The most important "fallen flag" in the Southern Pacific corporate family is the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, which operated all SP trackage from El Paso east to New Orleans and to the Cotton Belt connection at Corsicana, Texas. This railroad was wholly owned by the Southern Pacific Company, unlike the Cotton Belt, in which the SP owned only a majority stock interest. The T&NO Board of Directors was comprised of officers of the SP, but it was a tradition that the lines east of El Paso never received as much budget money as the Pacific Lines. The T&NO was the longest railroad in Texas, but it certainly wasn't the richest.
Texas law required that railroad companies operating within the state be incorporated and maintain "general offices" in Texas. The Southern Pacific-like all other railroads operating in the Lone Star State-complied with this law, continuing the Texas & New Orleans Railroad as a separate corporation until the ordinance was repealed in 1961. Shortly thereafter, in November 1961, the T&NO was merged into the Southern Pacific.
Steam locomotives for the T&NO were ordered by the SP, a practice that continued in the diesel era. Most T&NO orders for diesel units were add-ons to Pacific Lines orders.
Locomotives were numbered below 1000, while those of the Pacific Lines used numbers above 1000. After the merger, SP instituted a general renumbering to group all similar locomotives into contiguous number series; the rosters of the T&NO and the Cotton Belt were combined in 1965 with the Pacific Lines. SP anticipated a short remaining career for cab and booster units as well as Baldwin road-switchers of both T&NO and SP ancestry, retaining their old numbers in the new plan. As
a result, three-digit diesels were visible on the SP roster through the end of the sixties, with a few hanging on until the seventies. The last T&NO-numbered unit, F7 #355, was vacated from the roster in July, 1972.
SP began purchasing diesel locomotives only after the diesel builders offered production-line units. No one at the SP foresaw a need to purchase Electro-Motive's FT freight locomotives, and the roster was already stocked with modern steam passenger locomotives, so the initial choice was diesel switchers. T&NO's diesel roster began in 1941, when one Electro-Motive SW-1 and one Alco S-1 were delivered.
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