A Crossing of the International & Great Northern Railway and the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railroad
The area around the town of Malone northeast of Waco was originally settled by Alonzo Dru Walling and a community was named after him in 1884 or 1885. The community moved two miles eastward in 1902 so that it might become a stop on the International & Great Northern (I-GN) Railroad, which had recently extended its tracks through the area on a route from Waco to Ft. Worth. In 1903 the Trinity and Brazos Valley (T&BV) Railway extended its tracks from east to west across the county, intending to intersect the I-GN tracks at Walling. A. D. Walling, seeing the economic potential of a community served by two railroads, overcame the hostility of William Malone, president of the I-GN, toward a competing rail line in the area by suggesting the establishment of a new town, which would allow Malone's line to maintain its control of rail traffic in Walling. The new settlement, where the two lines would intersect, was to be called Malone and was located on farmland owned by A. D. Walling, just west of the town that bore his name. Walling and a few other investors surveyed the new community and divided it into lots, which were sold at public auction on December 2, 1903. Officials of both the I-GN and the T&BV lines were given an interest in the sale of property in Malone, and directors of the latter line agreed to build a station there. A. D. Walling ensured the growth of Malone through litigation that forced officials of the International-Great Northern to build a station and schedule regular stops in the new community. While the development of Malone was assured, the decline of the town of Walling was made equally certain by these actions. A. D. Walling built and owned most of the commercial buildings in Malone, and by 1913 the settlement was "really a live little town." Today, it's a sleepy little community.
The Tower 45 interlocker was commissioned by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) to manage the T&BV/I-GN crossing on July 7, 1904. The T&BV line through Malone was part of a route constructed from Teague to Cleburne. The grade paralleled Highway 171 and is probably beneath it in many places. Remnants of a grade on the east side of Malone indicate that there was likely a lengthy exchange track between the two railroads. The T&BV rails through Malone were abandoned in 1935; Tower 45 was decommissioned at that time. The I-GN line had a much longer life as part of the Missouri Pacific's line from Waco to Ft. Worth, not abandoned until 1967. Remnants of the I-GN, particularly concrete bridges, are easily spotted along FM 308.
Below: This snippet of an article from the Palestine Daily Herald dated
March 14, 1908 states that RCT had ordered the two railroads to put the Malone
interlocking back into service after some period of being "suspended". It also
describes the interlocker as being "recently established" although the RCT files
list a commissioning date nearly four years earlier. The reasons for the
suspension are unknown.
Tower 45 Location Map
Above: Facing southwest, the line for TX Hwy 171 serves to mark the path of the T&BV through Malone. Much
of the I-GN grade near and through Malone has been obliterated from decades of farming. Just off the top edge
of this image, the I-GN grade crosses Ash Creek, where remnants of a trestle are visible on Google Earth (below
left). Below right: Looking northeast along the I-GN ROW from the approximate location of the Tower 45 crossing
diamond, it's hard to know the precise route of the I-GN. Our guess is between the silos and the warehouses.