St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway
Gulf Coast Lines system map, circa 1920
|Reporting mark||StLB&M, SLBM, SBM|
|Dates of operation||6 June 1903–1 March 1956|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
Chartered on June 6, 1903, the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway (also known as the Brownie) was a 200 mile (321 km) railroad that operated from Brownsville, Texas to Gulf Coast Junction in Houston, Texas. It served numerous towns and cities along its routes and operated a rail bridge south of Laredo, Texas, in junction with the Mexican government. The Brownie connected the citizens of Brownsville to nearby Corpus Christi for the first time on land rather than using water transportation.
After Uriah Lott's success with his first railroad project, the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad in March 1875, he envisioned a plan of creating land transportation along the southern interior of Texas. Uriah collaborated with business partner Benjamin Franklin Yoakum to create a large rail system that reached from Chicago, Illinois, in the north and Mexico City, Mexico, to the south. To put this plan into effect, Yoakum used control from one of his two railroads he was president from - the St. Louis - San Francisco - to create several railroads within Texas and Louisiana as a system. Known as the Gulf Coast Lines, the system was created in three phases under three different railroads: The St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico (Phase 1 - June 1903), the Beaumont, Sour Lake & Western (Phase 2 - October 1903) and the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railway (Phase 3 - September 1909).
In April 1904, the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico took delivery of their first three new locomotives: Burnham, Williams & Co. 4-4-0s #925, 926 & 927. Shortly after the arrival of the locomotives, the first segment of track was completed on July 4, 1904, which reached Brownsville, Texas, from its starting point in Robstown, Texas. On December 31, 1907, the second (and last) major segment of track on the Brownie was completed to Houston from its starting point in Robstown and reaching Sinton as well.
To further expand the southern portions of the Robstown-Brownsville route, the StLB&M acquired the financially troubled San Antonio, Chapin & Rio Grande Railway as well as the San Benito & Rio Grande Valley Railway; one of the earliest expansions of the Rio Grande Valley Spider Web Rail Network which linked various small to large cities together.
Gulf Coast Lines era
In 1913, Yoakum and Lott's dream came to an end when the St. Louis - San Francisco entered receivership. Upon hearings of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the court ordered the receivers to sell off all of Yoakum's rail projects to recover from lost profits or face entire abandonment. In 1916, the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railway assumed control of the Gulf Coast Lines and established itself as an independent railway company until 1924. The New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway Co. was incorporated in 1916 to hold the securities of four railroads: (1) New Orleans, Texas & Mexico; (2) Beaumont, Sour Lake & Western; (3) Orange & Northwestern; and (4) St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railroads. Bonds which had previously been issued by the San Francisco & St. Louis Company went into default in 1913. Foreclosure of the liens took place in 1915. The creditors of the bonds reorganized into the new company in 1916, which became the owner. At that time new officers were elected. The new chairman was Frank Andrews of Houston, Texas, and the president became G.H. Walker, a banker in St. Louis. Additional officers and directors are set out in the Manual of Statistics Handbook cited below.] The four railroads owned by the new company were known as the Gulf Coast Lines. G.H. Walker would later become the father-in-law of Prescott Bush.
Under the Gulf Coast Lines ownership of the StLB&M, the railway saw no new purchases of rolling stock or locomotives. The last new rail line was completed in 1920 from Brownsville to Southmost, Texas.
Missouri Pacific era
Under the presidency of Lewis W. Baldwin of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the Gulf Coast Lines were acquired in December 1924 and renamed as the Gulf Coast Lines Division. This acquisition now gave the Missouri Pacific access to the southern portions of Texas in competition with the Southern Pacific Railroad and its Atlantic Lines Division.
To further expand the Spider Web Rail Network in the Rio Grande Valley, the Missouri Pacific acquired the Rio Grande City Railway under the New Orleans, Texas & Mexico Railroad in 1926. The final acquisition for the Spider Web Rail Network came in 1941 when the former narrow gauged Port Isabel & Rio Grande Valley railway was acquired by the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico.
Unfortunately, the Missouri Pacific declared bankruptcy in 1933 and entered into trusteeship. During the MP/Trusteeship era, the STLB&M continued to modernize and expand. The last new steam locomotive delivered to the StLB&M was Lima 0-8-0 #9766 in 1929. The StLB&M took delivery of its first new diesel-electric locomotive: General Electric 44 Ton #813 in January 1942. The last new diesel-electric locomotive to arrive on the StLB&M was Baldwin AS-16 #4331 in July 1954.
After 13 years of trusteeship - the longest of its kind in North American history - the StLB&M (as well as the other Gulf Coast Lines subsidiaries) were reorganized and merged away into the Missouri Pacific (under the presidency of Paul J. Neff) on March 1, 1956, when the United States District Court of St. Louis terminated the trusteeship. Shortly after the merger did the name of 'StLB&M' and 'Gulf Coast Lines' quickly disappear and various feeder/branch lines were aggressively being abandoned.
Motive power equipment
The StLB&M purchased various lightweight locomotives to serve main lines, branch lines and various feeder lines along the system.
Under the Yoakum era, the steam locomotives were lettered "ST. LOUIS BROWNSVILLE & MEXICO" along the upper section of the tender and the reporting marks were applied on the cab.
Under the Gulf Coast Lines era, the steam locomotives were lettered "GULF COAST LINES" along the upper section of the tender, but the railroad's reporting marks below the locomotive's roadnumber on the cab.
Under the Missouri Pacific era, the steam locomotives were lettered "MISSOURI PACIFIC LINES" along the upper section of the tender, but the railroad's reporting marks were applied below the locomotive's roadnumber on the cab and on the steam dome.
|St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Steam Roster|
|Builder||Date||Locomotive Model||Quantity||Road numbers||Notes|
|Burnham, Williams & Co.||April 1904 – December 1905||4-4-0||16||925 – 927, 6 – 11, 910 – 912 & 952 – 955||925 – 927 are the first steam locomotives delivered|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||June 1905 – December 1907||4-6-0||12||251 – 262|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||1905||0-6-0||3||9580 – 9582|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||August 1914||2-8-0||20||81 – 100||#100 is the last new steam locomotive delivered before Gulf Coast Lines era|
|Alco-Brooks Locomotive Works||1926||2-8-2||20||1111–1120||#1111 is the first new steam locomotive delivered in the Missouri Pacific era. 1111-1118 were oil burners while 1119-1120 were lignite fired|
|Alco-Brooks Locomotive Works||1927||4-6-2||6||1156–1161|
|Alco-Richmond Locomotive Works||1927||0-8-0||5||9601 – 9605|
|Lima Locomotive Works||1927||0-8-0||3||9761 – 9762, 9766||#9766 is the last new steam locomotive|
Since the Brownie had various branch lines and feeder lines (especially within the Rio Grande Valley) among its system, the Missouri Pacific purchased various lightweight diesel locomotives and switchers to operate where heavy diesel or steam locomotives were not permitted. Only the Electro Motive Division E and F units were used in passenger service along the Brownsville - Houston route.
|St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Diesel Roster|
|Builder||Date||Locomotive Model||Quantity||Road numbers||Notes|
|General Electric||January – February 1942||44 Tonner||2||813 – 814||#813 is the first new diesel-electric locomotive|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||March 1944 – May 1946||VO-1000||5||9153 – 9155, 9160 – 9161|
|Electro Motive Division||March 1947||E7A||2||7008 – 7009||The only six axle diesel-electric locomotives on the roster|
|Electro Motive Division||November 1947 – June 1948||F3A||24||529 – 552|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||February – March 1949, March 1950||DRS4-4-1500||6||4112 – 4115, 9148 – 9149|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||March – April 1949||DS4-4-1000||6||9162 – 9167|
|Electro Motive Division||October 1949, April 1950||F7A||10||607 – 614, 615 – 616|
|Electro Motive Division||July 1950 – April 1954||GP7||28||4116 – 4120, 4159 – 4165, 4203 – 4207, 4249 – 4253, 4284 – 4286, 4298, 4323 – 4324|
|Electro Motive Division||April 1951||SW9||5||9187 – 9191|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||April 1952||S12||3||9227 – 9229|
|Baldwin Locomotive Works||June – July 1954||AS-16||6||4326 - 4331||#4331 is the last new locomotive delivered to the StLB&M|
- The Manual of Statistics, Stock Exchange Hand-book at page 757
- The Empire That Missouri Pacific Serves
- The St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway
- The San Benito & Rio Grande Valley Railway
- The Rio Grande City Railway
- The Port Isabel & Rio Grande Valley Railway
- The San Antonio & Rio Grande Railway
- Missouri Pacific Steam Locomotive Roster
- Baldwin AS-16 Roster
- Baldwin DRS4-4-1500 Roster
- Baldwin DS4-4-1000 Roster
- Baldwin S12 Roster
- Baldwin VO-1000 Roster
- EMD SW9 Production
- EMD E7A Production
- EMD GP7 Production
- General Electric 44 Ton Roster
- 4-4-0 American Production
- 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler Production
- 2-8-0 Consolidation Production
- Little Railroad and How It Grew
- Robert Wooster: Beaumont, Sour Lake And Western Railway from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved December 23, 2008.