Train No. 5, the westbound "Argonaut" crossing the Huey P. Long Bridge, circa 1954. At the end of 1925 T&NO operated 545 miles of railroad;

to simplify SP's corporate holdings T&NO leased the other Texas-Louisiana SP lines in 1927, including the Louisiana Western Railroad. 

(Image: Southern Pacific Company, New Orleans Public Library, Public Domain)


The Louisiana Western Extension railroad was chartered on March 31, 1879, by the directors of the Texas & New Orleans Railroad (T&NO), when they discovered that their charter did not permit them to build from Orange to the Sabine River. The new road was planned to connect the Louisiana Western at the Texas-Louisiana border with the Texas and New Orleans in Orange.

The capital was $50,000. The principal place of business was Houston. The members of the first board of directors were James Jennings McComb of New York City, Theodore Adams of Philadelphia, Franklin B. Parkinson of New Orleans, Samuel A. Edgerly of Galveston, and James Converse, Gabriel Jordan, and William H. Albertson, all of Houston.

The LWE was constructed concurrently with the Louisiana Western and financed by that company. Work began before the charter had been obtained, as one-half mile had been graded by March 23, 1879. On January 20, 1880, the 6½-mile line as well as the bridge across the Sabine River were completed, and the first locomotive crossed over from Texas to Louisiana. The last spike on the Louisiana Western was driven on August 26, and regular passenger service between Houston and New Orleans inaugurated on August 30, 1880. In 1891 the LWE reported passenger earnings of $15,000 and freight earnings of $51,000. The Texas and New Orleans absorbed the LWE on February 10, 1900; in 1961 the T&NO itself was merged into the Southern Pacific.


Source: Robert Wooster, “Louisiana Western Extension Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 06, 2024,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.