The Houston & Texas Central Railway, which began building north from Houston in 1856, was tapped in 1872 by a branch line from Waco. In 1879, the Texas Central Railway Co. was chartered to extend the branch from Ross, 11 miles north of Waco, to the Panhandle. By 1881, the track stretched 177 miles through Whitney, Hico, Dublin, and Cisco, to Albany. Because financial problems prevented further building, Albany remained the rail terminus for 19 years.
Realizing the value of rail service on the frontier, the citizens of Albany had raised $50,000 to win the railroad away from the nearby town of Ft. Griffin. As the end of the rail line, Albany experienced a long period of growth and prosperity. It became a shipping center for cattle, buffalo bones, and building stone. Hotels and stores sprang up to accommodate visitors and new residents arriving by train.
In 1900, the railroad started to build again, extending the line from Albany to Stamford. Purchased in 1914 by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Co., the Texas Central Railway was part of that system until the growth of highway travel reduced rail service. In 1967, the line was discontinued except for a short section between Gorman and Dublin.