Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General

Tracks Gone


In General

If you have never been to Houston, you should go.  It is a great railfan town.  There is plenty to do and see while in Houston, and, because of the great highway system, nothing is too far from one another.

In the old days, before the big mergers, you had the Santa Fe, the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Rock Island, the MKT--Missouri-Kansas Texas, and the Missouri Pacific all coming into town.  Those railroads have now been replaced by BNSF and the UP who provide the majority of action in town. 

You also have the PTRA, the Port Terminal Railway Association, which operates in and around the port of Houston, the 4th largest port in the U.S.  They use MK-1500's as their power, and have around 23 of them.  Their largest yard is the North Yard, however, the engine maintenance facilities are in the middle of the yard, and therefore out of reach from our cameras.

Within short rides of Houston, you have Galveston and Rosenberg, both of which have great museums. 

Rosenberg thought enough of Tower 17 to have it relocated onto the museum grounds.  For signal fans, the museum in Rosenberg is a must see, as they have many on the grounds, and a lot of signal stuff inside.  My Rosenberg Museum page is here

The Galveston Museum is also pretty well "signaled", and has a lot of unique rolling stock.  Galveston also has a trolley system, which is different in the sense that they are diesel powered!  My Galveston Museum page is here

For more information of railfanning Houston, check out Steve Sandifer's page at: http://www.atsfrr.net/resources/Railfan/Houston/Houston.htm, he goes into a lot of detail of train specifics, routes, etc, and adds historical notes.

For more info on the towers of Texas, check out:
http://www.towers.txrrhistory.com/index.htm (the motherload of information!)

Another great site with info on railroad structures in all of Texas (listed by county, ie: The city of Tyler is in Smith county, so don't click on Tyler county) is at : http://www.rrshs.org/Texas/txrrstruc.htm

So far, I have the following detail maps of Houston:

Map 1 - Englewood Yard
Map 2 - Tower 85
Map 3 - Tower 87

Map 4 - Pierce Junction/Diamond

Map 5 - Downtown Houston

Light Rail guide

And nearby, I have guides for the Galveston RR Museum, and the Rosenburg RR Museum which includes the relocated Tower 17.

Houston Overview RR Map


Tracks Gone

Two routes in and out of Houston have disappeared as a result of the "mega mergers".

One is the old MKT line that headed west to San Antonio from Tower 13.  Eureka Yard to the east of Tower 13 is an ex MKT yard.

The other line is the ex Southern Pacific line heading west from Bellaire Junction to Eagle Lake.  As can be seen from the photo below, evidence of the interchange tracks can still be seen, from "up here" and from ground level.


New: 12-2-2007
Mod: 09-Dec-2012