George C. Werner

SAN BENITO AND RIO GRANDE VALLEY RAILWAY. The San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Railway Company was chartered on June 28, 1912, as the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Interurban Railway; the name was changed on August 22, 1912. The company was chartered for the purpose of constructing and operating rail lines in Cameron and Hidalgo counties. The capital was $500,000, and the principal place of business was San Benito. Members of the first board of directors were Samuel A. Robertson, Samuel Spears, W. G. B. Morrison, and L. O'Bryan, all of San Benito; and Abraham M. Levy, John W. Link, Jonas S. Rice, R. H. Kelly, and DeWitt C. Dunn, all of Houston. Construction of the railroad began in 1910 in the name of trustee Robertson, acting for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company (Frisco), which advanced the necessary funds. On June 28, 1912, thirty-nine miles of completed railroad and the uncompleted lines were deeded by Robertson to the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Interurban. A contract was signed with the Frisco on July 1, 1912, for the completion of the railroad. The lines placed in service during 1912 included thirty miles between Fernando and Santa Maria, eleven miles between Ohio and Boulevard Junction, and two branches of one mile each from La Paloma Junction to La Paloma and from Los Indios to Head Gates. In 1913 nearly twenty-two miles was added between Sammons and a point two miles east of Monte Christo. This gave the company sixty-five miles of track in two disconnected segments. Both segments connected with the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway, one at San Benito and the other at Mission.

The New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway Company acquired control of the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley on March 1, 1916, but continued to operate it as a separate company. In that year the San Benito and Rio Grande Valley reported passenger earnings of $6,000 and freight earnings of $20,000. The line owned two locomotives and seven cars, and operated more than sixty-five miles of main track. An expansion that began in the mid-1920s doubled the size of the railroad. During 1925 thirty-two miles running just north of the international boundary was added between Kern and Sammons, connecting the two segments. Three lines were opened in 1928, namely San Benito to Abney, nineteen miles, Santander to La Paloma, six miles, and Fernando to La Leona, also six miles. In 1940 the line built 3 ½ miles from Abney to Esoes, and the following year acquired nine miles from Esoes to Port Isabel from the Port Isabel and Rio Grande Valley Railway Company. The inevitable abandonment of some of the light-traffic branch lines began in 1942, when twenty-three miles was abandoned. In 1955 the company had freight revenues of $127,400 and operated 115 miles of main track. The San Benito and Rio Grande Valley, along with its parent, became part of the Missouri Pacific lines on January 1, 1925, but continued to be operated separately until merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company on March 1, 1956. Virtually all of the former San Benito and Rio Grande Valley has been abandoned, with only the segment between San Benito and Rio Hondo still in service as part of the Missouri Pacific.

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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, George C. Werner, "SAN BENITO AND RIO GRANDE VALLEY RAILWAY," accessed August 21, 2019,

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

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