As early as 1875, New Braunfels residents began petitioning rail companies to bring lines into the community. The town's first major proposal, to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad, failed to achieve the goal. By the end of the decade, however, the International & Great Northern Railroad (I&GN), which had reached Austin in 1876, agreed to bring rail through New Braunfels. By 1880, the town had a depot and the first trains rolled through. In 1885, the rail company built a new depot, which was replaced by a more modern passenger station in 1907.
The railroad dramatically affected the economy of New Braunfels. With the rail outlet, the town could send goods to market and receive products from other cities more effectively. In addition, the railroad sparked tourism in the area, particularly beginning in the late 1890s. It was during this time that Helen Gould, daughter of railroad financier Jay Gould, visited the town. She proposed that the I&GN build a spur track into a beautiful piece of land owned by Harry Landa, which would become known as Landa Park. I&GN built the spur, and soon the park became a popular tourist destination in central Texas, drawing visitors by rail. Today, the park remains the city's primary public recreational site.
In 1926, a subsidiary of the Missouri Pacific Railroad bought
out the I&GN and by the middle of the 20th century, the railroad's importance decreased. After merging into the Union Pacific Railroad system in 1986, the Missouri Pacific Railroad donated the 1907 I&GN station to the City of New Braunfels. Today, the former station is home to the New Braunfels Railroad Museum.