Albert K. Owen, an American engineer, was hired by a group of American investors to locate and design a railbed that would link the United States Midwest with the Pacific Coast. He discovered Topolobampo Bay and visualized the greatest potential this railroad would offer by becoming the shortest route to the Orient.
In May, Owen’s plan to build a railroad from Norfolk, Virginia to Topolobampo Bay was approved in the Governor’s Convention of the Southern States.
The “Texas-Topolobampo and Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Co.”was formed and Mexican concessions for colonization were granted.
In November, 150 colonists arrived from California to join the Topolobampo Cooperative Colony. This Colony grew to an estimated maximum of 1,500 Americans, in time they started irrigation and sugar cane farming.
Arthur E. Stillwell from Kansas City, Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, Governor Ahumada of Chihuahua, Enrique C. Creel, from Chihuahua, and others organized the “Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad Co.” and construction started. An interesting anecdote is that Pancho Villa worked as contractor in this line.
In March, the first rail was laid in Mexico.
Construction was stopped by the Revolution.
The line between Ojinaga and Chihuahua was completed and sold to the Santa Fe System. This same year Santa Fe sold its rights to Benjamin F. Johnston, founder of Los Mochis.
The line was opened to Creel, Chihuahua.
Benjamin F. Johnston died.
The Mexican government bought from the Johnston family the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad. Rehabilitation and construction of the grades, tunnels and bridges began.
Construction peaked in the mountain division.
rail laying greatly increased.
Nearly one hundred million dollars and 90 years later, the line was finally opened on the 23rd of November, 1961 by the President of Mexico Lic. Adolfo López Mateos.