Arcadia Publishing has released a new edition to its line of Images of Rail books: Rails Around Houston by Doug Weiskopf. Weiskopf, a native of Houston and lifelong railroad history buff, is the author of several articles on Houston Railroading and is the chapter historian of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
The Republic of Texas chartered several railroads, but the first line built was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado, which began construction near the Port of Houston Turning Basin in 1851. The BBB&C would become the oldest segment of the country’s first transcontinental railroad under sole ownership: the Southern Pacific’s Sunset Route, connecting New Orleans and Los Angeles, completed in 1883. By the time oil was discovered near Beaumont in 1901, Houston was such a transportation hub that it became the heart of the petrochemical industry. Houston saw narrow-gauge lines, two interurban lines, light rail, and even a monorail. For many hears, the chamber of commerce proudly proclaimed that Houston was the place “where seventeen railroads meet the sea.” More than 30 beautiful trains with names like Sunset Limited, Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Twin Star Rocket, Bluebonnet, Texas Rocket, and Texas Chief would serve three depots.
Rails Around Houston features many unpublished photographs from the collection of the Houston public Library’s Houston Metropolitan Research Center and explores the more than 60 passenger trains that served Houston, giving access to most major cities in the United States. Rails Around Houston contains 128 pages. The softcover book retails for $21.99.
Arcadia Publishing publishes local and regional history in the United States. Their mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. A full list of their book catalog is available online.