Trains And Depots
Cleburne, Texas, my hometown, has been a railroad town for over 100 years. Santa Fe had a
shops here for many years and after they left Gunderson opened a railcar repair facility here.
My family's railroading history goes back to the 1920's when dad's oldest brother went to work
for the railroad. Dad went to work for Santa Fe in 1943 and worked until his death in 1960.
I had several uncles and cousins who worked for Santa Fe, and no my eldest son is working for
Gunderson. Railroading is in the family blood.
As a teenager I rode the train quite often and was facinated by the various architectural
styles of the depots. I am presently traveling around the country taking photos of all the old
depots and you may see some of them HERE
Cleburne has lost some of its railroad icons. The old freight Depot burned in 1953, leaving only the
loading dock. The Santa Fe depot was demolished to make way for the overpass and the old T&BV
depot burned in 1986 and was partially rebuilt.
This is what is left of the old T&BV railroad depot after a fire in 1986.
Since that time the city has condemned the building to be demolished, but
as of April 29, 2002, it is still standing.
You may read the story here as it appeared in the
Cleburne Eagle News.
As stated in the news story, the building was rebuilt after the fire
and you can see by the picture where the old part was left standing and
the new part was added. Look at the difference in the mortor between the
bricks which shows up real well between the two second floor windows.
The original building was 26 X 92 feet and the present building is only
26 X 26 feet, less than a third of the original building. Being reduced
by this amount, can it really be considered to still be a depot by the standards
of the Texas Historic Commission?
When the Texas and Brazos Valley Railroad came through Cleburne the tracks to the
south went on to Hillsboro, going through Parker and Covington on the way.
The passenger train going through here was known as the Bo Weevil.
You may have heard the expression, "On a slow train through Arkansas." Well,
the bo Weevil made that train through Arkansas look like the Super Chief.
The story goes that one day a businessman from the north was riding the train
and after leaving Cleburne, as they neared the town of Parker, the conductor
came through the train calling out the name of the next station. When he got
to the car that this particular businessman was riding and started calling out
the name "Parker", the businessman said, "You may as well park her at the
speed you've been going."
The two wooden cabooses awaiting reconstruction.
If you worked on the trains in the early to mid twentieth century and had layovers in Cleburne it is possible you stayed at the 1896 Cleburne Railroad House, at one time known as the Santa Fe Hotel.
The old Cleburne Railroad House located one
block north of the T&BV Depot.
For views of other depots:
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