Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Railroad Commission of Texas. Transportation Division:

An Inventory of Transportation Division Special Authority Orders at the Texas State Archives, 1894-1935



Overview

Creator: Railroad Commission of Texas. Transportation Division.
Title: Transportation Division special authority orders
Dates: 1894-1935
Abstract: The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) had jurisdiction over the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. These records are files of the Transportation Division (formerly the Main and Transportation Division, later the Rail Division) and consist of the special authority orders issued by the Railroad Commission, correspondence between the Commission and railroad companies concerning requested changes, and internal memos discussing the requested changes, dating 1894-1935. Most railway lines operating in Texas during this time period (1894-1935) are represented.
Quantity: 12.22 cubic ft.
Language These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The Railroad Commission of Texas regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas. Its statutory role is to prevent waste of the state's natural resources, to protect the correlative rights of different interest owners, to prevent pollution, and to provide safety in matters such as hydrogen sulfide. It oversees hazardous materials pipelines and natural gas pipelines and distribution systems as well as propane, butane, compressed natural gas, and liquefied natural gas. It works to make sure a continuous, safe supply of natural gas is available to Texas consumers at the lowest reasonable price. Additionally, the Commission regulates surface mining for coal, uranium, and iron ore gravel, and conducts a program for reclaiming lands that were mined and abandoned before 1975.

The Railroad Commission of Texas had its origin in the demands of the shipping public in the late 1880s that insisted that railroads be subject to regulation based on public interest. An advocate for governmental regulation, Attorney General James Stephen Hogg ran for Governor in 1890 with the issue of railroad regulation as the focal point of the campaign. Hogg was elected Governor in the general election and the voters also approved an amendment to Article X, Section 2 of the Texas Constitution that empowered the Legislature to enact statutes creating regulatory agencies. These elections paved the way for the Legislature to enact on April 3, 1891 "An Act to Establish a Railroad Commission of the State of Texas," that later was placed in the Texas Revised Civil Statutes under article 6444 et seq. (House Bills 1, 3, and 58, 22nd Texas Legislature, Regular Session).

The Commission originally consisted of three members appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. Governor Hogg appointed the first three Commissioners in 1891 including John H. Reagan, who resigned as U.S. Senator from Texas to serve as the first Chairman. The Texas Constitution, Article XIX, Section 30 was amended in 1894 to provide for elective six-year overlapping terms for the Commissioners. That same year John H. Reagan was elected and served until his retirement in 1903.

The Texas Railroad Commission was the first regulatory agency created in the State of Texas and originally had jurisdiction over the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. The legal focus was on intrastate passenger and freight activities. Interstate jurisdiction fell under the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission. For the first twenty-five years of its existence, the Railroad Commission was largely concerned with regulating railroads, setting rates, receiving complaints, and making investigations. As other controversies arose where the Legislature deemed that the public interest could best be served by regulation, additional duties were assigned to the Railroad Commission.

The Railroad Commission's authority was broadened beginning in 1917 with the passage of the Pipeline Petroleum Law (Senate Bill 68, 35th Legislature, Regular Session) that declared pipelines to be common carriers like railroads and placed them under the Commission's jurisdiction. This was the first act to designate the Railroad Commission as the agency to administer conservation laws relating to oil and gas. The Commission's regulatory and enforcement powers in oil and gas were increased by the Oil and Gas Conservation Law (Senate Bill 350 of the 36th Legislature, Regular Session), effective June 18, 1919. This act gave the Railroad Commission jurisdiction to regulate the production of oil and gas. Acting upon this legislation, the Commission adopted in 1919 the first statewide rules regulating the oil and gas industry to promote conservation and safety, including Rule 37. This rule requires minimum distances between wells at drilling sites in order to protect field pressure and correlative rights.

The Gas Utilities Act of 1920 (House Bill 11, 36th Legislature, 3rd Called Session) gave the Commission regulatory and rate authority over individuals and businesses producing, transporting, or distributing natural gas in Texas. In 1937, following a large natural gas explosion in a school in New London, Texas, the 45th Legislature passed legislation giving the Railroad Commission the authority to adopt rules and regulations pertaining to the odorization of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gases (House Bill 1017, Regular Session).

The passage of the Public Regulatory Act of 1975 (PURA) (House Bill 819, 64th Legislature, Regular Session) required certain state regulatory agencies, including the Commission, to set the overall revenues of a utility based on its "cost of service." Regulation of liquefied petroleum was added to the Commission's responsibilities in 1939 by the 46th Legislature (House Bill 792, Regular Session). The legislation authorized the Commission to adopt and enforce safety rules and standards in the storage, handling, transportation, and odorization of butane or LP-gases. Regulation of compressed natural gas was added to the Railroad Commission's responsibilities in 1983 (Senate Bill 617, 68th Legislature, Regular Session).

Railroad regulation was initially overseen by the Main Office, later the Main and Transportation Division, then the Transportation Division and finally the Rail Division. This division was responsible for checking equipment and track, railroad and signal operations, and hazardous material handling; conducting investigations of accidents and complaints concerning railroads; and securing federal funds to improve branch lines and preserve rail service to rural areas. The Division enforced rules aimed at removing obstructions on railroad rights-of-way and operated a crossing safety education program. In 2005, the Rail Division and its remaining function, rail safety regulation, were transferred to the Texas Department of Transportation (House Bill 2702, 79th Legislature, Regular Session). The Railroad Commission no longer has any railroad-related functions.

(Sources: Guide to Texas State Agencies, various editions; general laws and statutes; and the records themselves.)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) had jurisdiction over the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. These records are files of the Transportation Division (formerly the Main and Transportation Division, later the Rail Division) and consist of the special authority orders issued by the Railroad Commission, correspondence between the Commission and railroad companies concerning requested changes, and internal memos discussing the requested changes, dating 1894-1935. Most railway lines operating in Texas during this time period (1894-1935) are represented.

Special authority orders were issued by the Railroad Commission generally in response to requests from railway companies for a change in rates or regulations. The Commission established rates and regulations for the railroad companies and announced the rates, etc. through printed circulars (known as tariffs), sometimes writing particular companies if the situation warranted it. Railroad companies often requested a change in rates or regulations for special circumstances by applying directly to the Railroad Commission for a special order which would grant their requests. Situations which led to such requests included transporting circuses and other such shows between towns, a change in the economy of a particular region, or a sudden increase in the usage and needed transportation of a particular product, such as transporting granite from Granite Mountain in Central Texas to Beaumont for use in building jetties at Sabine Pass. The Railroad Commission, if it approved the requested change, would issue a special authority order announcing the rate or regulation change, describing the situation in which the change was applicable.

This finding aid describes a single series of the Railroad Commission of Texas records. See Railroad Commission of Texas: An Overview of Records for more records series.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


 

Organization of the Records

These records are organized into two series as received from the agency:
Railroad company files, 1894-1935, 11.75 cubic ft.
Miscellaneous files, 1894-1930, 0.47 cubic ft.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Railroad Commission of Texas. Main Office Division.
Subjects:
Railroads--Texas--Rates.
Railroads and state--Texas.
Document Types:
Orders--Texas--Railroads and state--1894-1935.
Correspondence--Texas--Railroads and state--1894-1935.
Memorandums--Texas--Railroads and state--1894-1935.
Functions:
Regulating railroads.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Railroad Commission of Texas, Rail Division, Annual reports of railroad companies, 1859-1867, 1873-1885, 1890-1996, 380.24 ft.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Outgoing correspondence, 1891-1934, 34.38 cubic ft. (255 letterpress copybooks)
Railroad Commission of Texas, Incoming correspondence, 1891-1942, 52 cubic ft.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Transportation Division correspondence and reports, 1888-1948, 8.7 cubic ft.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Transportation Division Interstate Commerce Commission finance dockets, 1920-1952, 33.84 cubic ft.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Transportation Division application files, 1891-1971, 15.05 cubic ft.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Rail Division, Tariffs, 1890-1985 (bulk 1914-1984), 44.8 cubic ft.
Records relating to Railroads, 1842-1939, 9.4 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Filings Division, Statutory Documents Section: An Inventory of Railroad Charters and Related Records at the Texas State Archives, 1876-1988 , 7.84 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Transportation Division special authority orders, Railroad Commission of Texas. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1990/097

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Rail Planning/Rail Safety Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas on March 6, 1990.

Processing Information

Laura K. Saegert, August 1990

Finding aid edited for DACS compliance by Laura K. Saegert, November 2008


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Railroad company files, 1894-1935,
11.75 cubic ft.

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) had jurisdiction over the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. Files consists of correspondence, orders, and memos concerning changes requested by a specific railroad line or company through a special authority order grants by the Railroad Commission of Texas, dating 1894-1935.
Arrangement
Records are arranged alphabetically by railroad company, then chronologically, as received from the agency.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Railroad company files, Transportation Division special authority orders, Railroad Commission of Texas. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Box Folder
1990/097-1 1. Abilene and Southern Railway Company, 1910-1926
2. Angelina and Neches River Railroad, 1911-1912
3. Aransas Harbor Terminal Railway, 1914-1917
4. Artesian Belt Railroad (see also San Antonio Southern Railroad), 1911-1918
5. Asherton and Gulf Railway Company, 1910-1920
6. Austin and Northwestern Railroad, 1897-1916
7. Bartlett-Florence Railway Company, 1910
8. Bartlett Western Railway, 1917-1924
9. Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad Company, 1907-1912, 1924
10. Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western Railway Company, 1909-1922
11. Beaumont Wharf and Terminal Company, 1917-1926
12. Bryan, Brazos and Burleson Railway Company, 1919
13. Bryan-College Interurban Railway Company, 1913-1916
14. Burrs Ferry, Browndel and Chester Railway Company, 1909-1912
Cane Belt Railroad Company:
15. 1898-1901
16. 1901-1902
Box Folder
1990/097-2 1. 1902-1905
2. Caro Northern Railway Company, 1907-1925
3. Cisco and Northeastern Railway Company, 1920-1921
4. Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway Company, 1904-1927
5. Chicago, Rock Island, and Texas Railway Company, 1902
6. Concho, San Saba and Llano Valley Railroad Company, 1909-1910
7. Crosbyton-South Plains Railroad Company, 1911-1914
8. Crystal City and Uvalde Railroad Company, 1911- 1912
9. Dayton-Goose Creek Railway Company, 1921-1926
10. Denison, Bonham and New Orleans Railroad Company, 1923-1924
11. East Texas and Gulf Railway Company, 1917-1918
12. Eastern Texas Railroad Company, 1902-1913
13. Eastland, Wichita Falls and Gulf Railroad Company, 1921-1922
14. El Paso and Northeastern Railway Company, 1902- 1912
15. El Paso Southern Railway Company, 1914-1921
16. Electric Express and Baggage Company, 1930-1931
17. Emporia and Gulf Railroad Company, 1900-1901
18. Fort Worth Belt Railway Company, 1903-1920
19. Fort Worth Belt Railway Company, 1921-1933
Fort Worth and Denver City Railway Company:
20. 1902-1921
Box Folder
1990/097-3 1. 1921-1924
2. 1924-1926
3. 1925-1926
4. 1926-1931
5. Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Company, 1902-1904, 1928
6. Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Company, 1921-1925
7. Galveston and Western Railway Company, 1897, 1909
8. Galveston Freight Bureau, 1894
Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway Company:
9. 1901-1924
10. 1924-1926
11. 1926
12. 1926-1932
Box Folder
1990/097-4 Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company:
1. 1896-1901
2. 1901-1909
3. 1909-1926
4. Galveston, Houston and Northern Railway Company, 1899-1905
5. Galveston, La Porte and Houston Railway Company, 1894-1899
6. Galveston Wharf Company, 1911-1912, 1923, 1946
Gulf, Beaumont and Kansas City Railway Company:
7. 1894-1899
8. 1899-1902
9. 1902-1904
Gulf, Colorado and Santa Re Railway Company:
10. 1894-1896
Box Folder
1990/097-5 1. 1896-1898
2. 1898-1899
3. 1899-1900
4. 1900
5. 1900-1901
6. 1901
Box Folder
1990/097-6 1. 1901-1902
2. 1902-1909
3. 1909
4. 1910
5. 1910-1911
6. 1911-1912
7. 1912-1913
Box Folder
1990/097-7 1. 1913-1915
2. 1915-1916
3. 1916-1921
4. 1921
5. 1900-1917
6. 1917-1921
7. 1922-1923
Box Folder
1990/097-8 1. 1923-1924
2. 1916-1917
3. 1924-1925
4. 1925-1926
5. 1926
6. 1926
Box Folder
1990/097-9 Gulf and Interstate Railway Company:
1. 1896-1902
2. 1903-1908
3. 1908-1909
4. 1909-1913
5. 1913-1932
6. Gulf, Western Texas Pacific Railway Company, 1895-1904
7. Hearne and Brazos Valley Railroad Company, 1894-1923
Houston East and West Texas Railway Company:
8. 1895-1898
9. 1898-1899
Box Folder
1990/097-10 1. 1899-1900
2. 1900-1901
3. 1901-1902
4. 1902-1904
5. 1904-1905
6. 1905-1907
7. 1907-1911
Box Folder
1990/097-11 1. 1911-1921
2. 1921-1926
3. Houston and Texas Central Railroad Company, 1894-1925
International and Great Northern Railroad Company:
4. 1897-1900
5. 1900-1901
6. 1901-1902
7. 1902
8. 1902-1903
Box Folder
1990/097-12 1. 1903
2. 1903-1904
3. 1904
4. 1904-1905
5. 1905
6. 1909-1930
7. Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company of Texas, 1924
8. Livingston and Southeastern Railway, 1905-1910
Box Folder
1990/097-13 Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company:
1. 1894-1895
2. 1895
3-5. 1896
6. 1897
Box Folder
1990/097-14 1. 1897
2. 1897-1898
3-4. 1898
5. 1898-1899
6-7. 1899
Box Folder
1990/097-15 1. 1899-1900
2-3. 1900
4. 1901-1920
5. 1920
6. 1920-1921
Box Folder
1990/097-16 1. 1921-1924
2. 1924
3. 1924-1926
4. 1926-1931
5. Bad order cars, 1912
6. Missouri Pacific Transportation Company, 1930-1931
7. Motley County Railway Company, 1914
8. Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railway Company, 1923
9. New York, Texas and Mexican Railway Company, 1896-1900
10. New York, Texas and Mexican Railway Company, 1900
11. Orange and Northwestern Railroad Company, 1902, 1921-1926
Box Folder
1990/097-17 1. Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway Company, 1923
2. Pecos Valley Southern Railway Company, 1910
3. Rio Grande Railroad Company, 1896-1923
4. Rio Grande Railroad Company, 1923-1926, 1932
Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railway Company:
5. 1898-1912
6. 1912-1918
7. 1918-1935
8. Roby and Northern Railroad Company, 1916-1925
9. Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway Company, 1908-1909, 1914
10. Sabine and Neches Valley Railway Company, 1922- 1924
11. St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway Company, 1904-1927
12. St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company of Texas, 1901-1925
13. San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway Company, 1901-1918
14. San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Company, 1913-1916
Box Folder
1990/097-18 1. San Antonio and Gulf Railroad, 1899-1901
2. San Antonio Southern Railroad Company, 1919-1927
3. San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad Company, 1912-1920
4. San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad Company, 1920-1926
5. San Benito and Rio Grande Valley Railway Company, 1914-1916, 1925
6. Sherman, Shreveport and Southern Railway Company, 1894-1896
7. Sherman, Shreveport and Southern Railway Company, 1896-1901
8. Shreveport, Houston and Gulf Railroad Company, 1910-1925
Box Folder
1990/097-19 1. Southern Pacific Terminal Company, 1925-1931
2. Sugarland Railway Company, 1895-1911
3. Sugarland Railway Company, 1911-1916
4. Texarkana and Fort Smith Railway Company, 1903-1904
5. Texas Central Railway Company, 1911
6. Texas City Terminal Company, 1910-1927
7. Texas and Gulf Railway Company, 1907-1913
8. Texas and Louisiana Railroad Company, 1902
9. Texas Mexican Railway Company, 1904-1926
Texas Midland Railroad:
10. 1894-1896
11. 1897-1899
12. 1899-1900
Box Folder
1990/097-20 1. 1900-1901
2. 1902-1905
3. 1906-1909
4. 1909-1912
5. 1913-1920
6. 1920-1926
Box Folder
1990/097-21 1. Texas Northeastern Railway, 1900
2. Texas and New Orleans Railroad:
2. 1896-1898
3. 1898-1900
4. 1900-1902
5. 1902
6. 1903
7. 1903-1904
Box Folder
1990/097-22 1. 1904-1906
2. 1906-1907
3. 1907-1931
4. Texas and Pacific Motor Transport Company, 1929-1931
Texas and Pacific Railway Company:
5. 1894-1917
6. 1917-1921
7. 1921-1923
8. 1923-1924
Box Folder
1990/097-23 1. 1924-1925
2. 1925-1926
3. 1926-1929
4. Texas, Sabine Valley and Northwestern Railroad, 1894-1904
5. Texas Short Line Railway Company, 1902-1911
6. Texas Southern Railway Company, 1902-1909
7. Texas Transportation Company, 1900
8. Texas Western Railway Company, 1894
9. Timpson and Henderson Railway Company, 1920-1922
10. Timpson Northeastern Railway Company, 1904-1909
Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway Company:
11. 1903-1908
Box Folder
1990/097-24 1. 1908-1909
2. 1909-1910
3. 1910-1912
4. 1912-1916
5. 1916-1920
6. 1920-1930
7. Tyler Southeastern Railway Company, 1896-1924
Box Folder
1990/097-25 1. Velasco Terminal Railway Company, 1895-1914
2. Warren and Corsicana Pacific Railroad Company, 1898-1905
3. Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway Company, 1895-1909
4. Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway Company, 1909-1926
5. Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad Company, 1922-1930
6. Wichita Valley Railway Company, 1905-1915
7. Wichita Valley Railway Company, 1915-1925



 

Miscellaneous files, 1894-1930,
0.47 cubic ft.

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) had jurisdiction over the rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. Records consists of a file special order supplements, a file of joint applications, and a group of topically ordered files, all concerning special authority orders of the Railroad Commission of Texas, 1894-1930. These records concern more than one railroad line, in many cases all Texas lines. The topical files contain correspondence concerning situations which often led to a request for a rate or regulation change and a special order being issued.
Arrangement
The topical files have been maintained in the order they were received from the agency. The chronological arrangement of the materials within some files fluctuates.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Miscellaneous files, Transportation Division special authority orders, Railroad Commission of Texas. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Box Folder
1990/097-26 1. Special Authority Supplements, 1925-1929
2. Special order (all Texas lines) re: application submitted by R.C. Fyfe, 1930
3. Joint applications for order changes, 1911-1912
4. Brownsville - Petition for extension of common point territory, 1911-1912
5. Rates re: transporting iron, letter from Peden and Company, 1894
6. Transportation of cotton between Houston and Galveston, and Houston and New Orleans, letter from J.R. Meyers, 1894
7. Track scales at Galveston. Complaint of C.M. Wolston, 1910-1911
8. Bridgeport - Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad. Farmer's union warehouse complaint, 1911-1912
9. Lone Star Dispatch, 1910-1911
10. Petition for Public Road at Barker, 1911
11. Car Shortage. Circular to Shippers and consignees, 1912
12. Circular No. 4414. Venus as a junction for rate-basing purposes, 1913
13. Contributions to the Commercial Secretaries Association of Texas, 1913
14. Demurrage, 1913
15. Circulars re: billing freight at actual weights, 1907
16. Independent Cotton Seed Oil Mills, 1913
17. Peddling from cars on tracks, 1912
18. Misc. materials re: peddling, 1912
19. Petition for water rates between Galveston and Brazoria (1908), 1912