history of the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway officially begins on
October 1, 1906 when it was chartered by Texas businessman General F. W.
James with the hope of building a line west from Roscoe where it would
establish a connection with the Texas & Pacific Railway main line (a
Missouri Pacific subsidiary). James' intent with the railroad was to
connect Roscoe with Snyder, Post, and eventually Lubbock as well as
continue the line westward into New Mexico and perhaps even further.
After rounding up $200,000 in initial capital construction began and was
opened to Snyder on May 22, 1908 (30.4 miles in length according to the
company timetable). A little over a year later in September of 1909
the RS&P had opened a 40.5 route to Fluvanna.
Unfortunately, any further growth northwesterly was stopped cold by the Santa Fe. With much deeper pockets the large transcontinental system decided that it wanted its own line from Lubbock to Coleman (south of Abilene) so that it could connect with its subsidiary the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe. In the process, the AT&SF opened an interchange with the RS&P at Snyder although with a railroad now directly serving Lubbock there was little need to build its own route to the city. Because of this the dreams of a grand system stretching more than 200 miles from northern Texas to points west died although the company always retained its "Pacific" title. Despite this setback the railroad's management realized a new freight potential lay as a bridge route since it connected to both the T&P and Santa Fe.
During its early years the R-S Pacific Route struggled to remain
profitable although it was able to stave off receivership and
Ultimately, its success as a bridge route was thanks to a concentrated
effort in convincing shippers from afar to route their products along
the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway. For instance, the company had
agents stationed in major cities from coast to coast such as Fort Worth,
New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Overall, their
efforts proved quite successful as the railroad boasted a diverse
traffic base from California perishables to general merchandise and by
the time of World War I was earning more than $150,000 annually in
Due to the RS&P's size passenger traffic was never a boon for the railroad, typically earning no more than $10,000 or $15,000 annually with trains not needing more than just a few coaches
to satisfy demand. The first cutbacks on the system occurred in 1941
when the 10-mile Fluvanna extension was abandoned due to lack of
traffic. Then, in 1953 all passenger services were discontinued. From
this point forward the RS&P focused only on its freight services
where it again saw a high level of success from the 1950s onward. One
reason for this was its August, 1949 purchase of an EMD SW1 diesel
switcher, #100, to begin replacing its steam locomotives. During its
first four decades of service the railroad relied on a varying array of
steamers; early on this included 4-4-0 American #1 but in later years
the railroad rostered 4-6-0 Ten-Wheelers and a single 2-6-2 Prairie.
After it purchased the SW1 the RS&P followed this up with other units that included SW8 #200, NW2 #300, and its only road-switcher a rare Baldwin AS616 #400. All of these locomotives were purchased new (except for the Baldwin and the NW2) and in 1969-1970 it returned to EMD for two more locomotives, SW1500s #500 and #600. In 1962 the company branched out into the rail car-repair business, converting its old steam shops in Roscoe for the task. Eventually, the RS&P incorporated the operation as the National Railcar Company and interestingly it has outlived its parent, still in business today as Eagle Railcar Services both building and repairing cars.
Steam Locomotive Roster
|American||4-4-0||1||Ex-T&P Acquired In 1907||1|
|Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0||2||Acquired New: 1908||1|
|Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0||3||Purchased Used In 1916||1|
|Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0||4||Ex-Red River & Gulf, Purchased In 1929||1|
|Prairie||2-6-2||5||Purchased Used, Currently On Display In Snyder||1|
Diesel Locomotive Roster
|EMD||SW1||100||Acquired New: August, 1949||1|
|EMD||SW8||200||Acquired New: August, 1953||1|
|EMD||NW2||300||Ex-Chicago & Western Indiana||1|
|Baldwin||AS616||400||Ex-SP, Acquired In 1968||1|
|EMD||SW1500||500||Acquired New: September, 1969||1|
|EMD||SW1500||600||Acquired New: June, 1970||1|
the railroad's most lucrative years occurred directly before its
downfall; during the 1970s it was earning more than $1 million annually and featured a staff of more than 70 employees.
Sadly, though, the 1980 Staggers Act which deregulated the
railroad industry literally caused the RS&P's traffic to dry up
almost instantly as the MP and AT&SF kept the traffic for themselves
which had been routed over the shortline. With no other major sources
of traffic available the company was destitute, abandoning its entire
line in 1984 except for a short four-mile stub around Roscoe. Today,
the remaining section of the R-S Pacific Route is still in use by Eagle Railcar.
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Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific