Map of the Mexican Central Railway and its Connections (ca. 1892)

A founding partner of Rand, McNally & Co, George A. Poole left to found Poole Brothers in 1870. Like Rand McNally, Poole Brothers published all manner of ephemeral products for the railroad. They were also heavily engaged in the printing of books and periodicals. Poole Brothers was a prolific designer and printer of railroad maps, but most of these were published by railroad companies in timetables, promotional publications, advertisements, and (as here) annual reports. The Mexican Central Railway was incorporated in Massachusetts. It was owned, for the most part, by investors who also controlled the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF). The Mexican Central was, in effect, a subsidiary of the American Company until all Mexican railroads were nationalized in the early twentieth century. Comparison with the 1906 map of the ATSF’s lines published by Poole Brothers (see previous image) shows how the Mexican Central was conceived as an extension of its American counterpart from the border crossing at El Paso/Ciudad Juarez. The map also emphasizes the steamship connections from the Tampico—the terminus of the railroad’s recently completed eastern branch to the Gulf of Mexico. Tampico’s ascendance as a port was greatly encouraged by the railroad and its American investors. Several of the connecting lines were absorbed by the Mexican Central; thus making it the nation’s largest railroad when it was taken over by the Mexican government in 1906.



Modelski, Andrew. Railroad Maps of North America: The First Hundred Years. Washington DC: United States Government Printing, 1984.

Musich, Jerry. “Mapping a Transcontinental Nation: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century American Rail Travel Cartography.” In Cartographies of Travel and Navigation. Edited by James Akerman. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Powell, Fred Wilbur. The Railroads of Mexico. Boston: Stratford, 1921.

Map of the Mexican Central Railway and its Connections (Chicago: Poole Bros., c. 1892). The Newberry Library, 5A 7267 vol. 2