First railroad in Texas chartered
On this day in 1850, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway was chartered, marking the beginning of the railroad age in Texas. The BBB&C was the first railroad to begin operating in the state, the first component of the present Southern Pacific to open for service, and the second railroad west of the Mississippi River. Gen. Sidney Sherman was a member of the group that received the charter. Construction began from Buffalo Bayou to Harrisburg in 1851; the first locomotive, which was named for Sherman, arrived in 1852; and the first twenty miles of track, from Harrisburg to Stafford's Point, opened in 1853. Although Harrisburg did not develop into the major city on Buffalo Bayou as a result of the construction of the BBB&C, the railroad otherwise fulfilled the expectations of its early backers. The first railroad in Texas, now a part of Southern Pacific's transcontinental Sunset Route between New Orleans and Los Angeles, handles heavy freight traffic as well as Amtrak's Sunset Limited west of Houston.