Jason Lee Davis' RailFan Pages -
Railroading In and Around
Commerce, Texas

"The Paris Branch"
Former Southern Pacific owned and operated northern end of the late
Texas Midland Railway between Commerce and Paris, Texas

Photos of the Cotton Belt & Southern Pacific in and around Commerce Texas.
Minimum recommended viewing resolution: 1024x768

Fortunately, a gentleman by the name of Ed Cooper had the interest and foresight to document the rail activity around the Commerce area while attending school at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) in the early 1970's.  Ed has graciously permitted me to feature some of his pics on my site.  Credit for most of these photos goes to him.  Thanks Ed!!!

This photo was taken just east of Commerce on the recently closed Paris branch line formerly the Texas Midland/Texas & New Orleans.  About six miles of track was retained for several years after 1971 for car storage as seen here.  The segment used for storage ran from the edge of town to the southern edge of the Middle Sulphur River bottom north-east of the Horton Community in the south-west corner of Delta County. The reason for the line's closure can be seen in the photo below...

photo: Ed Cooper

This photo of me was taken by my mother on November 1, 1971. This is a view to the North-east on the Texas Midland/Texas & New Orleans line from near the Southern crossing of Dogtown Road looking toward Klondike, TX. This location is in the Jernigan River Bottom about 8 miles North-east of Commerce.  The dark section on the roadbed is the Jernigan River bridge structure.  Klondike is approximately located at the tree line visible at the far end of the roadbed at which point the line made a turn to the East to continue on to Cooper.  The right of way shown here is now Federally protected property bordering Cooper Lake and has taken on a jungle-like appearance.

Service by the Southern Pacific from Commerce to Paris via the old Texas Midland/Texas & New Orleans line halted as a direct result of a major flood in 1971.  Washouts of the line at the North Sulphur River and Jernigan River occurred during the same weather event.  Up until the time of the washouts, there was a daily train from Commerce to Paris servicing Campbell Soup's facility in Paris.  Approximately three car loads of produce and other ingredients each day went into the Soup plant and six to seven car loads of canned soup came out.  These cars were part of a block in the Blue Streak (#343) set out & picked up in Commerce. Motive power for the Paris run was provided by the same engine at that provided daily power for the "Dodger" to Greenville.  Southern Pacific crews ran service from the Cotton Belt interchange at Commerce and used their own SP caboose which was kept at the Commerce Yard.

photo: Nov. 1, 1971, L. Joyce Davis


 Page/Photographs 2006 Jason Lee Davis unless otherwise credited.
(Otherwise credited refers to most of the photos on this page.  Thanks go to Ed Cooper and mom!)

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WebMaster: Jason Lee Davis | Page hosted by TAMU-Commerce | Last update: August 19, 2012