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Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 60
Corporate Name: Sabine Pass, Alexandria & Northwestern Ry Co.
Folk Name:
Ownership: Tyler Car & Lumber Company
Years of Operation: ca. 1890 to ca. 1902
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: 8.34
Locations Served: Michelli to Durst Angelina
Counties of Operation: Angelina
Line Connections:
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
History: The Sabine Pass, Alexandria & Northwestern Ry Co. was the Tyler Car & Lumber Company incorporated logging tram road in Angelina County for its sawmill at Michelli. Zlatkovich records that 8.34 mile road went from Durst to Mitchelli. John Durst was an executive of the Tyler Car & Lumber, Durst Station was a siding between Keltys and Clawson on the Cotton Belt, and Michelli was the location of the Tyler Car & Lumber Company sawmill, later bought by William Cameron & Company. Although the logging tramroad was incorporated in 1892 as the Sabine, Alexandria & Northwestern Ry Co., it undoubtedly had been functioning for years bringing logs from the surrounding pineries of Angelina County to the Michelli mill. The Railroad Commission of Texas recognized the shortline's common carrier status in 1896 and dropped it in 1901 because the shortline was “formed to be just a logging road, operated almost exclusively as an adjunct to a saw mill.” The Lufkin Daily News, in 1940, reported that “The first steel track was laid by the Tyler Lumber Co. of Clawson, Texas, and was about one and a half miles long. This company also had the first locomotive in this county.” Almost nothing is known about the rolling stock or the equipment used in the tram logging operations. Logging was done in the vicinity of Redland, about four miles northwest of the sawmill, so extending the tramroad to Clawson made good sense. From Clawson, milled lumber was shipped to Tyler. Under Cameron and Company shipped its product to Waco from Clawson. Although the Houston East & West Texas passed by Michelli, its products were never shipped over those tracks. A Beaumont Journal article of November 27, 1904 noted that the people of Nacogdoche County had hoped “the Cottonbelt Railroad would use the Cameron road from Clawson to Michelli, and thence come to their town over the Houston East and West Texas Railroad from Michelli.” The Tyler Car and Lumber Company owned and operated the mill from about 1890 until 1898. It was the largest mill in Angelina County for its time, cutting 50,000 feet daily by 1893. By 1900, under Cameron ownership, the mill was reported cutting 85,000 feet per day, which may have been a high estimate. Cameron made some improvements, and by 1900 the mill's life expectancy was projected to 1910. The mill never made it, however. The nearby Angelina post office was discontinued in February 1902, the mill was soon dismantled, and the timber was left uncut. Michelli was a ghost town by 1904. The area is now covered by Kurth Lake.