Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Railroad Interlocking Towers

Interlocking Reports

Southern Methodist University

Railroad Commission of Texas interlocking towers records

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Railroad Commission of Texas
Title: Railroad Commission of Texas interlocking towers records
Inclusive Dates: 1902-1974
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence, blueprints, and technical information on the interlocking railroad towers built under the authority of the Railroad Commission of Texas from about 1900 until 1966. The purpose of the towers was to ensure safe passage of trains over intersecting railroad lines or trains switching from one line to another. Each tower was assigned a number; the records in this collection have been arranged in numerical order.
Accession No: A1987.1412
Extent: 6 boxes (6 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

The Texas Railroad Commission, the oldest regulatory body in the state, was established in 1891 to regulate the state’s rail lines. In the one hundred years of its existence, the Commission has also been charged with regulating other Texas industries, including the production and distribution of oil and natural gas, as well as trucking and mining. The TRC is considered part of the state government’s executive branch. As such, the body is made up of three commissioners who are elected to six year terms; like U.S. senators, they serve staggered terms, with one up for reelection every two years.

The chief task of the Texas Railroad Commission in its early years was oversight of railroads operating within the state. Charters providing for the construction of rail lines had been issued as early as the late 1830s while Texas was still an independent nation, but it was not until 1853 that the state could boast of its first operating railroad.

Growth of railroads in Texas following the Civil War (as well as the growth of unfair business practices) made regulations governing the industry necessary. In addition, greater use of rail transportation necessitated rules to ensure the safe passage of trains over intersecting and connecting rail lines at locations where trains crossed lines owned by a different company.

Following the passage of state legislation in 1901, the TRC established such rules the following year. Interlocking systems (interlocking towers) were to be built at locations where trains crossed intersecting lines or where trains switched from one line to another; the purpose being to ensure that two trains did not end up on the same line. Railroads were not required to implement interlocking systems, but the TRC’s regulations provided that trains come to a complete stop before crossing or switching onto the other line, in any location for which there was not a system in place. Thus railroads had an incentive to install interlocking towers, at least at heavily-used rail intersections.

The TRC assigned a number to each interlocking tower built, and such towers were constructed over roughly a sixty-year time period. Heavily-used intersections had railroad employees stationed in the towers to alter the switches as needed. The need for such interlocking towers diminished with the advance of technology. By the mid-1960s, the switches at rail intersections could be controlled electronically, making the continued manual operation at each site no longer necessary. In 1966, the final tower was established, number 215 in Bloomington, Texas. Most of the towers are no longer standing.

Sources:

King, Jim. "Railroad Interlocking Towers of Texas." Texas Escapes online magazine: http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasRailroads/Railroad-Interlocking-Towers-of-Texas.htm. Accessed September 29, 2009.

"Railroad Commissioners of Texas." Railroad Commission of Texas: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/commissioners/index.php. Accessed September 29, 2009.

"Texas Politics: The Executive Branch." September 29, 2009. Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, University of Texas at Austin: http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/1_9_8.html. Accessed September 29, 2009.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Series 1 comprises the majority of this collection, and is made up of correspondence, blueprints depicting railroad lines and the placement of interlocking towers and signals, manipulation charts, and other materials on the interlocking towers built in Texas from about 1900 until 1966. They are arranged in numerical order according to the number assigned to each tower. The correspondence throughout this series concerns both the construction of towers and the changing of interlocking equipment.

Users should note that multiple towers may have been built in or around a city or town; these are not necessarily grouped together, but rather in the order in which they were built and assigned a number.

Users should also note that this collection has records for each interlocking tower (in terms of numerical order, below), except the final one, number 215, which was built at Bloomington in 1966 (from the Historical Note, above). We do not have any records on tower 215 in this collection.

Series 2 contains information on interlocking reports. It is important to note that the material in this series is not of the same time period as the interlocking tower records from Series 1. The interlocking reports date from 1969-1974, and therefore come after the final tower was built in 1966.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: Railroad Interlocking Towers
Series 2: Interlocking Reports

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Restrictions

Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

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Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Railroad Commission of Texas.
Railroad signal towers -- Texas.
Railroads -- Signaling -- Interlocking systems.
Railroads -- Buildings and structures -- Drawings.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Railroad Commission of Texas interlocking towers records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Acquired, 1987; accession file indicates that this collection is on "long-term loan" from the Texas Railroad Commission.

Finding aid written by

Paul H. Santa Cruz, 2009.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2009.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Railroad Interlocking Towers

Box Folder
1 1 Interlocker "A," Galveston
2 1—Bowie
3 1—Bowie, part 2
4 2—San Antonio
5 3—Flatonia
6 4—Dalhart
7 4—Dalhart, part 2
8 4—Dalhart, part 3
9 5—Houston (east of, near Buffalo Bayou)
10 6—El Paso
11 7—College Station
12 8—East Waco
13 9—Navasota
14 10—Dallas
15 11—West Orange
16 12—Blodgett
17 13—Eureka
18 14—Chaney Junction
19 15—Hearne
20 16—Sherman
21 17—Rosenberg
22 18—joint track, near Hodge
23 19—Dallas
24 20—Bells
25 21—East Waco
26 22—East Dallas
27 23—Milano
28 24—Temple
29 25—Houston
Box Folder
2 1 26—Houston
2 27—Quanah
3 28—Texarkana
4 29—Saginaw
5 29—Saginaw, part 2
6 29—Saginaw, part 3
7 30—Harrisburg
8 31—east of Beaumont
9 32—Beaumont
10 33—Bay City
11 34—Taylor
12 35—Oasis (Caruth)
13 36—Bryan
14 37—Vernon
15 38—Galveston
16 39—Kaufman
17 40—Luling
18 41—Navasota
19 42—Texarkana
20 42—Texarkana, part 2
21 43—Cleburne
22 44—Hillsboro
23 45—Malone
24 46—Hubbard
25 47—El Paso
26 48—Yarnell
27 49—Plano
28 50—Morgan
29 51—Wallis
30 52—Cameron
Box Folder
3 1 53—South Fort Worth
2 54—Rockdale
3 55—Fort Worth
4 55—Fort Worth, part 2
5 56—McGregor
6 57—Dallas
7 58—Alvarado
8 59—Waco
9 60—Fort Worth
10 61—Jefferson
11 62—Mineola
12 63—Mexia
13 64—Greenville
14 65—Algoa
15 66—El Paso
16 67—Waxahachie
17 68—Houston (Englewood)
18 69—Celeste
19 70—Dobbin
20 71—Houston
21 72—Corsicana
22 73—Texas City junction
23 74—Beaumont
24 75—Amarillo
25 76—Houston
26 77—Carrollton
27 78—Garland
28 79—Paris
29 80—Percival
30 81—Houston
Box Folder
4 1 82—San Angelo
2 83—Chillicothe
3 84—Houston
4 85—Houston
5 86—Houston
6 87—Houston (Englewood)
7 88—Sweetheart
8 89—Houston
9 90—Victoria
10 91—West Point
11 92—New Braunfels
12 93—Denison
13 94—Midlothian
14 95—Brenham
15 96—Island Causeway
16 97—Galveston Causeway
17 98—Virginia Point Causeway
18 99—Galveston
19 100—Elgin
20 101—Whitewright
21 102—Magnolia Park
22 103—Chaison
23 104—Bellaire
24 105—San Antonio
25 106 & 107—Dallas, north and south
26 108—Bonner’s Point
27 109—San Antonio
28 110—Dayton
29 111—Trinity
30 112—San Antonio
31 113—Hyatt (abandoned)
32 114—Sugarland
33 115—Eagle Lake
34 116—Houston, H.B.T. yards
35 117—Houston
36 118—Dallas, Metzger junction
37 119—Dallas
38 120—Port Arthur
39 121—San Antonio
40 122—Ranger
41 123—Jefferson
Box Folder
5 1 124—Fort Worth
2 125—Mauriceville
3 126—Fort Worth
4 127—Teneha (revised December 1937)
5 128—Ballinger
6 129—Tuscola
7 130—Grand Saline
8 131—Terrell
9 132—McNeil
10 133—Lancaster
11 134—Pierce Junction
12 135—Canyon
13 136—Pampa
14 137—Big Sandy
15 138—Harlingen
16 139—Houston
17 140—Tatsie
18 141—Lubbock
19 142—Plainview
20 143—Devers
21 144—East Waco
22 145—Edinburg
23 146—Edcouch
24 147—Lantana
25 148—Fullerton
26 149—Edinburg (4 miles east)
27 150—Eastland
28 151—Rosita
29 152—Wharton
30 153—Amarillo yards
31 154—Angleton
32 155—Grayburg
33 156—Allenhurst
34 157—Blessing
35 158—Placedo
36 159—Mathis
37 160—Cisco
38 161—Arcola
39 162—Sugarland
40 163—Sealy
41 164—Gainesville
42 165—Texas Electric (near Corsicana)
43 166—Plano
44 167—Hillsboro
45 168—West Livingston
46 169—Bay City
47 170—Conroe
48 171—Acme
49 172—Stratford
50 173—Palestine
51 174—Italy
52 175—Etter
53 176—Jacksonville
54 177—Amarillo
55 178—Magnolia
56 179—Shamrock
57 180—Mile Post 952
58 181—Mertens
59 182—Prosser
60 183—Tyler
61 184—Corsicana
62 185—Diboll
63 186—Sherman
Box Folder
6 1 187—Waxahachie
2 188—Farwell
3 189—Houston
4 190—Coburn and Higgins
5 191—Marlin
6 192—Fort Worth
7 193—Sinton
8 194—Valley Junction
9 195—Pittsburg
10 196—El Paso
11 197—Robstown
12 198—Henrietta
13 199—Houston
14 200—Athens
15 201—Jacksonville
16 202—Cleveland
17 203—Dublin
18 204—Richardson
19 205—Houston
20 208—Houston
21 209—Amarillo
22 210—Houston
23 211—Corpus Christi
24 212—Lockney
25 213—Plainview
26 214—Houston
27 Retirement of facilities at Mankins, TX
28 Proposed interlocking changes between Denison, TX and Staley, OK; 1959
29 Proposed interlocking changes, Mariposa (Beaumont); 1961
30 Proposed interlocking changes, 1946-1971
31 Speech of Robert Murphy from Interstate Commerce Commission, 1973
32 Proposed track construction and retirement
33 Proposed centralized traffic control between Amarillo and Farwell, TX; 1947
34 Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company—signal system modification
35 Interlocking orders, 1909-1945
36 Icing racks and stock pen platforms, 1947-1951

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Series 2:
Interlocking Reports

Box Folder
6 37 Interlocking reports, 1969
38 Interlocking reports, 1970
39 Interlocking reports, 1971
40 Interlocking reports, 1972
41 Interlocking reports, 1973
42 Interlocking reports, 1974

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Identification of Interlocking Towers in Texas
(Taken from collection accession file)

Number & Location Company Character/Machine Authorized Comments
A Galveston GH&H Mechanical 1898 --
1 Bowie CRI&G Mechanical 1902 --
2 San Antonio -- -- -- Abandoned 1925
3 Flatonia T&NO Mechanical 1902 --
4 Dalhart CRI&G Mechanical 1902 --
5 Houston T&NO M-Cabin 1902 Abandoned 1940
6 El Paso T&NO Mechanical 1903 --
7 College Station I&GN Mechanical 1903 --
8 East Waco SLSW Mechanical 1903 --
9 Navasota I&GN Mechanical 1903 --
10 Dallas H&TC Electrical 1903 Con., 19; 1933*
11 Orange T&NO Mechanical 1903 --
12 Blodgett GHSA -- -- Abandoned 1915
13 Eureka T&NO Electrical 1903 --
14 Chaney Junction -- -- -- Abandoned 1915
15 Hearne T&NO Electrical 1903 --
16 Sherman T&NO Electrical 1903 --
17 Rosenberg T&NO Electrical 1903 --
18 North Ft. Worth T&P Mechanical 1903 --
19 Dallas GC&SF Electrical 1903 --
20 Bells MKT Mechanical 1903 --
21 East Waco T&NO Electrical 1903 --
22 East Dallas T&P Mechanical 1903 --
23 Milano GC&SF Electrical 1903 --
24 Temple GC&SF Electrical 1903 --
25 Houston -- Electrical 1903 Con., 26, 1920s*
26 Houston T&NO Electrical 1903 --
27 Quanah QA&P Mechanical 1903 --
28 Texarkana T&P Mechanical 1903 --
29 Saginaw CRI&G Mechanical 1903 --
30 Harrisburg T&NO Mechanical 1903 --
31 Beaumont T&NO Mechanical 1903 --
32 Beaumont T&NO Electrical 1904 --
33 Bay City T&NO Electrical 1904 --
34 Taylor MKT Mechanical 1904 --
35 Oasis T&NO Mechanical 1904 --
36 Bryan T&NO Mechanical 1904 --
37 Vernon SLSF&T Mechanical 1904 --
38 Galveston T&NO Electrical 1904 --
39 Kaufman T&NO -- -- Abandoned 1928
40 Luling GH&SA M-Cabin 1904 Abandoned 1933
41 Navasota GC&SF Electrical 1904 --
42 Texarkana T&P Electrical 1904 --
43 Cleburne GC&SF Mechanical 1904 Abandoned 1932
44 Hillsboro MKT Mechanical 1904 --
45 Malone IGN Mechanical 1904 Abandoned 1935
46 Hubbard SLSW Mechanical 1904 Abandoned
47 El Paso T&NO Mechanical 1904 --
48 Yarnell CRI&G -- -- Abandoned 1908
49 Plano T&NO Electrical 1904 --
50 Morgan GC&SF Electrical 1904 --
51 Wallis GC&SF Electrical 1904 --
52 Cameron GC&SF Electrical 1904 --
53 Ft. Worth MKT Mechanical 1904 --
54 Rockdale I&GN Mechanical 1904 --
55 Ft. Worth T&P Electrical 1904 --
56 McGregor GC&SF Electrical 1904 --
57 Dallas MKT -- -- Abandoned 1916
58 Alvarado MKT Mechanical 1904 --
59 Waco T&NO Mechanical 1904 Con., 21; 1930*
60 Ft. Worth GC&SF Electrical 1905 --
61 Jefferson LA&T Mechanical 1905 --
62 Mineola T&P Mechanical 1905 --
63 Mexia T&NO Mechanical 1906 --
64 Greenville MKT Mechanical 1906 --
65 Algoa -- -- -- Abandoned, 1914
66 El Paso -- -- -- Abandoned, 1928
67 Waxahachie MKT Mechanical 1906 --
68 Englewood T&NO Mechanical 1907 --
69 Celeste MKT Mechanical 1907 --
70 Dobbin GC&SF Mechanical 1907 --
71 Houston T&NO Mechanical 1907 Con., 26; 1931*
72 Corsicana SLSW Mechanical 1907 --
73 Texas City Jct. T&NO Mechanical 1907 --
74 Beaumont BSL&W Mechanical 1908 --
75 Amarillo P&SF Electrical 1908 --
76 Houston HE&WT Mechanical 1908 Con., 80, 1931*
77 Carrollton SLSW Mechanical 1908 --
78 Garland GC&SF Electrical 1909 --
79 Paris T&P Electrical 1909 --
80 Houston HB&T Mechanical 1913 --
81 Houston T&NO Mechanical 1910 --
82 San Angelo GC&SF Electrical 1910 Abandoned, 1930
83 Chillicothe P&SF Mechanical 1910 --
84 Houston HB&T Electrical 1910 --
85 Houston HB&T Mechanical 1911 --
86 Houston HB&T Electrical 1912 --
87 Houston HB&T Mechanical 1911 --
88 Sweetwater KCM&O Electrical 1911 Abandoned, 1937
89 Houston -- -- -- Abandoned
90 Victoria T&NO Mechanical 1913 --
91 West Point MKT Mechanical 1913 --
92 New Braunfels I&GN Mechanical 1913 --
93 Denison MKT Electrical—Pneu. 1913 --
94 Midlothian GC&SF Electrical 1913 --
95 Brenham T&NO Electrical 1914 --
96 Galveston Island GH&H Electrical 1912 Oper. from 97
97 Galveston GH&H Electrical 1912 --
98 Virginia Point GH&H Electrical—Pneu. 1912 Oper. from 97
99 Galveston -- -- -- Abandoned 1914
100 Elgin T&NO Mechanical 1914 --
101 Whitewright MKT Mechanical 1914 --
102 Magnolia Park T&NO M-Cabin 1915 --
103 Chaison T&NO M-Cabin 1915 --
104 Bellaire T&NO -- -- Abandoned 1935
105 San Antonio T&NO Mechanical 1916 --
106 Dallas Union Terminal Electrical—Pneu. 1916 --
107 Dallas Union Terminal Electrical—Pneu. 1916 --
108 Houston T&NO Electrical 1918 --
109 San Antonio MKT Mechanical 1918 --
110 Dayton T&NO -- -- Abandoned 1927
111 Trinity -- M-Cabin 1919 Abandoned 1934
112 San Antonio T&NO Electrical 1919 --
113 Hyatt T&NO -- -- Abandoned 1927
114 Sugarland T&NO Mechanical 1923 --
115 Eagle Lake T&NO Electrical 1924 --
116 Houston HB&T Electrical 1924 --
117 Houston HB&T Electrical 1924 --
118 Houston T&NO Electrical 1926 --
119 Dallas T&P Electrical 1926 --
120 Port Arthur T&NO M-Cabin 1925 --
121 San Antonio T&NO Electrical 1925 --
122 Ranger T&P M-Cabin 1926 --
123 Jefferson T&P M-Cabin 1925 Abandoned 1941
124 Fort Worth GC&SF M-Cabin 1926 --
125 Mauriceville BSL&W -- -- --
126 Fort Worth GC&SF Electrical 1926 --
127 Teneha GC&SF M-Cabin 1928 --
128 Ballinger GC&SF M-Cabin 1927 --
129 Tuscola GC&SF M-Cabin 1927 --
130 Grand Saline T&P M-Cabin 1926 --
131 Terrell T&P Electrical 1927 --
132 McNeil T&NO M-Cabin 1928 --
133 Lancaster H&TC M-Cabin 1928 Abandoned 1934
134 Pierce Jct. I&GN -- -- --
135 Canyon P&SF Electrical 1927 --
136 Pampa P&SF Electrical 1928 --
137 Big Sandy T&P Electrical 1928 --
138 Harlingen SLB&M Mechanical 1928 --
139 Houston T&NO Electrical 1928 --
140 Tatsie T&NO -- -- --
141 Lubbock P&SF -- -- --
142 Plainview P&SF -- -- --
143 Devers T&NO M-Cabin 1923 Abandoned 1930
144 Waco MKT Mechanical 1928 --
145 Edinburg T&NO -- -- --
146 Edcouch SLB&M -- -- --
147 Latana SLB&M -- -- --
148 Fullerton BSL&W -- -- Abandoned
149 Edinburg T&NO M-Cabin 1928 --
150 Eastland T&P -- -- --
151 Rosita T&NO -- -- --
152 Wharton T&NO -- -- --
153 Amarillo P&SF -- -- --
154 Angleton SLB&M -- -- --
155 Grayburg BSL&W -- -- Abandoned 1933
156 Allenhurst -- -- -- Abandoned 1932
157 Blessing T&NO -- -- --
158 Placedo SLB&M -- -- --
159 Mathis T&NO -- -- --
160 Cisco T&P -- -- --
161 Arcola I&GN -- -- --
162 Sugarland Jct. GC&SF -- -- --
163 Sealy MKT -- -- --
164 Gainesville GC&SF -- -- --
165 Corsicana -- -- -- --
166 Plano -- -- -- --
167 Hillsboro MKT -- -- --
168 West Livingston T&NO -- -- --
169 Bay City SLB&M -- -- --
170 Conroe I&GN -- -- --
171 Acme FW&DC -- -- --
172 Stratford CRI&G -- -- --
173 Palestine I&GN -- -- --
174 Italy MKT -- -- --
175 Etter P&SF -- -- Abandoned 1939
176 Jacksonville I&GN -- -- --
177 Amarillo P&SF -- -- --
178 Magnolia I&GN -- -- Abandoned 1940
179 Shamrock CRI&G -- -- --
180 Mile Post 952 -- -- -- Abandoned 1936
181 Mertens I&GN -- -- Abandoned 1940
182 Prosser T&NO -- -- --
183 Tyler SLSW -- -- --
184 Corsicana T&NO -- -- --
185 Diboll T&NO -- -- March 1944
186 Sherman SLSF -- -- --
187 Waxahachie B-RI -- -- --
188 Farwell P&SF -- -- --
189 Houston HB&T -- -- --
190 Canadian P&SF -- -- --
191 Marlin -- -- -- --
192 Fort Worth CRI&P -- -- --
193 Sinton SLB&M -- -- --
194 Valley Jct. Mo. Pac. -- -- --
195 Pittsburg SLSW -- -- --
196 El Paso T&NO -- -- --
197 Robstown Mo. Pac. -- -- --
198 Henrietta FW&D -- -- --
199 Houston HB&T -- -- --
200 Athens SLSW -- -- --
201 Jacksonville SLSW -- -- --
202 Cleveland T&NO -- -- --
203 Dublin MKT -- -- --
204 Richardson GC&SF -- -- --
205 Austin I&GN -- -- --
206 San Marcos I&GN -- -- --
207 Houston T&NO -- -- --
208 Houston HB&T -- -- --
209 Amarillo -- -- -- --
210 Houston HB&T -- -- --
(Accession file for this collection did not have information on towers 211-215.)
*Con.—"Consolidated"

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