North East Texas Trail   

Northeast Texas Trail, NETT Railroad History

by Casey Jones

Farmersville to Paris, TX.

The Famersville to Paris, Texas, right-of-way was constructed in 1886 by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway to connect the railroad with a northern connection: the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway in Paris, TX. GC&SF became a Texas-based subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in the same year, 1886. In 1990, the Kiamichi Railroad, a regional company with a presence in nearby states of Arkansas and Oklahoma, desired access into Dallas from their mainline in Purcell, OK. This segment of railway would provide the connection, and thus, they purchased this line from the AT&SF and created a subsidiary company, the Chaparral Railroad, to operate it. The railroad was not profitable and the line was railbanked* in 1995 and "transferred" to the Chaparral Rails to Trails, Inc.

Today, the right-of-way serves as the 62-mile Chaparral Rails to Trails section of the Northeast Texas Trail, (NETT), connecting Farmersville with Paris, TX. The Audie Murphy Trailhead Park and Santa Fe Farmersville Onion Shed are located at the western terminus of the trail in Farmersville, TX.

Paris to New Boston, TX.

The Paris to New Boston, Texas, line was constructed in 1876 by the Texas & Pacific Railway Company. It was a part of Jay Gould's Transcontinental Branch of the T&P Railway, connecting Texarkana, Texas, with Sherman, Texas. The line reached Paris, TX in 1876. MP took control of the T&P in, 1976. UP took control of the MP in 1997. Union Pacific decided to cease active service of the line in the late 1990's. The right-of-way was railbanked* and transferred to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 1997.

Today, the right-of-way serves as the Northeast Texas Trail, (NETT), connecting the 68 miles between Paris, Texas, and New Boston, Texas, at the T&P Trailhead Park.

* Railbanking. Rather than abandoning railroad routes and losing the right-of-way easements, railroads agree to a legal process called railbanking, which allows for the use of the right-of-way as trails, until and if they are needed for rail service in the future.