TX-13407 Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway


In 1852, years before the nation's first transcontinental rail line was completed in 1869, the Texas Legislature chartered what would become the Texas & Pacific Railway Company. The Civil War halted progress, but in 1888 the line reached Weatherford in its advance westward to the Pacific coast. The tracks then turned south to avoid the Palo Pinto Hills. This left northwestern Parker County and most of Palo Pinto County without rail support. In the 1880s, Mineral Wells became a resort. A stage line connected it to the railroad at Millsap, but the town's popularity called for a rail connection. Several men, led by W.A. Stone of Missouri, received a charter for the Weatherford, Mineral Wells & Northwestern Railway Company in 1889. The line linked Mineral Wells to Weatherford, which by then was served by the T&P and Santa Fe railroads. The WMW&NWRR established a depot, offices and repair shop in Weatherford. The new line, built largely on land obtained from the Franco-Texan Land Company, included stops at Lemley, Franco, Garner and Rock Creek. On January 1, 1891, a crowd in Mineral Wells greeted the first train's arrival, and by 1899 approximately 33,000 passengers made the trip each year from Weatherford to Mineral Wells. The line also supported freight shipments. T&P eventually acquired the line and extended it to Salesville, Oran and Graford. By the beginning of the 1940s, after decades of highway expansion, the rail line was no longer productive. The advent of World War II and the training of troops at nearby Camp Wolters resurrected the line briefly. It became part of the Missouri Pacific system in 1988 and closed in 1992. (2006)

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