While driving into Hamlin on HWY-83 from Anson you will find a small rectangular building at the edge of town. Looking at it you might think its just another abandoned building in a small West Texas town. But this one is different. Its actually an old railroad station to an abandoned rail system – Santa Fe Rail Way.
Santa Fe Rail Depot in Hamlin, Texas
Even though there isn’t any tracks near by, this is what’s left of the old Santa Fe Rail Depot in Hamlin, Texas.
The Hamlin depot was built by the Kansas City Mexico & Orient rail system using their standard 24×48 depot standard. I do not know when the depot was built but since the depot was built by the Kansas City Mexico & Orient rail system, then it was built anywhere between 1900 to anytime before 1928. I believe it was probably built in 1902/06 when the orient came into town.
In 1928 the rail system was purchased by the Santa Fe rail system so they could get to the West Texas oil fields.
From the research I found, several different sources say that the Santa Fe rebuilt the depot in 1959. It is one of the few old Orient structures that Santa Fe rebuilt with asbestos siding.
In June of 1991 the portion of tracks from Sweetwater through Hamlin was sold to the Texas & Oklahoma. The owner, which was a scrap dealer, had little interest in keeping the line in service. So the line north of Sweetwater through Hamlin was scrapped starting in February of 1998.
On the Santa Fe Subjects Site, you can see what the depot looked in 1987 when the tracks were still there. I can’t find an actual date of when the when the Santa Fe Rail Depot, in Hamlin, Texas was abandoned.
After exploring the building and looking at the images, I believe the building was not rebuilt but remodeled and updated. As the building decays you can see parts of the original building including sections where the asbestos siding is missing. On the inside, you can see the original wooden ceiling through the missing drop ceiling tiles.
The Current Status of the Abandoned Santa Fe Rail Depot in Hamlin, Texas
I’m not really sure when the Depot was abandoned. It might have been abandoned when the Hamlin section of tracks were purchased back in 1991 or it might have been in use until the tracks were salvaged. I am looking into this and hope to have answers soon.
Its surprising how fast a building can start to fall apart if its ignored. The pictures of the building I took shows you just how fast nature is reclaiming this little piece of West Texas History.
But sadly it won’t be around much longer. Its full of mold and rot. The outer decking is rotting and the storage area roof is missing.
If you have any old images you want to share or information about the Santa Fe Rail Depot in Hamlin, Texas, please contact me.
About the Images
The images were shot by hand in the middle of the afternoon between the storms with my Sony Nex-3N and a Sony SEL16F28 16mm f/2.8. I then edited the image in Adobe Lightroom. Next, I post processed with Topaz Clarity to add texture, brighten, and bring out the details in the image. Then I removed the dust spots. Finally, I used Topaz DeNoise to remove the noise from the image.
NOTE: Special thanks to Evan Werkema of Santa Fe Subjects SIte for some much needed information to get a more complete history and a few leads to other West Texas Train Depots.