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Last train to Gatesville

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  • Member since
    July 2001
  • From: Shelbyville, Kentucky
  • 1,863 posts
Last train to Gatesville
Posted by SSW9389 on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 7:53 AM

It was 35 years ago that the last Cotton Belt train called on Gatesville, TEXAS. The last train ran to Gatesville on November 14, 1972. Two days later on November 16th the Cotton Belt abandoned the line from Lime City to Gatesville. Thanks to local railfan Gary Powell who witnessed the event while growing up in Gatesville for remembering this event in Cotton Belt history.

The Gatesville depot built in 1911 is now the Chamber of Commerce. The building has been recently repaired. You can stop in there to check out what is going on in Gatesville and greater Coryell County. Maybe pick up a map along the way. Gary and I did last November 28th on our way out to Hamilton, TEXAS.  

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Colorado Springs, CO
  • 3,590 posts
Posted by csmith9474 on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 11:47 AM

I have done quite a bit of training at north Ft Hood. Some of the ROW is still visible. You can still follow the easement from the mainline to the yard that used to be on the post. Some of the buildings still stand that were once served by the Cotton Belt at N Ft Hood.

It is kinda funny to me that the depot basically stands in a Wal Mart parking lot. At least it is still there.

Smitty
  • Member since
    July 2001
  • From: Shelbyville, Kentucky
  • 1,863 posts
Posted by SSW9389 on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:07 PM

According to Gary Powell quite a bit of repair was done to the Gatesville Depot recently. When the freight house was removed it created an unstable condition that caused the depot to become unstable.

Gary wrote this to the Cotton Belt list on Monday: "I checked on the Gatesville depot yesterday. Most of the building's repair work is completed. Though I'm disappointed at the way they did some of it (not restored accurately), at least it's repaired. Unfortunately, the roof tiles were apparently not marked and put back in their original places, as there is obvious color mis-match throughout. The fascia board is modern textured material (probably Hardyboard). The new material is yet to be painted and after it is, most people probably won't notice the difference. The sagging south end once supported by the freight portion of the depot is now supported by steel supports with brick bases, and that was a major structural problem solved for now. I don't know to what extent the nightmare in the attic was addressed (old wiring, pigeon contamination, etc.), but I've got my fingers crossed it was properly cleaned out. They are supposed to do electrical and air conditioning improvements, I'm told. I'll pass more along at the project progresses. The building was beginning to get in really bad shape, so I'm glad this much-needed repair project was undertaken." 

The Cotton Belt was real busy out of North Ft. Hood during the Second World War. Passenger trains were running like streetcars to take soldiers to and from the busy post.  

 

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Colorado Springs, CO
  • 3,590 posts
Posted by csmith9474 on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 2:38 PM

The last time I saw the depot, it was in 2004. I was up there for training and didn't have time to stop in. We had to go to Wal Mart to pick up some supplies.

Judging from the number of buildings and tracks within the yard at N Ft Hood, it looks to have been a VERY busy place at one time. The entire area where the tracks were is fenced off, so I couldn't get in there for a better look. If I recall correctly there was still some trackage left in there. The easement is very overgrown now, so unless you knew what you were looking for, you would not recognize a lot of it.

After first seeing that, I did a little research on that line when I returned home. I had found someone's "memoirs" in regards to riding passenger trains into Gatesville. I do not remember where I saw that, but it was an interesting little quip into the history of the SSW in that part of the world.

Thanks for posting the info. I had almost forgotten about all that. 

 

Smitty
  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: Hewitt,TX.
  • 1,088 posts
Posted by videomaker on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 8:59 PM
The last time I was there I didnt notice the roof but the depot has been the Cof C for several yrs,about 7.8 that I know of..I gues where Wal-Mart is was a yard,apparently  the CofC  was there before WW...My 2 cents [2c]
Danny

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