Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Imperial Valley Railway

One of the 1953 aerial photos provides a superb view of the old Imperial Valley Railway that ran westward from Sugar Land to the Brazos River just south of Fulshear.  Here's a link to a short Handbook of Texas article on this rail line, which became part of the Sugar Land Railroad in 1912.

The first image gives you a high-level orientation from Sugar Land to just west of Clodine Rd. (FM 1464). I've highlighted in red the old rail bed. It's still clearly visible in the '53 photo.  (I've highlighted in blue the upper end of the Sugar Land Railroad line that ran to Galveston.)  
Imperial Valley Railway's first stop west of Sugar Land was just a few hundred yards to Imperial (where the old sugar mill was located). About a mile down the line was Pryor (adjacent to Central Unit 1) and Cabell, just out of view beyond Clodine Rd.

By 1953 Sugarland Industries had taken up the last of the track west of Highway 6.  The remaining track behind Nalco/Imperial Blvd. served as a rail yard for the raw & refined sugar trains to-and-from Galveston.  (Missouri Pacific ran these trains after 1930.)

The next photo shows the eastern end of the line at the Sugar Land terminus.  You can see that Imperial (the stop just west of Sugar Land was very close, just across from today's Constellation Park.)
The photo immediately below shows the line as it passes through Central Unit 1.  The stop there was called Pryor, after the first warden of the Imperial Prison Camp.  (It preceded Central Units 1 & 2 built in 1930/31.)
The next image takes us a little further west.  Clodine Rd. (FM 1464) is on the right edge of the photo.
This last photo shows the line west of FM 1464.  You can see a prison facility just to the north of the line, but I can't determine which unit that was.  It still shows up in current maps, but it's unlabeled, and nothing on the Jester Units describes its use today.