The History Center uses exhibits, both on-site and on-line, to showcase some of our vast collections of documents and photographs.
East Texas Railroad Photograph Selections
Texas State Railroad Engine 300
Texas State Railroad's Engine 300, formerly Southern Pine Lumber Company's Engine 28 (see next photo), takes a spin on the Maydelle turntable in March 2003. Photo by Jonathan Gerland.
In November 1972 Temple Industries donated Engine 28 to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's new Texas State Railroad State Historical Park. After fifty years of leasing the Rusk to Palestine line to private railroad companies, including Temple's Texas Southeastern Railroad, the State decided in 1972 to rebuild most of the 32-mile railroad and turn it into an operating steam tourist attraction. Upon donating the 83-ton Baldwin 2-8-0 type steam locomotive, Temple Industries Chairman Arthur Temple said: "It is particularly fitting that Engine 28 become a part of East Texas' future again. She performed yeoman service in the earlier days of railroad logging, and now will become a source of nostalgic enjoyment for thousands of tourists and visitors. We are proud to help make this new recreation concept a part of the East Texas scene."
The new state park opened in 1976, but with other steam power. The State did not restore the locomotive until 1995, renumbering it 300 and painting it red and black. The shiny new engine kicked off the 1996 steam excursion season and continues to operate regularly out of the Rusk station. The locomotive was built originally for the U.S. Army in 1917, serving in and around Fort Polk, Louisiana. The Tremont & Gulf Railroad purchased the General Pershing class engine from the Army in the 1940s, selling it in 1955 to Temple Lumber Company, which used it to serve their Pineland mill until the early 1960's.