An unlikely linking of two competing railway lines in 1881, creating America’s second transcontinental railroad, is one among the list of claims to fame that could be made by the small west Texas community of Sierra Blanca. In 1869, the country recognized the need for a southern route across the U.S. and two railway companies, the Southern Pacific and the Texas & Pacific, both rose to the challenge. The Southern began construction on the west coast and the Texas & Pacific in east Texas, moving westward with its tracks. Although their routes were ten miles apart by the time both companies reached the Sierra Blanca area in November of 1881, an unprecedented strategy of negotiation convinced the two companies to combine their tracks, thereby completing the transcontinental southern route.
This and other regional history can be explored at the Hudspeth County Railroad Depot Museum, an eclectic mix of artifacts and local memorabilia housed in the wooden railroad depot, also completed in 1881, that once served the transcontinental line. The depot, unnecessary for modern railway traffic that continues to utilize the line, was purchased for one dollar by the local historical society in the 1980s and relocated from its original place alongside the tracks to a lot next to the Sierra Blanca post office. The relocation was another example of remarkable negotiating skills as the historic building had to be cut in half, moved then reassembled in its present location.
Railroad Depot Hudspeth County Museum