The Railroads of San Antonio and South Central Texas
Landmark events in the history of the railroad in South Texas
As Toyota scouted the nation in 2002 for a new plant location, a San Antonio site’s proximity to two rail lines clinched the decision. It was the city’s greatest economic breakthrough in recent years. Of even greater effect was the arrival of the first railroad 125 years earlier, launching the region’s growth.
These landmark events and others are outlined in The Railroads of San Antonio and South Central Texas, the first general interest book to sort out the regional operations and impact of seven rail lines: the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio / Southern Pacific; the International & Great Northern / Missouri Pacific; the San Antonio & Aransas Pass; the San Antonio & Gulf Shore / San Antonio & Gulf; the Missouri / Kansas / Texas; the Artesian Belt / San Antonio Southern; and the San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf. There is a closing chapter on Amtrak and th eUnion Pacific.
“Before construction of the railroads," writes Hugh Hemphill, "there were practically no towns south of San Antonio to Laredo or southeast to Corpus Christi. To the west, Castroville was the jumping-off point into a vast, mostly unpopulated region. . . . Land was sold along the route to large numbers of immigrants from Europe. Natural locations for towns were train stops beside the periodic water tanks needed to replenish steam-powered locomotives.”