Preserving the Legacy of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway
and all railroads throughout Ark-La-Tex-oma's Cotton Belt Region


Commerce Depot
Cotton Belt Depot, Commerce, Texas
Robert McFatridge engineer | Ed Cooper photo

The 11th Annual
Cotton Belt Regional Railroad Symposium

Sam Rayburn Student Center
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, Texas

Fri. - Sat.,  Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2016.

The Symposium is scheduled annually for the weekend of the first Saturday in October.

Friday evening's activities include an informal "Show-And-Tell"/"Mix-N-Mingle."  If you have items of railroad interest you would like to display on Friday and/or Saturday, please contact Jason Davis so we can arrange for appropriate table or display space.  Please note that this is NOT a swap-meet.

The formal event on Saturday will consist of railroad presentations; a Luncheon reaturing an musical tribute ot Leo Sykes; an update on NETEX/Blacklands Railroad operations on the Cotton Belt's former C-branch; and other activities to be announced.  Audience participation is encouraged.

Dedicated to Leo Sykes

Leo Sykes
Leo Sykes at the first Cotton Belt Symposium on Nov. 30, 2006.
L. Joyce Davis photoLeo Sykes
Leo Sykes on the disucssion panel at the 2011 Symposium.
L. Joyce Davis photo

Leo Sykes
Leo Sykes leading the band at the 2015 Sympoisum Luncheon.
J. L. Davis photo

The 2016 Cotton Belt Symposium is dedicated to the memory of Leo Sykes. Leo was an Equipment Installer in charge of communications for the Cotton Belt in northeast Texas and was based out of Commerce for many years.  Leo was a dedicated supporter of and participant in the symposium, beginning with the first event in 2006.
October 25, 1937 - May 18, 2016
Years of Service to the SSW:  1970-1994


The luncheon will be held at noon on Saturday. 
The meal will feature a deli-style buffet and include sides, desert, drink, and a live musical tribute to Leo Sykes by the Linda Sykes Roberts family band.  The cost for the luncheon meal has now been reduced to an estimated $10 each, thanks to our generous sponsers, payable by cash or check at the time of on-site registration at the event.  (No money is collected in advance.  Sorry, credit cards cannot be accepted at the event.)

Luncheon meal tickets may be requested through our on-line reservation system here or by contacting me directly, prior to the reservation deadline, noon on Tuesday, September 27:


If you learn that will be unable to claim and pay for your requested ticket(s), please notify Jason so your meal ticket may be reallocated to someone else who may wish to dine at the luncheon.

Presented by

TAMU-Commerce Department of Engineering & Technology

TAMU-Commerce College of Science & Engineering

James G. Gee Library Special Collections

Commerce Public LibraryCommerce Public Library logo

2016 Sponsors

Luncheon Sponsor(s):

Opportunity Available
Contact Jason with inquiries.

Keynote Sponsor:

Opportunity Available
Contact Jason with inquiries.

Gold Spike Sponsors:

Blacklands Railroad
Wayne Defebaugh, President

Stephen & Marinelle Morrow

Greenville EDCGreenville Board of Development

College of Science & Engineering

Dr. Brent Donham, Dean

Silver Spike Sponsor(s):

Dr. Madeline & James Justice

Bronze Spike Sponsors:

Opportunity Available
Contact Jason with inquiries.

Iron Spike Sponsors:

North Texas Chapter of the
National Railway Historical Society

Sponsorship Opportunities Available...

You or your company can be recognized as a Sympoisum Sponsor for a sympoisum event!  Multiple sponsorship levels are available.  All sponsorship contributions are tax deductable.  For more information on becoming a sponsor, please see our Sponsorship Opportunities page.  Our secure MarketPlace makes it easier than ever!!! Sponsorships are accepted anytime, but must be confirmed by three weeks prior to the symposium to ensure inclusion in our major print materials in order to meet printing deadline for the event.
The Symposium Committee reserves the right to decline any sponsorship application.

Symposium History