The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 5
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Texas and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 1848-1860
counties along the route. Surveying and grading began in 1851,
track-laying started in 1852, and by August, 1853, twenty miles
of road had been finished. In 1855 the road was completed to
the Brazos, a distance of 32 miles from Harrisburg. The route
was later diverted from Austin (of the original plan) to San An-
tonio and is today a link in the Southern Pacific lines.8 This
road later received state aid in lands.
But outside capital was wary after this road had received a
share of the public land. Other companies were unable to get
support because of sparse population and of more attractive prop-
ositions nearer the homes of the capitalists of the East. When it
became clear that outside capital could not be depended upon for
building roads, it was argued that the state should do something
to promote them. But different opinions arose as to what form
state aid should take. One party urged that loans should be
made from the $10,000,000 in United States bonds awarded
Texas in settlement of the Santa Fe claims. But an influential
group, including Governor Bell, insisted that first the debt of
the Republic must be paid.0 Another plan was for the state to
issue bonds and lend them to railroad companies upon good secu-
rity; unfortunately this was forbidden by the Constitution of 1845.
A third plan was that of contributing money directly from the
state's tax revenues. But the state was too poor to make that
proposition feasible. The only thing left for Texas to do seemed
to be the donation of public lands.
In February, 1853, although the state had not a mile of rail-
way over which trains were running, the Texas Legislature passed
an act to regulate railroad companies. It was required that every
employee of a railroad company should wear a badge to indicate
his office, that conductors might legally put off the train persons
who did not pay their fares, that trains must have published
schedules and as far as possible run according to these schedules,
that in making up trains freight cars should not be placed in
front of passenger cars, that locomotives should be equipped with
bells of at least thirty pounds, or steam whistles, and sound an
alarm continuously beginning at least eighty rods before reach-
ing a crossing, that engineers must not drive their engines while
"See P. Briscoe, "The First Texas Railroad," in The Southwestern His-
torical Quarterly, VII, 279ff.
'House Journal, 4th Leg., Extra Session, 30.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/9/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.