GHERy

One of the key elements of development in the Galveston Bay area was the Galveston-Houston Electric and no discussion of Texas City Terminal’s passenger operations would be complete without mentioning this electric powered interurban line.

The Galveston-Houston Electric was built by the well established engineering firm of Stone & Webster, which operated numerous electric traction systems throughout the United States.  Opening in 1911, the Galveston-Houston operated between those cities, also serving a number of smaller communities along the way. Because the interurban did not serve Texas City directly, the Texas City Terminal Railway offered connecting service from Texas City to the La Marque, Texas station of the GHE. Freight service continued on to the TCT’s other connections with the Santa Fe at Texas City Junction but there is no indication that the TCT’s passenger service did.  Texas City purchased two gasoline motor cars (#’s 20 and 21) in 1910, immediately prior to the opening the the interurban line. The McKeen car, #22, followed a year later in 1922. 

The Galveston-Houston interurban service was fast, featuring a 34-mile long section of straight track (a “tangent”), which allowed operating speeds up to 60 mph, stepping right along for the standards of the day. The cars (called “Bluebirds”) were elegant:

As with many interurbans, service was frequent, offering both express and local service between Galveston and Houston. There were even special trains for weekend service to the beach at Galveston:

A typical Galveston Houston Electric train at speed:

As was true with many other electric interurban lines, highway construction and the convenience of the automobile would lead to Galveston-Houston’s demise.  It closed in 1936.

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