The Trinity Valley and Northern Railway Company was incorporated on June 9, 1906, in the interest of the Dayton Lumber Company, to run between Dayton and Cleveland in Liberty County. Ross S. Sterling, James M. West, L. Fouts, E. P. Ladd, and W. W. West were among the incorporators. The capital was $25,000, and the business office was at Dayton. Members of the first board of directors were Fouts and A. L. Rutt, both of Dayton; W. P. Cottingham and Charles B. Wood, both of Houston; C. L. Rutt of Beaumont; Ladd of Ladd, Arkansas; and Alfred Bennett of St. Louis, Missouri. The Dayton Lumber Company had extensive timber holdings in Liberty County and a mill at Ladd, a mile from Dayton, where the TV&N connected with the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. At Cleveland the TV&N would have connected with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway and the Houston East and West Texas Railway, giving the lumber company additional outlets for its lumber. The TV&N was built by the Dayton Lumber Company in 1906 and 1907. However, the initial ten miles from Dayton to Fouts was not operated by the TV&N until 1908 and the remaining eight miles to Lumm until 1911. The rails used by the TV&N were leased from the T&NO. In 1907 the Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western Railway Company built through Fullerton, five miles north of Dayton, giving the TV&N its second trunk line connection. The TV&N in 1916 reported passenger earnings of $1,000 and freight earnings of $11,000 and owned one locomotive and three cars. In 1918 Sterling built the Dayton-Goose Creek Railway Company to Goose Creek and extended it to Baytown the following year. The TV&N served as a link between the D-GC at Dayton and the BSL&W at Fullerton and handled considerable oil-related traffic between the two points. When the D-GC was leased to the T&NO in 1926, the traffic of the TV&N was cut markedly. By this time the timber resources tributary to the TV&N were largely depleted, and the twelve miles between Fullerton and Lumm were abandoned in 1929. The South Texas Hardwood Company, which now owned the mill and the railroad, proposed to move its operations to a new site known as Havens southeast of Cleveland, where it owned considerable timber. Application was made to the Interstate Commerce Commission for authority to construct a new twelve-mile railroad between Cleveland and Havens under the TV&N charter. Havens was five miles north of Lumm, but there was no intention to connect the two segments. However, the ICC refused to authorize the new construction. The line between Dayton and Fullerton became so unprofitable (in 1931 the revenues, all from freight operations, were under $2,000) that the TV&N closed down in April 1932 and was abandoned the following year.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Mickie Baldwin | © Texas State Historical Association
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