Texas Railroad History - Tower 22 - Dallas

Crossing of the Texas & Pacific Railway and the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway

Tower 22 was located east of downtown Dallas at a crossing of the Texas & Pacific (T&P) and the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) railroads. The T&P line was the original main built into Dallas from the east in 1873. The Santa Fe line traces its roots to 1880 when the Dallas, Cleburne & Rio Grande Railroad completed a narrow gauge railroad between Dallas and Cleburne. The new line was immediately abandoned upon completion, and the assets were acquired by the newly chartered Chicago, Texas and Mexican Central Railway. GC&SF acquired the line in 1882 and completed the conversion to standard gauge. Tower 22 was established in 1903 and undoubtedly saw significant traffic. Within a decade, Dallas' growth resulted in a plan to build bypass tracks to reduce congestion through downtown. This eventually resulted in the T&P main being abandoned along Pacific Ave in the late 1920s, with the former main becoming an industrial spur. Main line T&P traffic was routed south of downtown via the Dallas Belt Line past Towers 106, 107, 19, 118 and 119. The T&P abandonment allowed Santa Fe to propose closing Tower 22. Its interlocker controls were combined with those of Tower 10 sometime prior to 1961, but were actually located at Tower 19 where Tower 10's controls had been transferred in 1933.

Overview Map, Historic Dallas Area Towers

The Santa Fe line remained viable into the 1990s before it was abandoned. The former Santa Fe yard southwest of Tower 22 became the maintenance yard for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail system. For many years, the T&P line was out of service west of the Age of Steam Railroad Museum at Fair Park although the tracks remained in place. This has now changed as DART used a portion of the T&P right-of-way to construct a light rail line to southeast Dallas. The line passes the site of Tower 22 and then turns south along the front of Fair Park before resuming eastward progress along the former Texas Trunk (Southern Pacific) right-of-way south of the park.

1930 Aerial Photo, Tower 22

Above: 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 the vicinity of Tower 22. The poor resolution and mix of shadows makes positive identification of the actual tower structure difficult.

Early 60s Aerial Photo, Tower 22 Site

Above: This aerial photo of the site of Tower 22 taken during the construction of I-20 (now I-30) shows a string of cars on an exchange track adjacent to the crossing diamond. The view is roughly east, with the T&P line running across the image and the Santa Fe line diagonally from upper left to lower right.

Modern Photos - Tower 22 Site (Jim King photos c.1999)

Above: Looking due at north the former location of Tower 22 at the intersection of the Santa Fe and T&P railroad main lines. The T&P tracks are still in place although the line has long been out of service. The Santa Fe tracks were pulled out several years ago.

Above: Looking northeast down the Santa Fe right-of-way, the T&P tracks are barely visible at the rear of the building to the right.  Tower 22 would have been visible just behind the trees on the left.

Above: Tower 22's location in the northwest quadrant of the crossing is shown on this 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. Under magnification, the printing in the rectangle depicting the tower says "Switch Tower, 2" (indicating a 2-story structure).

: The Tower 22 crossing is shown when it was under construction for the DART light rail line to southeast Dallas. The T&P ROW crosses the image horizontally and now has DART tracks; the Santa Fe ROW is being used for construction vehicle access.

Location Map - Tower 22

Above: Tower 22 was located immediately west of where I-30 now crosses the former T&P ROW. Since this satellite image was taken, DART has reconstructed the former T&P ROW for its Green Line.

Last Revised: 1/21/2018 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.