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CENTRAL TEXAS AND NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY. The Central Texas and Northwestern Railway Company operated between Waxahachie and Garrett and was originally chartered as the Waxahachie Tap Railroad Company. When the Houston and Texas Central was planning to extend its route through Ellis County in 1870, the people of Waxahachie refused to offer a bonus for the new road for fear that undesirables might settle in a railroad town. The citizens soon realized their mistake, however, as the neighboring rival town of Ennis reaped the benefits of the railroad. The townspeople of Waxahachie, led by Justus W. Ferris, Henry W. Graber, John G. Williams, and C. D. Pickett, received a charter establishing the Waxahachie Tap on January 25, 1875. The city of Waxahachie contributed $13,600 in bonds. Construction on the 12.36-mile road between the county seat and Garrett, located three miles north of Ennis on the Houston and Texas Central, was completed by September 1879. On September 28, 1881, an amendment to the original charter of the Waxahachie Tap changed the name to Central Texas and Northwestern Railway Company. Members of the board of directors at that time included G. Jordan, Eber W. Cave, Robert M. Elgin, John O. Carr, and A. S. Richardson. In 1892 the company owned one locomotive, seventy-eight freight cars, and two passenger cars and earned $15,777 in passenger revenue, $67,744 in freight revenue, and $2,882 in other revenue. Earnings for 1895 had increased to $107,521. The road hauled lumber, grain, cotton, and flour. The Texas legislature authorized the purchase and consolidation of the CT&NW with the Houston and Texas Central, which occurred on August 22, 1901. In 1934 the Houston and Texas Central became part of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company, which was merged with the Southern Pacific in 1961.


H. W. Graber, The Life Record of H. W. Graber, A Terry Texas Ranger, 1861–1865 (1916; facsimile, A Terry Texas Ranger, Austin: State House, 1987).

Robert J. Haaser


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Robert J. Haaser, "CENTRAL TEXAS AND NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.