The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway

A rather sparse information resource.


History

Here's a quick rundown. For more detail, refer to the Hedge and Dawson's book (see below) or the Handbook of Texas Online The road was founded by Uriah Lott in about 1884, and had financial difficulties from day one. The original route ran from San Antonio to Port Aransas (just north of Corpus Christi on the Gulf coast.)

The SAP was bought by the Southern Pacific, which was forced to divest it in the early 1900s by the Texas Railroad Commission. (Seems companies not headquartered in Texas couldn't run Texas railroads.) It was bought again by the SP in 1925. In 1918, the SAP had 724 miles of standard gauge track, connecting Waco, San Antonio, Houston, and Port Aransas.

B.F. Yoakum was Lott's vice-president for much of the road's early history. Yoakum went on to become manager of the Frisco and died immensely rich. Lott died in 1915, immensely poor.


Equipment

A list of locomotives for the SAP is available in Hedge's book. In short, 4-4-0s and 4-6-0s were used for passenger service, 2-6-0s and 2-8-0s for freight. The road also owned three 2-10-0s (purchased from the El Paso and Southwestern) and a handful of 0-6-0s for switching. The SAP also ran four motor cars, build by the Four Wheel Drive Company. They look pretty much like boxes with wheels. Here's a photo, courtesy of the Union Pacific's online photo archives:

One SAP locomotive -- 4-4-0 No. 60, SP No. 220, built 1922 -- probably still exists on static display (outdoors and inaccessible) at the Stone Mountain Scenic Railway in Georgia.

A quick summary of freight cars as of May 1918 can be found in the Official Railway Equipment Register from May, 1918. Far more ventilated boxcars than any other type of stock. By looking at the makeup of cars, you can pretty easily see what the main caroes were. Vegetables. Lots of things that are still grown in the area - lettuce, tomatoes, melons, pecans (okay, pecans aren't vegetables, but they aren't animal or mineral either. And I know that tomatoes are a fruit. Give me a break, already.) Also cotton, livestock, and later in the 1920s, oil.

The three officers (private) cars were the Fern Ridge, the Electric, and the Rubio.

Note the lack of dining cars and sleepers. As far as I know, the road built restaurants or sandwich shops near their depots, if there wasn't already one there.


Sources

Here is a list of resources from which pretty much everything on this page was taken:
San Antonio and Aransas Pass
The only known book solely devoted to the SAP, by John Hedge. Hard to find, but a good overall resource. Contains photos of locomotives (mostly), and some passenger equipment.
Time Table No. 68
A reissue of an SAAP employee timetable from 1924. Available at his site (see below.)
Official Railway Equipment Register, 1918
Available from the Kalmbach Memorial Library to NMRA members. A page and a half listing the SAP's rolling stock.
Freight Shipper's Directory, 1918
Surprisingly informative. Contains maps, history, and a summary of every station on the entire road, even down to how many hog chutes were at Dilworth. Lots of advertisements for even more period flavor.
Journal of Texas Shortline Railroads and Transportation
An excellent magazine, worth it for the photos as well as the articles. Most SAP info so far has appeared in Vol. 1 No. 1 and Vol. 3 No. 3. Now part of The Texas Transportation Archive.
Train Shed Cyclopedia
I forget the volume, but the rail car issue has photos and drawings of a Four-Wheel Drive Motor Car which looks similar to that used on the SAAP.

Links

There aren't a lot of SAP resources on the web, but here's most of what I've located so far:
The Antlers
A bed-and-breakfast that includes a refurbished SA&AP depot. With photo.
Carl Codney's SAAP site
Lots more information than is here, along with maps, photos of depots, etc.
Bill Roberts' Home Page
Locomotive roster, photos, info on passenger operations.
Espee Modelers Home Page
Richard Percy's excellent site covers more than just the SAP (obviously) but has quite a bit of useful information.
Yoakum Heritage Museum
Yoakum Rail Days in late July - early August. A great deal of old SAP photos and memorabilia.
Texas Transportation Museum
A good historical overview, with some photos and statistics.
Kenneth Merian's SA&AP Page
Lots of nice photos and links here.

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Last updated Friday, October 13, 2006