The Railroad in Dallam-Hartley Counties

    On May 31, 1901, the Rock Island lines crossed the Fort Worth and Denver lines near the stop of Twist Junction. Twist Junction was later to become Dalhart.

    Materials for constructing the round house and Depot (which were already completed when the Rock Island reached Dalhart) came by way of the Fort Worth & Denver lines.

Originally, the Rock Island tried to stay out of Texas because of unfavorable laws. However, they were forced to come through this area to avoid heavy grades. The primary reason for the railroad was to ship coal from the Pennsylvania coal mines to Arizona for smelting.

In February 1901, Charlie Williams drilled the first water well for the railroad and by 1933, there were six wells.

    In addition to coal, much of the early freight consisted of cattle. As time went on, the cattle were replaced with perishable fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, cantaloupe and celery from the West Coast. The Dalhart Ice Plant, which iced down the cars from 1907 to 1959, helped make shipment of these items possible.

Over the years, the Rock Island has gone through many changes. Most of the shops, yards and roundhouse are now gone. Today the Rock Island is called the UNion Pacific. Many employees still work lines in the area and continue to work out of the Dalhart office.