Texas Railroad History - Tower 10 - Dallas

A Crossing of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway and the Houston & Texas Central Railway

1930 Aerial Photo, Tower 10

In October 1930, Sherman Mills Fairchild took 93 aerial photographs
of Dallas and surrounding areas commissioned by the City of Dallas,
now available on-line from Southern Methodist University. This magnified
image shows Tower 10 located due south of the crossing, casting a
black shadow to the north. This is the only image of Tower 10 we have
been able to locate (thanks to Dennis Hogan for the tip).

The Houston & Texas Central (H&TC) Railway entered Dallas from the south in 1872, the first railroad into this future metropolis. In 1880, the Dallas, Cleburne & Rio Grande Railroad completed a narrow gauge railroad between Dallas and Cleburne that crossed the H&TC, but the new line was immediately abandoned upon completion. The assets were then acquired by the newly chartered Chicago, Texas and Mexican Central Railway which planned to convert it to standard gauge. The conversion was not actually accomplished until after the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway acquired the line in 1882.

In 1903, Tower 10 became the first numbered electric interlocking in Texas, protecting the crossing of the H&TC and GC&SF in south Dallas. On  July 23, 1932, a proposal was submitted by GC&SF to combine Tower 10 with Tower 19, and on September 28, 1932, a letter was sent by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) Engineering Dept. to the Commissioners recommending approval. Tower 10 was near Tower 19, and references in the Tower 19 RCT file to "Interlocker10-19", as well as a detailed interlocking map, lead to the conclusion that even after Towers 10 and 19 were combined in 1933, the interlocking machines were not combined; they were just co-located and they maintained their documentation separately. There are references in the RCT files to "Interlocker 10-19" and a 1961 reference to "Interlockers No. 10 and 22" [Tower 22 being along the Santa Fe line further to the northeast]. Thus, the 1944 listed retirement date of the tower may not correlate with the retirement of the interlocker, and might be a demolition date for the structure. In any event, Interlocker 10 was apparently still being used in 1961.

Historic Maps, Tower 10

Above: The location of Tower 10 is illustrated on the 1922 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of Dallas. The Sanborn map shows that the
tower was located on the south side of the diamond. A magnification of the map (below) shows that the "Interlocking Tower" was
a 2-story structure with an outer staircase on the west side of the building.

1930 Aerial Photo, Tower 10 and Vicinity

Above: This wider view of the Fairchild aerial photo shows the H&TC running diagonally
across the image. The Tower 10 junction is at upper left. Note the crossing in the center of the
image where the H&TC crossed the Dallas Terminal Railway, a junction presumably controlled
by Tower 10. Numerous exchange tracks among the railroads are also visible.

Location Map Tower 10

Above: Annotated map of Tower 10 and Tower 19 locations south of downtown Dallas. The Dallas
Terminal Railroad (mistakenly identified in the above map as "DUT") and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas
(MKT) Railroad also had tracks operating in this vicinity.
Below: This aerial image facing north shows the current view of the Tower 10 crossing. The remnants of the original H&TC route are now used as
industrial tracks. North (left) of the crossing is a scrap metal facility. The double track is the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail line that
leads to their yard located just beyond the freeway. The Sanborn map shows this was also a double track in 1922. At lower right, a diamond
remains in place where the Dallas Terminal Railroad (DTR) and the H&TC crossed.

Observations by Frank Fertitta 1/22/2001
Before DART came along I used to go down to that part of town to watch the SP switch the Austin Steel
plant and some of the machine shops along Coombs St as well as checking out the Santa Fe operations
at their yard east of this location. The SP switcher came out of Miller yard past Belt Junction to the
northwest toward Tower 19 and just before it got to the tower it would take the switch to the right
that put it on a track parallel to the Santa Fe. Once past the backside of Austin Steel it took the
crossover to get to the north side of the Santa Fe tracks and turned to the north on an interchange
track onto the original H&TC line behind that scrap metal yard and then back across the diamond to
the south to get to the industries along Coombs St. These industries were originally accessed from
the west across SP's own bridge across S. Ervay, but that bridge was torn out some time around 1954
necessitating the movements described earlier.

Last Revised: 1/3/2010 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.