Scenic USA - Texas

Texas State Railroad

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Texas State Railroad - Rusk to Palestine, Texas

Photos by Chris Muller
Christopher Muller Railroad Photography

   Enjoy Texas style southern hospitality from Rusk to Palestine aboard the Texas State Railroad's steam train excursion. Following a 25 mile route through the rolling hills and hardwood bottomlands of east Texas in the Piney Woods Region, Passengers are entertained with western stories, songs of Texas lore, eastern Texas scenery and area wildlife. Utilizing steam and diesel engines, the excursion creates plenty of excitement during its three hour run. Departing from the quaint Victorian style depot at Rusk, the hour and a half ride reaches Palestine for an hour lay-over before returning.
   The Texas State Railroad, the official railroad of Texas, was established in 1881. Built by prison inmates, the railroad line was used to haul hardwood to the iron smelter operated by the prison. By 1909, the railroad was extended to its final destination in Palestine. Conveyed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas State inmates were once again used to establish a state historic park surrounding the railway. Texas State RR Depot The park and railroad were completed in time for a Bicentennial celebration July 4th 1976.
   One of three operational steam engines on line, Engine 300 was built in 1917 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The rare 83 ton engine, one of two remaining U.S. Army Pershing engines, was built for service in Europe during World Wall II. Never shipped overseas, the Baldwin was used as a troop transport, short line workhorse and lumber company engine. Outliving its usefulness, No. 300 was gifted to the Texas State Railroad in 1973. After an extensive overhaul, including a new boiler, the old workhorse was put back into service in 1996. Commemorating the Texas State Railroad Centennial celebration in 66, the old steam engine remains one of the Texas railway favorites.
   Excursion days and routes vary; please check the date and time for up-to-date excursion runs.

    Route Map

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