A Crossing of the Orange & Northwestern Railroad and the Texas & New Orleans Railroad
Originally a tram road built to move east Texas logs to mills
in Orange, the Orange & Northwestern (O&NW) was chartered in 1901 as a common carrier
railroad to convert the tram line to standard gauge and extend
it northward to Buna. In 1902, the conversion and northward extension
was complete, crossing the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) railroad Sunset Route at grade
west of town. The T&NO had first arrived in Orange in 1860,
but the tracks were destroyed during the Civil War and not rebuilt
Pursuant to a Special Order dated 5 June 1902 resulting from a
hearing held by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) on 21 May 1902, the O&NW
was ordered to construct and install an interlocker at
the T&NO crossing. Although the O&NW had the obligation
to build the interlocker, it was actually installed by the T&NO,
and on 27 June 1903, it was approved and assigned as Tower 11.
The O&NW was acquired by railroad magnate B. F. Yoakum in 1906 and extended northward to Newton. Yoakum believed the O&NW would be an excellent feeder line for his Gulf Coast Lines via a connection at Mauriceville. Yoakum was attempting to piece together a continuous rail line between New Orleans and Houston to compete with the Sunset Route. A gap in Yoakum's New Orleans-Houston railroads was bridged by rights on the Texarkana & Ft. Smith between DeQuincy, LA and Beaumont. This line intersected the O&NW at Mauriceville, a site that was later interlocked as Tower 125. Union Pacific now owns both railroads. The junction at Tower 11 still exists but is no longer a crossing. The O&NW tracks southeast of the crossing have been removed. The tower is long gone.