Slaton, Texas – A Railroad Town

In 1907 the Santa Fe opened a new branch off of the Amarillo line south from Canyon to Plainview, Texas and in 1910 the tracks were extended further south to Lubbock.  What became known as the “Coleman Cutoff” to Brownwood opened in 1911.  Lubbock citizens were outraged when the new Santa Fe division point was established 15 miles to the southeast at Slaton, named by the railroad after a prominent local citizen.  One hundred and fifteen years later the situation has reversed to a degree as Slaton is still a division point, but all crews and the local yard switcher are now based out of Lubbock.

I have made four round trips this year to Fort Sumner, New Mexico to photograph the building of a new second bridge over the Pecos River to eliminate the final single track section on the Southwest Division’s part of the “Southern Transcon”.  On July 24th while driving to Fort Sumner from home I stopped in Slaton for a short while to rest and see the local sights.

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Nothing was moving on either the BNSF or local switching line South Plains Railroad, so I turned my camera elsewhere.  On the north side of the city square I took these two photos of Santa Fe 2-6-2 Prairie type #1809.

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Turning 180 degrees from the previous photo I could not miss the “Slaton Model Railroad Studio”.

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The storefront was deserted and no hours posted, so I peeked through the windows.  I could see an HO scale layout that appeared to be in a state of disrepair, and in front of that was the old Santa Fe CTC machine for Slaton to Texico.

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On the west side of the square is this beautiful mural painted by Bill “Tex” Wilson in 1998 that decorates the external wall of a local CPA.

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Two inmates from the John T. Montford Psychiatric/Medical Unit assisted in the work.

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Here is the “lowdown” on the aged brick streets that radiate from the square, adding character to this small town.

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Next I drove about 1/4 mile north to the restored Harvey House next to the BNSF main line.  Once again no one was around but I suppose you could call the number on the door if you wanted to stay in one of their rooms overlooking the tracks.

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The Harvey House is on the list of Texas Historic Landmarks and this close up of the sign tells the complete story.

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Unfortunately it is true that a majority of the good shots I take these days are the property of BNSF, UP or FWWR and thus cannot be shared here.  I still take enough that are my own property so I will try to do a better job of updating these blog entries more often!

2 Comments

  1. Jim August 15, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    Great piece on Slaton – there is a forlorn mood to these shots, a lot of character.

    Glad to see a new post!

  2. Mike September 5, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Really enjoy your posts!

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