A Crossing of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway and the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway
Unlike many small towns that saw significant railroad service, Cameron was founded some 35 years before the railroad arrived. The first line through town was the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway in 1881, building from Galveston to Temple. The arrival of the railroad was critical to Cameron retaining the county seat of Milam County. Rockdale had gained rail service in 1873 and there had been elections in 1874 and 1880 to try to relocate the county seat. Without rail service, Cameron would eventually lose out to Rockdale. In 1891, the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railway built north through Cameron, extending its line from Yoakum and Flatonia toward Waco. With railroad service in four directions, Cameron prospered, reaching 2,000 population in 1892. Tower 52 was established as an electric interlocker for the crossing on July 21, 1904.
The SA&AP line from Cameron south to Rockdale was abandoned by Southern Pacific (SP) in 1959, resulting in the decommissioning of Tower 52. SP retained the north line to Waco until 1977 when it, too, was abandoned except for some local trackage within Cameron used as an industrial spur. The Santa Fe line remains in active use as a major route of Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Historic Photo, Tower 52
Most likely this photo of Tower 52 is looking southeast on the Santa Fe. On the back of the photo: "Photo by
A. E. Brown, Collection of Gordon C. Basett." (From the collection of William Osborn)
Tower 52 site
This is the site of Tower 52 in Cameron. Looking north, the Santa Fe line ran east-west at this point and the tracks
heading north in the distance, on the original SA&AP grade, were left in place as an industrial spur when the remainder
of the SA&AP line was abandoned.