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Initially composed of several small short lines, the railroad that became the Class 1Texas and Southern Railroad Company dates to 1876 when the Corpus Christi and Pacific was chartered.  Initial track was built from Corpus to San Antonio.

Building northward from San Antonio towards Austin, it was absorbed by the Texas and Colorado Railroad in 1880.  The Texas and Colorado, originating in Austin, was surveyed from the state capital to Glen, at the north end of the Hill Country.  Purchasing the CC&P, the Texas and Colorado provided the interior of the state with a major sea port from which to ship the growing bounty of western Texas.  By 1891, the Texas and Colorado had reached Lee, which had been established as a railhead in 1881 by the Texas and Pacific Railway building westward from Ft Worth towards El Paso and the Pacific Ocean.  Developing a thriving interchange at Lee with the T&P, the Texas and Colorado continued north, ultimately reaching Wichita Falls in 1907.

At this juncture, the Texas and Colorado encountered the Great Southern Railroad building from Kansas City through Oklahoma City towards Wichita Falls.  The Great Southern, originating in Kansas City, had initially begun the drive across the Indian Territory to capture the profitable longhorn cattle trade; with statehood and the subsequent oil boom in Tulsa, the company pushed southwestward across Oklahoma to the state capital and Wichita Falls reaching the Red River in 1908.  

Connecting with the Texas and Colorado at Wichita Falls, the Great Southern had an excellent ocean outlet at Corpus Christi.  In 1927, the two entities merged into a larger, stronger railroad. The result was 1,202 miles of main line stretching from Corpus Christi-San Antonio-Austin-Lee- Wichita Falls, Oklahoma City-Tulsa to Kansas City, Missouri.   Reflecting their early heritage, when the roads merged, a new corporate name was selected which retained both roads historical identities: the Texas and Southern Railroad.

Despite the economic hardships that followed the merger in the wake of the Great Depression, the T&S weathered the storm and, with World War II, again became quite prosperous.  Following the war and the return of peace, the road was able to repair and replace much equipment and rolling stock. 

One of the earliest Class 1s to replace steam with diesel electric, the T&S was in the forefront of transportation innovations. Today the motive power is primarily first generation EMD diesels, with a few steam locos, mostly switchers, still working hard on the road.  Newer second generation EMD units are also beginning to make an appearance.

The Texas and Pacific Railway, a wholly-owned subsidiary, runs east to west from New Orleans through Dallas and Ft Worth to El Paso; it was acquired by the T&S  through stock purchases and by June 1928 T&P had become a majority-owned subsidiary.  By December 1963 the percent of stock owned by the T&S grew to 82.86%.

To effect economies in operations, the T&S and the T&P have recently begun to consolidate costly duplicate facilities and begun the integration of passenger services.  Although renumbering is not an option, some repainting of passenger cars in the T&S scheme has been accomplished.

Likewise, the traditional paint scheme of T&P motive power has begun to reflect such integration as well.  The T&S solid dark blue with white stripe color scheme is being applied to both new T&P motive power as well as repaint jobs as T&P units are reshopped and repaired.

In addition to the T&P, the T&S owns several additional short lines: the Abilene & Southern (purchased 1926), the Abilene and Northern (purchased 1952), the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific (purchased 1966), the G&D (leased 1966),  and the Missouri Pacific (purchased 1925.)

Taken together the short lines, the T&P and the T&S comprise the Texas and Southern Railway System.

The Texas, Brazos and Western is a also a member of the Texas and Southern Railway System as the T&S owns 25% of that company's stock.