Texas Railroads: A Record of Construction and Abandonment. By
Charles Zlatkovich. (Austin: Bureau of Business Research, Uni-
versity of Texas at Austin, and Texas State Historical Association,
1981. Pp. xi+ 139. Preface, acknowledgments, illustrations, tables,
maps, bibliography. $10 o, cloth; $7, paper.)
This volume is not the place to go for social history or anecdotes
about Texas railroads. Nor is it the place to find information about
finances, business problems, or any general economic history of Texas
railroads. One will not find a wealth of information about any cor-
poration, or any particular line. If, however, one needs specific facts,
like when the Cisco and Northeastern was chartered, how many miles
of track it built, and when it was abandoned, this is the volume. If one
needs to know when the Gainesville, Henrietta, and Western Railroad
became part of the Katy, or when the first railroad line reached Tyler,
or Victoria, this is the place to go. In short, this is the book to check
for a few specific details about the 274 railroad companies that have
been chartered in Texas since 1853, and that information is attractive-
ly and usefully arranged.
According to Zlatkovich, this is a reproduction, with minor changes,
of railroad statistics compiled by the Texas Railroad Commission up
to 1973. After that date the commission ceased publishing its annual
report on railroads and also ceased updating the record. The author
has brought the statistical information up to date (1981) by using
other sources, like the reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission
and the Association of American Railroads. Consequently, most of this
material has been previously published, but not all in one volume, and
not quite in this form. Essentially, Zlatkovich relied on the accuracy
of the Texas Railroad Commission statistics, which "from 1853
through 1892 are known to be estimates developed from secondary
sources of unknown quality and consistency" (p. ix). While there may
be errors, this work is as likely to be correct as any other source.
Chapters one and two contain the only textual material in the book.
In chapter one the author makes statistical comparisons between
Texas and other states and provides a brief historical record of popula-
tion changes in comparison to railroad growth and abandonment in
Texas. Chapter two contains information on present-day Texas rail-
roads and a brief historical record of the evolution of the major
railroad systems in the state. The remainder of the chapters consist of
statistical tables and maps that are usefully categorized and presented.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed December 10, 2013.