Miles         Runnels Co.         

Origin of Station Name

Named for rancher Jonathan Miles, who gave a $5000 cash bonus toward cost of building line to San Angelo, and deeded the railway company 220 San Angelo town lots.

Agency Opened

Probably Sept. 2, 1888, which is date when regular service commenced between Ballinger and San Angelo.   A post office was first established here on March 21, 1890.

1886 Personnel

This station not yet in service.

1890 Insured Structures


1921 Depot(s)

24’ by 145’ wood frame passenger depot, GC&SF standard no. 9 depot built in 1905 replacing original depot.   Other structures here included an L-shaped section house built in 1895, a coal house, a cotton platform nearly 3000 square feet in size, a double tool house, and stock yards having 2 chutes and 6 pens, these also built in 1905.   There was also a water tank and pump house, and two section laborer bunk houses, one being a boxcar body with addition and another being a half boxcar.

1946 Traffic Report

Station not covered

“The Earth” Press Coverage

Station not covered

Employee Magazine Coverage

Station not covered

Junction Other Lines

Yes, branch line to Paint Rock.   See Paint Rock Station summary for discussion of history of this branch line.

Agency Closed

In 1956 the company sought to close this agency, and the Commission denied the application after a protested hearing.

On April 4, 1966 the Railroad Commission approved an application to dualize the Miles agency with Rowena.   The Commission authorized discontinuance of Rowena by order dated July 18, 1972 in docket 3111RO, and this was also the closure date for Miles.

Photographic Images

Depot. May 1952. Photographer K.B. King, Collection of Robert Pounds.

Section House. ICC valuation image, c.1930, Santa Fe Railway.

Street scene, Miles National Bank. Unused postal card, photographer and date unknown.

Cotton yard and stock pen across from depot. This image moved through the U.S. Mail as a postcard on December 5, 1907. Photographer: W. W. Woodward, Jeweler.

Operating Bulletins

No coverage

Railroad Commission Complaints

Three complaints, the first in 1898 regarding closure of the depot.   The local citizenry submitted a petition in protest.   Railroad Commission records indicated that average revenue at the station was then $641.26 per month.   The Commission considered the matter and held as follows:

“It is no answer to say that the road would get this revenue any way if the station was discontinued.   Of course it would, there being no competition the public would be compelled at great inconvenience and as petitioners say at much trouble and expense, to go to Ballinger or San Angelo to secure cars and make other arrangements for making shipments.   The Commission is of the opinion that the facts in this case do not justify the closing of the depot and agency at Miles Station, and we respectfully insist that an agent be placed at that station...”

Legal Department Files

File on 1956 agency discontinuance hearing.


Miles once served as the shipping point for a great deal of cotton.   This crop is still grown in the area, which seems to be at nearly the very southmost edge of the Texas’ lower high plains cotton focus.   Old photographs show that there was once a very large and heavily used cotton storage yard just to the north of the tracks at this station.   Jim Spencer, who moved to Miles in 1905, remembered that at that time the station was such a heavy shipping point for cattle that the capacity of railroad’s stock pens were often overwhelmed.

Huby Clark was a long time agent at this station.   He sold the first ticket to Paint Rock for fifty cents in 1909, and was still agent in 1937 when the last train ran on that branch.

The Railroad Commission convened a hearing at the County Courthouse at Ballinger on April 17, 1956 to consider the Santa Fe’s application to discontinue its agency at Miles and convert the station to a prepay point.   Testimony was offered by Temple trainmaster E. E. Baker that for the year 1955, total revenue at the station was $6541.17 and total operating expense was $10,083.44.   Passenger train ticket sales for the year were $171.19, a figure which reflected the inconvenient schedule – there was one train each day each way, timecarded through Miles at 5:26 a.m. and 9:22 p.m.   The primary operating expense was the salary of the agent and the night helper.   Mr. Baker testified that continued operation of the station was not economical.   His exhibit “A” estimated a population of 1800 within a three mile radius, and listed the following business establishments:   1 variety store, 2 drygoods stores, 2 feed stores, 1 café, 3 cotton gins, 1 blacksmith shop, 1 U.S. post office, 1 public school, 1 cotton sack factory, 1 Gulf Oil Co. warehouse, 1 Magnolia Oil Co. warehouse, 1 tailor shop, 1 bank, 4 grocery stores, 1 print shop, 2 hardware stores, 2 auto agencies, 1 drug store, 1 laundry and 4 car repair garages.

There was extensive cross-examination by Miles Attorney Royal Hart.   He sponsored local newspaper publisher L. M. Rankin, who testified that the following businesses were left off the list: West Texas Utility Co. office, telephone office, grain elevator, insurance office, barrel factory, lumber yard, frozen food plant, barbershop, hotel, moving picture house, watch repair establishment, saloon, and appliance store.   Hart’s comment: “I was wondering if the other (Santa Fe) exhibits were prepared with the same accuracy.”   It would develop that they were not, as Hart was able to prove that while the railroad’s common carrier motor freight line, the Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co., had its local business tended to by the Railway agent at the depot, the railroad had not allocated to that station the revenue derived from these shipments.   Hart offered testimony from Joe Simmons, president of the Citizens State Bank in Miles, Mayor H. J. Kasberg, J. W. Clark (operator of the Miles Cooperative Cotton Gin), Bill Schnerder (Gulf Oil dealer), and J.W. Moore, mayor of Ballinger and owner of a cotton gin at Miles.   These men testified generally that the drought had greatly curtailed harvests since 1949, which was said to be the last normal year of crop yields for farmers, and therefore railroad shipments were considerably reduced from normal levels.   Hart testified himself that he had in recent years put in a cotton bag manufacturing plant at Miles, for which cotton was shipped in on the Santa Fe and finished bags were shipped out in the same way.

M. L. Penney, representing the Order of Railway Telegraphers, was offered as a witness by Hart.   Penney testified that the night clerk could be removed for a savings of $450/month, and the agency kept open and staffed by the agent alone.   He pointed out that the Santa Fe had recently taken off its night helpers at Krum and Ponder, and suggested that this action would cure the deficit problem at Miles.

The Railroad Commission hearing examiner, C. F. Petet, stated on the record at the end of the hearing that he would like to see the company work out an arrangement to keep the agency open.   Correspondence in the file of the legal department indicates that he also stated this opinion privately to a company representative after the hearing.   He had ample opportunity to do so, because he was scheduled for two similar hearings in the next two days to consider discontinuance of the Santa Fe agencies at Tuscola and Blum, and had arranged ahead of time to be given an automobile ride to those proceedings (held at Abilene and Cleburne) by Mr. Baker.    

Attorney Royal Hart did a very fine job.   On May 21, 1956 the Commission entered an order denying the application to close the agency, finding that the employment of two men was not required to furnish adequate agency service and “the applicant has not exhausted its resources in reduction of expenses at Miles”.   There is no suggestion of Austin political pressure in the file – Mr. Petet simply found that the facts did not support the applicant’s position.   Though he was quite friendly with Santa Fe personnel, Petet was not captive to the regulated industry.   The Santa Fe responded by abolishing the night clerk position, and the agency would remain open until 1972.

The Miles depot later suffered a fire which caused the loss of much of the structure.   The remaining portion, which includes the main waiting room, survives on the Eggemeyer Ranch south of the Wall community.   It is not open to the public.