Texas Railroad History - Tower 58 - Alvarado

A Crossing of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway and the Missouri - Kansas - Texas Railroad

The settlement of Alvarado had existed for some 25 years when two railroads arrived in the 1879-81 timeframe. The Dallas, Cleburne & Rio Grande Railway built through Alvarado as part of their narrow gauge line from Dallas to Cleburne, but this was after a reorganization when the originally chartered company could not be financed. According to the Handbook of Texas...

"The Dallas and Cleburne Railroad had been chartered on November 23, 1876, to build a narrow-gauge line between Dallas and Cleburne, but the capital could not be raised and the road was reorganized as the Dallas, Cleburne, and Rio Grande. In 1879 the company built fifty-three miles of narrow-gauge track from Dallas to Cleburne. The company ran a freight and passenger train over the tracks to collect a promised bonus, but service was then abandoned. The right-of-way passed to the Chicago, Texas and Mexican Central Railway Company in 1880."

The line was then acquired by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway two years later and converted to standard gauge. Meanwhile, the Missouri - Kansas - Texas Railroad ("the Katy") passed west of Alvarado as they built from Ft. Worth to Hillsboro in 1881. The two rail lines ran parallel for more than a mile before crossing. Tower 58 was authorized for operation at this location by the Railroad Commission of Texas on November 1, 1904.

Historic Photos, Tower 58 (John W Barriger III National Railroad Library)

Above and Below: These two photos were shot sequentially from the rear platform of John W Barriger III's business car,
probably in the late 1930's or early 1940's. The view of Tower 58 is looking northwest along the Katy Railroad as Barriger's
train was headed south toward Waco. In the above photo, the Santa Fe crosses in the foreground. To the left of the tower, the
Santa Fe curves back to the northwest to become parallel to the Katy. Also, what appears to be a connecting track is located
at far left. Below, a siding for the Katy is visible beginning immediately south of the tower. Note that the siding gives the
illusion of a slight opposite direction curve near the siding switch. This is where the Santa Fe connecting track joined the
Katy siding.

Below: This photo of Tower 58 was taken by Barriger on a different trip, this time looking southwest down the Katy.


Modern Photo - Tower 58 Site

Above: It is apparent from the track layout that sometime after Tower 58 was decommissioned, Santa Fe and the
Katy agreed to restructure this junction to allow movements between the two railroads, something that was not
convenient in the original crossing design. This view is to the north with the two railroads parallel in the distance:
Santa Fe (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe) on the left and the Katy (now Union Pacific) on the right. In the
foreground, the Santa Fe line departs to the right as it curves back to the east through the town of Alvarado.

By email on 4/25/14, Alan Hale adds... "The diamond for Tower 58 was removed in late 1996 and replaced with the
interchanging switches currently in place. "

Location Map - Tower 58

Above: The Santa Fe looped around to the north to avoid a 2.3% grade that would have resulted from a more direct
route (i.e. across this image).


Last Revised: 4/26/2014 - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.