| January/February 1977

The Texas State Railroad, extending from Rusk to Palestine, Texas, a distance of about 28 miles, was acquired by the State Parks and Wildlife Commission as a tourist attraction about four years ago. This line has been completely rebuilt at a cost of nearly six million dollars. Four steam locomotives have been bought and most of them have been rebuilt, along with rolling stock. It was my honor to be present at the opening and dedication of this project June 25 at which time Governor Brisco made the chief address. Over 800 people rode the train on its first day runs. Since that time it has made quite a number of special runs, and always those who rode it had to make reservations in advance. This promises to be one of the leading attractions in this part of east Texas.

This was Texas's first and only state owned railroad. It was originally built by convict labor about 80 years ago; and a large portion of the rebuilding of it in the past four years has been by state convict labor. It is said to be the longest state park in our state, with two large parks at each end of the line, with large complexes, built largely by native stone, and appealing to the eye. The line runs through some very scenic countryside of rolling hills, and towering pines, and other trees common to this area. On the final run of this year I have been invited to be present and to supply a steam whistle which was used over 65 years ago on the old I. & G. N Railroad and which bears the name 'G.E. WRIGHT' stamped on the top of it. Eighteen ex-railroad men will accompany me on this trip, and of course, we are expecting to hear some 'fancy whistling,' that is, if 'the hoghead' (engineer) knows his whistling. I ask the readers of this magazine to keep in mind that this line will be in full operation next year, beginning about May 1, and all are invited to visit and enjoy the ride.


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