T & P Railroad History


          Down through the years since the railroad spanned
         the breadth of Texas, the Texas and Pacific had contin-
         ued to help spearhead the growth and development of
         West Texas and the Southwest. From that day a cen-
         tury ago when Kelly and Beale pulled into Fort Worth,
         the T&P had grown into a family of approximately 10,-
         000 railroaders equipped with the tools and the skill
         and the desire to make the Texas and Pacific's service
         the finest in the field of transportation.

          During the ensuing years, schedules were speeded up
         to transport not only their patrons hut the necessities of
         life-the commerce of the nation-to all parts of the
         country and to our armed forces abroad.

          Heavier rails were laid, more freight cars added to
         meet increasing traffic demands, and many stations
         were built anew or remodeled in the T&P's moderniza-
         tion program. In West Texas, modern and attractive
         new freight and passenger stations were constructed at
         all points along the line. Faster and more convenient
         schedules, radio and short-wave equipment for greater
         train operating efficiency, and safer, more comfortable
         and attractive coaches, diners and sleeping cars were

          J.T. Suggs, President, Texas and Pacific Railway
         Company, says:
             Never before in the history of the T&P have we
            had such a wide variety of services to sell the buy-
            ers of freight and passenger transportation. We
            have rail, truck, truck-rail and piggyback services
            for the shipping public; and family plan fares, spe-
            cial group rates, time pay credit plan and thrifty
            meals for coach and Pullman passengers. Never
            before has the variety and the quality of our ser-
            vices been better or the transportation capacity of
            our railroad greater.

          Perhaps no industry is more safety conscious than
         the railroad. Although the Texas and Pacific had not
         suffered a passenger fatality in well over a quarter of a
         century of service, it was an active promoter of safety.
         The public always was invited to its steady succession
         of safety rallies up and down the lines. Motion pictures,
         entertainment and refreshments were features of these
         safety meetings. From the standpoint of safety, hus-
         bands and fathers were assured their wives and chil-
         dren were traveling the safest way on the T&P. While
         the ever-increasing accident toll continued to mount on
         the highways, it was just the opposite on the T&P rails.

          Of all its improvements, one of the most important to
         the Texas and Pacific and to the people in the South-
         west was completed in April, 1952. That improvement
         was the complete dieselization of all its passenger,
         freight and yard services. The roaring, chugging steam

         engines were gone - the T&P now boasted its comple-
         ment of sleek and powerful streamliners - the diesel
         locomotives. Its entire motive power was provided by
         those powerful giants of the transportation world, and
         the Texas and Pacific was one of the few major rail-
         roads in the nation to claim this distinction.

          This diesel power represented an investment of more
         than $30,000,000. Besides providing the shippers and
         patrons with the finest in rail transportation service,
         the T&P's huge investments in improvements and bet-
         terments reflected the railroad's confidence in the fu-
         ture and the T&P's faith in the people of this great sec-
         tion of the nation.

          The passenger cars were air-conditioned. Beneath
         streamlined turtle-backed roofs, the ceilings were low
         and the view of the countryside was through wide pic-
         ture windows of non-steaming safety glass. Light fix-
         tures were fluorescent, and the interiors were finished
         in a pleasing modern decor. The dining cars and the
         chair cars were streamlined and repaired for the maxi-
         mum in comfort, convenience and safety. Verna M. Ni-
         coll, a tiny rate and division clerk in the passenger sec-
         tion of the Auditor Revenues Department, transcribed
         letters and reading material for the blind into Braille.

          The T&P provided a wide selection of accommoda-
         tions which appealed to women. These accommoda-
         tions all had powder mirrors, hot and cold water, toilet,
         soap and towels. All were equipped with inside lock
         doors. Comfort was enhanced by the large beds, soft
         seats, freshly laundered linens, individual lighting and
         individually controlled air-condition switches.

          The Bedroom suite in the sleeping cars provided four
         sleeping berths and was appointed with lounge chairs
         and divans, large wardrobe closets, private toilets and
         lavatories. The Compartment provided sleeping quar-
         ters for two and had full-length sofas, large lounge
         chair and private toilets and lavatories. With connect-
         ing bedrooms, a sliding partition could be folded back
         and the space doubled. Women traveling with children
         had special preference to Bedrooms and Bedroom
         Suites. The Roomette had a big drop-type bed, ward-
         robe closet, ample luggage space, and private toilet and

          The lounge car and diners afforded added travel
         pleasures. In the lounges the ladies may have refresh-
         ments, read the latest magazines (which T&P provides),
         write letters, or just sit and enjoy the friendly atmos-
         phere with fellow travelers. The dining cars offered the
         best of foods . . . whether T&P's "Tasty 'n' Thrifty"
         economy meal or the railroad's finest mutli-course din-
         ner . . . amid the most attractive setting in the trans-
         portation world. T&P diners served nearly 100,000 cups
         of "Coffee-on-the-House" everyday ... at 10 a.m. and
         3 p.m. ... compliments of the railroad.

          Another service of the T&P was the educational tours
         that were conducted for groups of school children to
         points of interest on their lines. The educational tours
         were discontinued at the outset of the Korean conflict
         but were resumed on September 1, 1953. These tours
         were designed to acquaint the children with the advan-
         tages of train travel. Detailed information regarding
         schedules and rates for tours were provided by the Pas-
         senger Traffic Department upon request. Many of the
         school children in Monahans rode the T&P as a class
         from Monahans to Wickett or Pyote with their mothers
         and friends picking them up at that destination. Max-
         ine Casey Moore recalls going with a group to the
         Texas Centennial in Dallas in 1936.

          The T&P also provided humorous and interesting
         services, sometimes knowingly and sometimes un-
         knowingly. Scott "Moon" Garrison of Monahans re-
         lated the services to the hoboes along the T&P lines:

             Located on the north side of the railroad track in
            the brush (200 yards west of the depot) was what
            was known as "Hobo Jungle" where thirty or forty
            hoboes built places where cold wouldn't hit them.
            Once in a while one of these "gun-shooters" would
            be on the train and the special agents on the train
            would stop the train and unload him. The hoboes
            always had "Mulligan Stew" going. How would
            these hoboes operate? They would know which
            houses to call on (by certain markings on the gate
            posts). They'd pick up food from the townspeople
            and always kept this stew pot going in "Hobo Jun-

             Once in a while they'd (the townspeople) clean
            out the jungle. Most of the time the T&P'd let them
            ride the trains. The hoboes even had stoves in the
            box cars. They went where they wanted to. During
            the Depression they just lived in a traveling box-
            car. Some of the hoboes were tough. An escaped
            convict out of Oklahoma was taken off the train at

          Another employee of the railroad, Paul Frame, re-
         lated another humorous incident:

             While I was Agent for the T&P Railway and
            Railway Express Agency at Barstow in about the
            year 1924-5, we had a passenger-express train from
            the west due at Barstow around 4 P.M. Every Fri-
            day Charlie Dyer, who operated a grocery store in
            Barstow, received quite a shipment of produce          
             from Crombie and Company, El Paso. After un-
             loading this shipment on a four-wheeled baggage
             truck, I pulled it in the clear of the train. The Ex-
             press messenger, Bud Neeley, told me to pull up
             another empty truck to the baggage car door, then
             he told me to get my hatchet. As I came out the of-
             fice door with the hatchet, I saw him unload a
             large wooden shipping crate, about four feet
             square onto the truck. When I handed him the
             hatchet, he immediately started tearing into this
             large box. After tearing off about a foot of boards,
             I heard him say, "Come out of there." A young
             man about nineteen or twenty years of age came
             crawling out of the box. Neeley told me ever since
             he left El Paso he had a funny feeling, like some-
             one was watching him, said it finally got the best
             of him and after leaving Pecos, he went up to this
             box, kicked it and said, "What are you doing in
             there?" And this young man answered him. The
             train pulled out leaving the box and the boy with
             me. I made him sit on the depot platform until I got
             the sheriff, John Wade, down there and took
             charge of the boy. It was learned later that he was
             a deserter from the army. He got homesick and
             talked two of his buddies to nail him up in the box
             with a couple of bottles of soda pop and some or-
             anges, and ship him to his parents in Fort Worth.
             This was from Los Angeles. The army sent men af-
             ter him and John Wade collected fifty dollars for
             capturing him.

            As a youngster Walter Burkholder of Barstow re-
          called some of the entertainment the railroad unknow-
          ingly provided him:

               There used to be two trains a day, east and west,
             one in the afternoon about one o'clock going one
             way and about an hour later one going the other
             way. They met at Toyab. The night train would
             come through about one or two o'clock and we
             used to catch the blinds and ride it to Pecos, run up
             to Jim King's hamburger stand and eat a bowl of
             chili for a dime and then run back to the station
             and catch the blinds back to Barstow. The blinds
             were between the engine and the baggage car.
             Why one of us never got killed I'll never know. Six
             or eight of us would be hanging on the blinds. Two
             or three times a week, we'd go over and get us a
             bowl of chili.

               Another thing we used to do for entertainment
             was to watch the circus come to town. Back in
             those early days (1916) the Barnum and Bailey Cir-
             cus would travel by train and go from El Paso to
             Abilene. This was too far for them to travel, and
             they always had to stop at Monahans for water
             and exercise. We used to catch a local. Some of the
             boys would catch local box cars and go down to
             Monahans to watch them unload the elephants,
             horses, camels, and take the sides off the cages of
             the wild animals. We'd get to see a circus of our
             own-free. Then we'd catch the local and ride
          James Milton Frame of Ruidoso, New Mexico, came
         to this area in 1889 with his brother, W.L. "Sport".

         Frame, who came as Agent for the T&P. The depot
         that time was a very small affair, with an old box car
         for a freight house. His brother was an expert telegra-
         pher and taught J.M. telegraphy. He worked in Midland
         for several years and returned to Monahans in 1893
         His son, Paul, was born in Monahans in 1900 and gives
         us some insight as to the work here:

             As little history of Monahans as I remember and
            as my parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Frame, have told
            me I'll try to relate to you. My uncle, "Sport"
            Frame came in 1888 from Kimbolton, Ohio, and
            went to work nights as a telegrapher. The next
            year his family and ours moved to Monahans. My
            father also started studying telegraphy. In those
            days in order to study telegraphy you had to hang
            around a depot, but to do this you had to work for
            the Agents, doing all the flunkey work. One agent
            at Odessa was in the coal business and my father
            had to unload coal from a coal car in order to have
            the privilege of staying in the depot to study teleg-
            raphy. After having qualified, he was sent to Mid-
            land to work nights, twelve hours a day then. This,
            of course, was the old Texas and Pacific Railway.
            He later was agent at Metz, Monahans, Allamore,
            Odessa and Pecos. After having worked for the
            T&P for twenty-seven years, he moved to New
            Mexico to work for the old El Paso and Southwest-
            em Railroad. When I went to work for the T&P, I
            went to work on the same job my dad did, both at
            nights, but mine was only for eight hours and his
            was for twelve hours. I went to work on the third
            trick-twelve midnight till eight o'clock.

             The young people were great at playing pranks,
            such as hanging dummies where the porter on the
            night passenger train would step right against it
            and report a hanging at Monahans when the train
            got to Odessa, or take a poor dirty bum and strip
            him in the depot and scrub him down with 20 Mule
            Team Borax, then buy him new clothes.

          The Texas and Pacific was not content with running
         a line from Fort Worth to El Paso, but they became in-
         terested in initiating "short" lines to service the terri-
         tory leading to the main line. One of these short lines to
         be added was the Texas-New Mexico Railway Com-
         pany which was chartered on November 17, 1927, and
         opened in 1928. It extended from Monahans to Loving-
         ton, N.M., but only 37~ miles of the line are in Texas.
         The service on this road consisted of a mixed train
         daily each way, and the schedule carried a unique note
         "subject to delay account freight connections."

          This was one of the longest new road construction
         projects completed by the T&P since the turn of the
         century. 123 miles in length from Monahans to Loving-
         ton, the construction was undertaken when develop-
         ment of the country to the north made it apparent that
         a rail outlet was necessary. At first there was some
         rivalry and controversy as to whether the new branch go
         northward from Pyote or from Monahans, but it was
         decided that Monahans was the logical place for this
         intersection, and in November, 1928, construction fi-
         nally got under way.

          One train and engine crew, a crew of civil engineers,
         and some 200 laborers started to work. One usually
         thinks of 1928 as modern days of all normal conven-
         iences. Such was not the case with this Texas-New
         Mexico job. The road was constructed through country
         for the most part unpopulated, and it was necessary to
         provide bunk and dining cars for the crews and labor-

          Meals for the train crew were provided by them-
         selves, cooked over a two-burner oil stove and served
         cowboy style. The bath problem was solved by the use
         of the engineer's cab as a bathhouse where there was
         plenty of cold water in zero weather. Working hours
         were set at 14 to 16 hours per day in order to complete
         the road into Wink and Kermit on time. On New Year's
         Eve, 1928, the road was completed into Wink and the
         occasion was celebrated with a banquet. At Kermit
         there was a two day celebration. After completing the
         railroad to the New Mexico line, it was delayed one
         year. Later it was built into Lovington, a distance of 113
         miles. The service on this road met the immediate
         needs of the developing oilfields.

          One of the railroad contracting firms who was in-
         strumental in building the T&NM was Allbands and
         Davis, a firm composed of R.E. Davis and I.L. Allhands
         of Dallas. Mr. Allhands says in a letter dated April 1,
         1960, to Mrs. D.M. Parmelee:

             Our first introduction to your western country
            was better than 40 years ago. It was during a time
            when we were busy on highway and railroad con-
            struction in three or four states, that an harrassing
            attack of "oil fever" struck us. Long before most
            men positively knew that treasures of oil waited
            beneath that desert country, E.P. Turner, (former
            General Passenger Agent of the Texas & Pacific
            Railroad) and E.L. Stratton, both of Dallas, had
            fired us with enthusiasm of its oil possibilities.
            Through them we invested several thousand dol-
            lars in lease spreads, but we were ahead of our
            time, for those leases lapsed long before oil was
            discovered. An entry in my diary for March 4th,
            1920, tells of our getting off the train in Pecos that
            morning ... Before long Mr. C.E. Mitchell, chief
            engineer of the Texas and Pacific, was sending out
            invitations calling for bids on a 35 mile railroad ex-
            tension from Monahans to this booming city of
            Wink. And so it was that several contractors got
            off the train at Monahans, September 25, 1928, a
            party composed of Perch Hill and his partner Wil-
            son, Roll Johnston, George McCall, G.T. Moore,
            R.E. Davis and J.L. Alihands.

             We were met by engineers M.L. Ford and G.L.
            Davis. Their only conveyance was a Ford truck
            with a bed. In fact, such an outfit was about the
            only thing that could traverse that sandy waste-
            land. We all stood up in that truck bed and headed
            up a row of white stakes where lizards scuttled
            and where pack rats did not have much to pack.
             The firm of Allhands and Davis were low bid-
            ders on this extension which was to be a rush job,
            for there was oil to haul out and material to move
            in. The writer looked after our work out of Joplin,
            Missouri, office and my partner, R.E. Davis, spent
            90 frenzied days crowding our mule teams in an
            endeavor to keep the grading out of the way of the

          "Moon" Scott Garrison says that he came to Mona-
         hans in December, 1927, and worked as cashier at the
         T&P Railroad. At that time there was no T&NM as we
         came to know it later. He worked three months as cash-
         ier and then went to work for Shell Oil Company, but
         soon he came back to T&P as switcher while working
         for Shell. On November 28, 1928, he went to work for
         the T&NM Railroad:

             I was on a work train going as far as Cheyenne
            or the draw between Kermit and Jal, just 1~ miles
            this side of the state line. Cheyenne had lots of rail-
            road workers. We got "hung up" eight miles out.
            For a long time we had to open the wire gate and
            then shut it A rancher stopped us from laying
            track. He had a 30-30 and ordered us not to cross
            his fence until we got an injunction His neighbor
            reached for his 30-30. They were fixin' to move a
            herd across the track.

             When the T&NM was first built from here to
            Wink, we had two trains daily to carry freight. Be-
            fore the T&NM was built, more freight was set off
            at Pyote than at any other point between El Paso
            and Dallas. When the spur went out of here, freight
            went by rail. Before that, we had fifteen or twenty
            wagon loads of pipe at a time. We just had an old
            dirt road to travel on. Monahans was more cen-
            trally located for the spur. They were figuring on it
            going through to Clovis. It went to Lovington.

             When I came to Monahans in 1927, I slept three
            nights on my desk in the depot before I could get a
            room. Then I got a room from Mary and Sam
            Keithley. "Happy" Cockrum, Tom Wilson, and E.L
            Camel were brakemen on the T&NM. Bill Barnell
            and "Puss" Taylor worked some.

             The T&NM train is still running (1979). The
            Christmas before I retired in 1977, we came in with
            166 cars and three engines. Once we ran to Jal with
            thirteen cars of clay when they had a "wild" well.
            Every truck around here was hauling clay, too.
             Lovington was a big stock loading center. They
            had cattle cargo which would come to Monahans
            to be put on a train going east. We would pull off
            our engine, put a T&P engine and caboose on and
            away they'd go. I'd ride in the "box" (caboose) to
            see if dirt was flying or if we'd get a "hot box" or
            watch the train going around the curve.

             If you worked sixteen hours, you had to be off
            ten hours. Sixteen hours was "hog saw"-the
            length of time the crew would work. They'd send
            out a "dogcatcher" if we had to have a relief crew.
             We'd tie up on fifteen hours and 59 minutes be-
             cause we could go back to work in eight hours.
               We bad a train wreck about nine miles out of
             Hobbs near the Sun Camp. The track just kicked
             under the train. Then we had another one coming
             around a curve out of Cheyenne in which the cars
             overturned. Then Jesse Casey sideswiped a bunch
             of cars at Jal. The crew that started working on the
             T&NM were Walt Hamlin, engineer, and Kim
             Terry, conductor.

            Soon after 1928 Monahans began to feel the begin-
          ning of the oil boom that came to Ward County in the
          ensuing years. Bert Morris, another employee of the
          T&NM, gives us another insight on these developments
          as he rode the line:

               After the depression I went to work on the Texas
             and New Mexico. Things had begun to pick up
             somewhat. In fact, it was not unusual for us to
             bring in from 100 to 150 cars from Lovington and
             put them in the yard here in Monahans. Very sel-
             dom we worked under sixteen hours a day. There
             was a lot of building going on up that way and a lot
             of oil being shipped out. A little extra boom came
             along, and the T&P built a bunch of these loading
             racks and shipped the oil by rail. That was about
             the time the Permian Basin was being drilled. The
             Keystone was about the hottest spot about that
             time. It seems like I remember that you could get
             up on top of that train at night and you could see
             nothing but a string of lights on the oil rigs all the
             way from Eunice to Crane. It was just something
             else, that's all. Then the T&P was really on a boom.
             The New Mexico oil was shipped in by car and at
             that time they had seven "dodgers" running out of
             Monahans. They would take as many cars as they
             could take up Duoro hill (in Ector County), put
             them in the yard there, and come back and get an-
             other load. From Duoro hill, one engine could pull
             as many as two engines could pull up the hill, This
             lasted until the oil companies got their pipe lines
             completed. Mr. Fred Gispon was the agent for the
             T&P at that time.

            As a young boy Jesse Casey worked in the office of
          R.E. Davis of the construction firm that built the T&NM

             He says.'
               In 1919 we moved to Wickett which was Aroya
             at that time. When I graduated from high school, I
             went to work on the T&NM Railroad. I helped to
             build this railroad, first hauling cross ties with a
             model T Ford truck. Then I got a job as office boy
             for Mr. Ruben Davis who was Vice-President and
             General Manager of T&NM. I was on the work
             train as brakeman laying the rails for several
             months. Then I was promoted to conductor, and in
             1941 I moved to El Paso where I retired from Texas
             and Pacific in 1974. I remember the two huge
             wooden water tanks just west of the highway
             crossing that goes north. Every train stopped here
             for water which was pumped from a hand dug
            well, now abandoned, and where the little steel
            building called the depot now is. (1979)

            Another service th T&P provided was the T&P Motor
            Transport which was started in Monahans in 1935.
            Andy Anderson and his wife Gladys opened their
            home to the truck drivers. The first truck foreman was

         Nile Cook. The T&P Railway bought a mail permit to 
         Lovington. This was the beginning of the truck run into
         Dallas and on into Louisiana. This trucking business
         developed into carrying merchandise that was uni
         loaded at points along the main line-Big Spring, Mid-
         land, Odessa, Monahans-and trucked out in all direc-
         tions north and south of the railroad to nearby towns.
         B.D. Martin worked for this short line for 35 years;
         George Paylor for over 40 years. Holt Eastland says:

             I went to work for the T&P Motor Transport in
            1937 and worked both in Big Spring and Monahans
            for about six years before I went to work for the
            Cabot Company in Wickett. We trucked merchan-
            dise from the towns along the main line to the area
            towns north and south of the railroad. When I
            came to Monahans, I ran the mail route to Loving-
            ton since at that time the T&NM only carried
            freight. During the war it carried passengers.
                                      AND THEN
          On March 22, 1967, this beautiful era of passenger
         service passed into oblivion. On this day the Texas and
         Pacific Railway ended passenger train service for Fort
         Worth to El Paso. On this day the last two trains, one
         heading for Fort Worth and the other to El Paso, passed
         each other for the last time. This marked the first time
         Monahans had been without passenger service in more
         than 65 years. Commercial airlines and super-highways
         helped to kill passenger train service to West Texas.
         The eastbound train, No.26, pulled out of Monahans at
         4:30 A.M. and was to terminate its last run in Fort
         Worth about 1 P.M. The westbound train, No.27, de-
         parted at 7 A.M. for El Paso and was due there about
         seven hours later. At the end, T&P usually had one day
         coach on each train. For years the line had four trains
         complete with pullmans, dining cars, and a lounge. In
         1963 the line dropped sleepers on two of the four trains.
         And the next year, two Texas Eagles were discontinued.  
         Later, the other pullman cars were eliminated.  
         T&P cited continued financial deficit operations as reasons
         for each action.

Courtesy: Ward County 1887-1977 Historical Archives.
Last Updated: August 04, 1998