke Company] was built 30.3 miles from Lufkin to Kennard. The line was leased to the St Louis Southwestern [Cotton Belt] in September 1906. The logging tram and its rolling stock became known as the Houston County Railway. The plant closed in 1917, and the line was abandoned in 1921. Strapac's work includes a total of six locomotives that worked on the lines. Locomotives were sold to Delta Lumber Timber Company then to Conroe Lumber Company [Delta was the sister company located at Conroe, Texas, and Conroe Lumber Company later leased and then bought the plant]; to Peavy-Byrnes Lumber Company of Byrnes, Louisiana, then to Peavy-Moore Lumber Company of Deweyville, Texas; and to Walker County Lumber Company of Elmina, Texas. Keeling noted that the alternative name for the tram road was the Houston County Railroad.