Galveston is one of the great natural harbors and as such it quickly became the hub of commerce for the new state of Texas. The first railroad in the state, the Galveston, Houston, & Henderson, was constructed north from the city into the cotton-growing regions via Galveston's would-be rival, the upstart city of Houston.

However, the bay which makes Galveston such a superb port renders it largely unsuitable as a rail hub. The east-west line being built across the state by the Southern Pacific bypassed Galveston in favor of more advantageously placed Houston, 50 miles to the north. More railroads came, and without exception they terminated in Houston as well. Galveston was well served as a branch, but the commercial center of gravity was perceptibly shifting towards the rival to the north.

The new situation was brought into focus during a yellow fever epidemic in 1867 when, fearful that the disease would spread, Houston embargoed all traffic on the line from Galveston and the commerce which was the lifeblood of the island city dried up—to the benefit of Houston. Naturally, from then on Houston business leaders were quick to call for another embargo whenever there was the slightest hint of yellow fever in Galveston.

Galveston's civic leaders soon realized that the only way to ensure their commercial survival was to construct a new rail outlet, one which would bypass Houston (and indeed all of Harris County). The Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad was chartered on May 28, 1873. Despite the name, in the beginning it had no connection with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe—but that would shortly change. As part of William B. Strong's massive expansion program, the two companies would merge in 1886. Due to quirks in Texas law, the G. C. & S. F. would retain its corporate structure and its headquarters in Galveston.

From the pages of the Official Guide, March 1967

Santa Fe Ry. herald

The Texas Chief

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry.
May, 1966

15 Train Number 16
Daily Miles Services Daily
6 00P Dp 0.0 Chicago, IL (Dearborn Sta.) (CT) C R Ar 9 15A
6 50P 37.5 Joliet, IL C R 8 10A
F 58.1 Coal City, IL C 7 46A
7 35P 89.5 Streator, IL C 7 20A
8 10P 129.8 Chillicothe, IL C R 6 40A
8 55P 177.2 Galesburg, IL C R 5 55A
9 50P 232.4 Ft. Madison, IA C 5 05A
9 55P Ar 234.1 Shopton, IA Dp 5 00A
10 00P Dp Ar 4 55A
11 10P 311.1 La Plata, MO C 3 49A
F 345.6 Marceline, MO C F
1 30A Ar 449.4 Kansas City, MO C R Dp 1 35A
1 50A Dp Ar 1 10A
F 2 46A 506.2 Ottawa, KS C F
3 40A 561.6 Emporia, KS C 11 15P
4 45A Ar 634.6 Newton, KS C R Dp 10 10P
4 55A Dp Ar 10 00P
5 35A 661.8 Wichita, KS C R Dp 9 20P
Ar 9 10P
6 20A 700.3 Winfield, KS C 8 25P
6 40A 712.9 Arkansas City, KS C 8 10P
F 6 53A 725.2 Newkirk, OK C 7 48P
7 10A 738.2 Ponca City, OK C 7 35P
7 42A 770.9 Perry, OK C 7 00P
8 12A 801.6 Guthrie, OK C 6 30P
9 05A Ar 832.8 Oklahoma City, OK C R Dp 5 55P
9 20A Dp Ar 5 40P
9 45A 850.6 Norman, OK C R 5 15P
10 10A Ar 866.0 Purcell, OK C Dp 5 00P
10 15A Dp Ar 4 58P
10 39A 888.0 Pauls Valley, OK C 4 23P
11 31A 933.1 Ardmore, OK C 3 26P
11 48A 950.2 Marietta, OK C 3 06P
12 39P Ar 972.5 Gainesville, TX C 2 18P
115 Dallas Section 116
12 44P Dp 972.5 Gainesville, TX C Ar 1 49P
1 13P 1002.9 Denton, TX C 1 19P
1 58P 1043.9 White Rock, TX (North Dallas) 12 35P
2 35P Ar 1057.7 Dallas, TX (Union Sta.) C R Dp 12 10P
15 Houston/Galveston Section 16
12 39P Dp 972.5 Gainesville, TX C 2 18P
1 45P Ar 1037.2 Fort Worth, TX C R Dp 1 10P
2 05P Dp Ar 1 50P
2 35P 1065.7 Cleburne, TX C 1 16P
3 48P 1139.6 McGregor, TX C 11 59A
4 17P Ar 1164.8 Temple, TX C R Dp 11 32A
4 25P Dp Ar 11 30A
6 23P 1276.5 Bellville Yard, TX 9 38A
8 00P Ar 1352.9 Houston, TX (Union Station) C R Dp 8 00A
8 10P Dp Ar 7 50A
F 1367.0 Pearland, TX F
F 8 41P 1377.0 Alvin, TX C F 6 30A
F 1381.2 Algoa, TX F
F 1384.9 Arcadia, TX F
F 1391.5 Hitchcock, TX C F
9 15P Ar 1406.0 Galveston, TX (CT) C R Dp 6 00A

Train 15: 32 stops, 27:15, 51.6 MPHTrain 15-115: 27 stops, 20:35, 51.4 MPH

Train 16: 32 stops, 27:15, 51.6 MPHTrain 116-16: 27 stops, 21:05, 50.2 MPH



No. 15—Texas Chief.
Streamliner Service, Pullman and Chair Cars.

Chair Car...Chicago to Houston.

Chicago to Dallas (on No. 115 from Gainesville).

Houston to Galveston.

Lounge Car...Chicago to Houston.

Sleeping Cars...Chicago to Fort Worth — 10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 156.)

Chicago to Houston — 10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 158.)

Chicago to Dallas— 10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 154.) (On No. 115 from Gainesville.)

Dining Car...Chicago to Houston. (Fred Harvey service.)

No. 16—Texas Chief.
Streamliner Service, Pullman and Chair Cars.

Chair Car...Galveston to Houston. Houston to Chicago.

Dallas to Chicago (on No. 116 to Gainesville).

Lounge Car...Houston to Chicago.

Sleeping Cars...Fort Worth to Chicago — 10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 166.)

Houston to Chicago — 10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 168.)

Dallas to Chicago—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 164.) (On No. 116 to Gainesville.)

Dining Car...Houston to Chicago. (Fred Harvey service.)

In the wake of the killer hurricane of 1900, Galveston's star steadily declined while Houston's continued to rise. The Southern Pacific would terminate passenger service to the island city in the early 1950s, while the Missouri Pacific would follow suit later in the decade. From that point until this timetable, the Santa Fe would operate the only rail passenger service into the former commercial capital of Texas.

By the mid-1960s, however, it was becoming apparent even to the Santa Fe that the remaining business was in Houston. At the time of this timetable only a single coach made the trip from Galveston to join the main body of the train in Houston (but, as Santa Fe's roundhouse remained on the island, that single coach was pulled by the full A-B-B-A lashup of F7s—perhaps the most overpowered revenue passenger train in history). With the departure of the last train on April 10, 1967 that last vestige would be history and the Texas Chief would from then on officially terminate in Houston.