Built in 1892, the Aransas Harbor Terminal Railroad ("Old Terminal Railroad") provided a means for transporting rock from mainland quarries to jetties under construction in the pass. In 1909 the Aransas Pass Channel and Dock Company was chartered to build a channel from the first south Texas deep water port at Harbor Island to Aransas Pass. As the channel was dredged, the displaced sediment was piled along one side and became the basis for a railroad bed.
Opened in 1912, the new terminal railroad extended along the roadbed and a series of eight trestles. It connected with the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad in Aransas Pass, and was an important cotton shipping tool. Passenger service was inaugurated with the "Toonerville Trolley", passenger coaches pulled by a converted model T Ford truck, which transported workers from the mainland to a new shipyard on Harbor Island during World War I.
After Corpus Christi was designated a deep water port in 1922, business declined for Harbor Island and the railroad. In 1931 the rail line was converted to a road for automobiles, which was in turn replaced by a new highway in 1960. Hurricanes in 1961 and 1970 left few visible remnants of the terminal railroad.