A Crossing of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway and the Texas Central Railroad
The community of Steele's Creek, 40 miles northwest of Waco, was settled in the late 1870s in anticipation of the arrival of the Texas Central Railroad. But it was the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway that arrived first, in 1881, as the railroad built from Temple to Ft. Worth, and the town was renamed for Thomas Morgan, a Santa Fe official. The Texas Central Railroad, building to Albany from Waco, passed through Morgan in 1882, crossing the GC&SF at grade. On July 20, 1904, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) authorized operation of an electric interlocker at Morgan, designated as Tower 50.
The service provided
by two railroads made Morgan a commercial center for this part
of Bosque County, but the rural environment was mostly suited
to large ranches and small populations. Morgan's population was
never very large and it declined after the turn of the century,
remaining largely static since then. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas ("Katy") Railroad acquired
the Texas Central line in 1914 and continued to operate it until
the line was abandoned in 1967. Today, the former GC&SF rail line is a main
north/south route for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF).
Tower 50 Historic Photos
Above: Tower 50 was an unusual combination depot and tower.
Photo taken January 1, 1935 by H. F. Spivey
Courtesy Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society
Below: Tower 50 and the station at Morgan from the collection of Mark Nerren. It is apparent from these two photos
that the Morgan depot and tower was a Santa Fe design similar to the station in McGregor further south along the
same Santa Fe line. The faint writing at the bottom of the photo says "Union Depot Morgan Texas". If the date of this
photo is accurate, the tower existed before it was formally approved by RCT as an interlocker in 1904.
Modern Photos, Tower 50 Site (courtesy Tom Kline)
Above: Facing approximately due east, bricks outline the former platform of
the Morgan Union Depot adjacent to the BNSF main line. The Katy crossed
at an oblique angle passing through the trees beyond the tracks.
Below: The Katy grade is visible in the gap through the trees.
Below: A concrete signal base remains beside the grade of the Katy Railroad. The oblique angle of the crossing is apparent; the second BNSF locomotive is
approximately above where the diamond was located.
Tower 50 Location Map