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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Transportation Division application files, 1891-1971,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Railroad Commission of Texas, Transportation Division:

An Inventory of Transportation Division Application Files at the Texas State Archives, 1891-1971



Overview

Creator: Railroad Commission of Texas. Transportation Division.
Title: Transportation Division application files
Dates: 1897-1971
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). Records are correspondence, telegrams, authority orders, tariffs, circulars, notes, and wrappers from the Railroad Commission, dating from 1891 to 1971. These are application files containing requests for special freight and passenger rates and the commission's response. Situations in which railroad companies applied for special freight rates include transportation of shows such as circuses and wild west shows, livestock and water during drought, and corn to be husked en route. Requests for special passenger rates include transportation of prisoners of war and high school and college football players and fans.
Quantity: 15.05 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.)

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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). Records are correspondence, telegrams, authority orders, tariffs, circulars, notes, and wrappers from the Railroad Commission of Texas, dating from 1891 to 1971. These are application files containing requests for special freight and passenger rates and the commission's response. Situations in which railroad companies applied for special freight rates include transportation of shows such as circuses and wild west shows, livestock and water during drought, and corn to be husked en route. Requests for special passenger rates include transportation of prisoners of war and high school and college football players and fans.

This portion of the Railroad Commission freight application files was apparently separated from the rest of the files before they were transferred to the State Archives. An earlier accession (1990/097) fills in gaps in the freight application files found in this accession.

The Railroad 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. If the commission granted the request, it would issue a special authority order describing the situation in which the change was applicable. The commission would also notify the railroad company of denied requests. By 1984, federal statutes had eliminated the Railroad Commission's role in economic regulation of the Texas rail industry.

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.

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Arrangement of the Records

These records are divided between freight and passenger rate application files. Files are then arranged alphabetically by railroad company and chronologically within each railroad company, as received from the agency.

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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.

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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--Freight.
Railroads--Texas--Rates.
Railroads and state--Texas.
Document Types:
Orders--Texas--Railroads--1891-1971.
Correspondence--Texas--Railroads--1891-1971.
Telegrams--Texas--Railroads--1891-1971.
Notes--Texas--Railroads--1891-1971.
Circulars--Texas--Railroads--1891-1971.
Functions:
Regulating railroads.

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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 special authority orders, 1894-1935, 12.22 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.
Railroad Commission of Texas, Rail Division, Tariffs, 1890-1985 (bulk 1914-1984), 44.8 cubic ft.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Transportation Division application files, Railroad Commission of Texas. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1993/026

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, Railroad Commission of Texas on October 22, 1992.

Processing Information

Tonia J. Wood, June 1995

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

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Transportation Division application files, 1891-1971,
15.05 cubic ft.

Application files for special freight rates, 1891, 1894-1930
Box
1993/026-1 Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western Railway Co., 1905-1924
Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway Co., 1903-1926
Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway Co., 1894-1903
Box
1993/026-2 Fort Worth and Denver City Railway Co., 1894-1917
Box
1993/026-3 Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Co., 1894-1926
Box
1993/026-15 Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway Co., 1898-1922
Box
1993/026-3 Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Co., 1902-1904
Box
1993/026-4 Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Co., 1904-1909
Box
1993/026-15 Houston and Texas Central Railroad Co., 1909-1926
International and Great Northern Railway:
Box
1993/026-4 1894-1897
Box
1993/026-16 1899-1900
Box
1993/026-5 1897-1910
Box
1993/026-6 1910, 1917, 1926
Box
1993/026-16 1911-1917
Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Co., 1914-1926
Louisiana Railway and Navigation Company of Texas, 1923-1926
Lufkin, Hemphill and Gulf Railway Co., 1916-1924
Marshall and East Texas Railway Co., 1912-1917
Marshall, Elysian Fields and Southeastern Railway Co., 1922-1925
Midland and Northwestern Railway Co., 1914-1917
Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Co.:
Box
1993/026-16 1900-1903
Box
1993/026-17 1903-1906
Box
1993/026-7 1906-1912
Box
1993/026-17 1912-1918
Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway Co., 1914
Moscow, Camden and San Augustine Railway Co., 1899-1912
Motley County Railway Co., 1914-1927
Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railway Co., 1905-1926
Orange and Northwestern Railway Co., 1902-1926
Panhandle and Santa Fe, 1914-1926
Paris and Mount Pleasant Railroad Co., 1910-1922
Pecos Valley Southern Railway, 1910-1927
Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway Co., 1909-1921
Box
1993/026-8 Red River, Texas and Southern Railway Co., 1902-1904
St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway Co., 1904-1926
Box
1993/026-9 St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway Co., 1905-1925
St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co. (Cotton Belt Route), 1894-1904
Box
1993/026-10 St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co. (Cotton Belt Route), 1905-1907, 1922-1926
San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway Co.:
Box
1993/026-10 1894-1903
Box
1993/026-11 1903-1906, 1913-1924
Box
1993/026-17 1906-1912
Box
1993/026-18 1912-1913
Box
1993/026-11 Texarkana and Fort Smith Railway Co., 1891, 1897-1911
Box
1993/026-12 Texarkana and Fort Smith Railway Co., 1911-1923
Box
1993/026-18 Texas and New Orleans Railway Co., 1907-1925
Texas and Pacific Railway Co.:
Box
1993/026-12 1894-1903
Box
1993/026-13 1903-1913
Box
1993/026-14 1913-1916
Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana Railway Co., 1911, 1916
Texas Mexican Railway Co., 1895-1926
Texas Southeastern Railway Co., 1908-1924
Texas Southern Railway Co., 1898-1907
Trinity Valley and Northern Railway Co., 1909-1913
Trinity Valley (Southern) Railroad Co., 1899-1924
Uvalde and Northern Railway Co., 1921-1930
Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway Co., 1923-1925, 1929
Wichita Falls, Ranger and Fort Worth Railroad Co., 1920-1927
Wichita Falls and Southern Railway Co., 1921-1930
Application files for special passenger rates, 1917-1971
Box
1993/026-19 Angelina and Neches River Railroad Co., 1936-1937, 1944
Asherton and Gulf Railway, 1935-1941
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co., 1965-1969
Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western Railway Co., 1927-1941
Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Co., 1935-1949
Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway Co., 1935-1965
[Became the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway about 1939]
Fort Worth and Denver City Railway Co., 1935-1962
[Became the Fort Worth and Denver Railway about 1951]
Box
1993/026-20 Fort Worth and Denver Railway Co., 1962-1966
Frisco Lines, 1935-1937
[Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Co.]
Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Co., 1935-1961
Gulf and Northern Railway Co., 1920, 1936
J.E. Hannegan, Agent, 1933-1935
International and Great Northern Railroad Co., 1935-1964
[I.D. 33-153?]
Kansas City and Southern Railway Co., 1935
Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas Railway Co., 1939, 1954-1955
G.J. Maguire, Agent, 1935-1936
Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Co., 1931-1947
Box
1993/026-21 Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Co., 1947-1958
Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., 1963-1966
New Orleans Texas and Mexican Railway Co.
[See Asherton and Gulf Railway Co.]
Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway Co., 1935-1965
Paris and Mount Pleasant Railroad Co., 1936-1937
Port Isabel and Rio Grande Valley Railway, 1928
E.B. Padrick, Agent, 1949-1966
Box
1993/026-22 Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway Co., 1935-1940
Rio Grande Railway Co., 1917-1928
Southwestern Passenger Association:
W.J. Rogers, Agent, 1936-1941
J.M. Vonau, Agent, 1944-1946
V.T. Corbett, Agent, 1947-1956
A.H. Ritter, Agent, 1956-1957
V.T. Corbett, Agent, 1958
E.B. Padrick, Agent, 1960-1962
A.H. Ritter, Agent, 1960
H.W. Siddall, Agent, 1937-1948
H.B. Siddall, Agent, 1968
1971
St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway Co., 1939
St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co., 1935-1955
San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad Co., 1937-1941
Southern Pacific Lines, 1935-1938
Texas and New Orleans Railroad Co., 1939-1942
Box
1993/026-23 Texas and New Orleans Railroad Co., 1948-1959
Texas City Terminal Railway Co., 1938
Texas Electric Railway Co., 1935-1945
Texas Mexican Railway Co., 1935-1940
Texas-New Mexico Railway Co., 1940, 1950
Texas and Pacific Railway Co., 1935-1958

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