Publication Date



Robert Peartree began the inventory of the Legal files of the Southern Pacific Company (Rio Grande Division) records in 1994 as a volunteer in the UTEP Library’s Special Collections Department. Later, Irma Montelongo began an inventory of the GFA, or General Freight Agent, files. Marsha Labodda completed the GFA and all the remaining boxes of the Southern Pacific records donated in 1969 to the University of Texas at El Paso. Gifts from Vernon Glover, a railroad historian presently residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, funded Irma Montelongo’s and Marsha Labodda’s work. A grant from the Union Pacific Foundation funded map cases, shelving, and preservation supplies for the project.


The Southern Pacific Railroad Company arrived in El Paso laying rails from the west in May 1881 in its attempt to complete the second transcontinental railroad route. East of El Paso, construction was handled by a Texas company, the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio line. Joining the GH & SA and the Texas & New Orleans line, the route became known as the Sunset Route. In 1924, the Southern Pacific System acquired the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad, known best for providing transportation for the coal and copper industries in the Southwest. The Rio Grande Division of the Southern Pacific Company included railway lines north and west of El Paso as far west as Arizona and as far north as Tucumcari, New Mexico. Other lines absorbed into this division include El Paso and Northeastern, Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railroad, El Paso and Rock Island and Arizona and New Mexico Railway Company. This collection was donated to the C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the University of Texas at El Paso Library in 1969. Offices or subsidiary companies that generated the records include: Arizona & New Mexico Railway Company; General Auditor’s Department; El Paso Legal Department; General Claims Agent’s Office; General Freight and Passenger Agent’s Office; Land and Tax Agent’s Office; El Paso Operating Department (Maintenance of Way); and The Pullman Company. Correspondence, ledgers, contracts, legal files, court cases, financial records, maintenance records, maps, plans, and incidental photographs reflect the activities of the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad, Southern Pacific within the Rio Grande Division, and certain predecessor or subsidiary lines including El Paso Northern Railway, El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, Arizona and New Mexico Railway, El Paso and Rock Island Railroad, Burro Mountain Railroad Company, Dawson Railway and Coal Company, El Paso Southern Railway Company, and Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railroad. Major correspondents include Charles B. Eddy, William A. Hawkins, and John Franklin. Topics include railroad construction, water resources, Bonito Dam, railroad operation and maintenance, Mexican bracero workers, railroad-related lawsuits. The collection also includes source material on the coal, copper, cattle, and timber industries in the Southwest.

auditor.pdf (139 kB)
General Auditor’s Department (AUD), 1898-1932, 1942-1958

division_engineer_1.pdf (851 kB)
Division Engineer, Maintenance of Way (DE-MW), part 1, 1907-1960

division_engineer_2.pdf (507 kB)
Division Engineer, Maintenance of Way (DE-MW), part 2, 1897-1958

claim_agent.pdf (8 kB)
General Claim Agent’s Office (GCA), 1909-1930, 1940-1942

freight_agent.pdf (78 kB)
General Freight and Passenger Agent (GFA), 1902-1952, 1954-1955, 1964-1967

passenger_agent.pdf (21 kB)
General Freight and Passenger Agent (GPA), 1908-1958

superintendent.pdf (9 kB)
General Superintendent’s Office (GSO), 1916-1924, 1930-1935, 1938-1939

legal.pdf (139 kB)
Legal Department, General Attorney’s Office (Legal), 1897-1958

AZ_corporation_commission.pdf (19 kB)
Legal Department, Arizona Corporation Commission (L-ACC), 1915-1932

AZ_&_NM_RR.pdf (11 kB)
Legal Department, Arizona and New Mexico Railroad (L-ANM), 1911-1921

common_&_contract_carrier.pdf (11 kB)
Legal Department, Common and Contract Carrier Office and New Mexico Corporation Commission (LCC-NMCC), 1928-1953

corporate_papers.pdf (18 kB)
Legal Department, Corporate Papers (LCP), 1901-1955

misc_correspondence.pdf (165 kB)
Legal Department, Miscellaneous Correspondence (LCR), 1888-1958

contracts_&_agreements.pdf (73 kB)
Legal Department, Contracts and Agreements (LCT), 1896-1957, 1898-1939

interstate_commerce_commission.pdf (47 kB)
Legal Department and Interstate Commerce Commission (L-ICC), 1900-1958

land_&_tax.pdf (237 kB)
General Land and Tax Agent’s Office (LTA), 1885-1963

paymaster.pdf (8 kB)
Paymaster’s Office (PMO), 1902-1931

Texas_&_NewOrleans_RR.pdf (9 kB)
Texas and New Orleans Railroad Records (TNO) , 1918-1929, 1947-1954

pullman_company.pdf (7 kB)
Pullman Company Inventory, 1916, 1927, 1944-1945, 1953-1956

railroad_estrays.pdf (9 kB)
Other Railroad Material, Estrays, 1921-1955

Southern_Pacific_map.jpg (302 kB)
Map of the New Mexico Division, Southern Pacific Company, April 1925

files_of_importance.pdf (112 kB)
Index to Major Southern Pacific Company Files of Importance

Southern Pacific Railroad Recordsppt.pdf (13463 kB)
PowerPoint presentation of the collection