Friday, January 24, 2014

The story of the train that once ran through George Bush Park and connected the ranches in Barker and Katy to Houston

This interpretive poster with an old black-and-white photograph of a steam-engine-drawn train and people on top, erected on the edge of the equestrian area parking lot, tells the tale of the small-gauge rail line that in pioneer days traversed the area now known as George Bush Park and connected it to Houston, which was then but a small town on the Bayou. 

A train one ran through the ranchland that is now wilderness
Relics and reminders of life before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
built the dam and converted the ranch land to a reservoir can be seen throughout 
the wilderness area; some even along the paved trails running through the reservoir.

For those interested in the role railroad played in the settlement and development of the area, there is a railroad museum in nearby Richmond, TX, Fort Bend County, which may be worth a day trip.

A surviving specimen of a full-sized Southern Pacific steam locomotive can be seen in Downtown Houston. It is on display on a lot between George R. Brown Convention Center and MinuteMaid Ballpark Stadium.

Southern Pacific Steam Engine at site of future Nau Center
at MinuteMaid Park and Downtown Houston Convention Center

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