Bill March

RUSK TRANSPORTATION COMPANY. On April 29, 1875, the merchants of Rusk declared a holiday, and townspeople took part in festivities celebrating the inauguration of the Rusk Transportation Company, commonly called the Rusk Tramway. It had a six-ton locomotive, the "Cherokee," a passenger coach named "Gov. Coke," three flat cars, and a track built of pine rails. It connected Rusk with Jacksonville fifteen miles away. The capital stock was $500,000 with the privilege of increasing it to $1 million. Shares were fixed at fifty dollars each. The town had been bitterly disappointed when the International Railroad Company, completed from Palestine to Jacksonville on October 27, 1872, had bypassed Rusk. Citizens of Rusk chartered the Rusk Transportation Company on May 2, 1874, to build a first class tram railway from a point on what had become the International and Great Northern Railroad to Rusk. When it was completed they felt that Rusk was destined to soar to new industrial heights. But misfortune surrounded the operation. Pine rails cut from neighboring forests were substituted for more expensive iron rails, but were a failure. They warped frequently causing regular derailments. The cars had to be lifted back on the rails by crew members and passengers. Often freight thrown off the open cars had to be picked up. When there was no trouble the trip of fifteen miles could be made in 2½ hours. Even before the tramway opened, the company amended its charter on February 13, 1875, to allow it to convert to a regular narrow gauge railroad with the right to build south to Sabine Pass and north to Tyler. Although the company bought a second locomotive in 1878, it was unable to finance any extension of its line. The Rusk Transportation was sold at foreclosure on January 7, 1879, to John H. Bonner and C. C. Francis and associates for $1,000. Although the enterprise was a financial disaster to its promoters, the property rights and franchises of the defunct tram company were sold to the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad Company on January 22, 1881. Parts of the old tram roadbed were used by that company in constructing its track between Jacksonville and Rusk.

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Bill March, "RUSK TRANSPORTATION COMPANY," accessed March 20, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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