www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 71 - Houston

A Crossing of the Houston East & West Texas Railroad and the Houston Belt & Terminal Railroad

In the early years of Houston's industrial growth, several interlockers were established in north central Houston to control rail junctions north of Buffalo Bayou. Towers 25 and 26 were two early interlockers in this area, and two of the railroads that passed through Tower 26 were the Houston East & West Texas (HE&WT) Railroad and the Houston Belt & Terminal (HB&T) Railroad. Their main lines proceeded northbound past Tower 26 about 700 ft. apart with the HB&T east of the HE&WT. North of Tower 26, the HB&T curved northwest becoming directly adjacent to the HE&WT. North of Quitman St., the HE&WT angled sharply northeast toward its eventual destination, Shreveport, while the HB&T proceeded due north toward Tower 80. This required the two railroads to cross at grade, and Tower 71 was established as a manual interlocker to control this crossing on July 1, 1907. This is the first tower attributed to the HB&T, which did not begin formal operations until January, 1908. The HB&T had been given control of Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) tracks in most of Houston when HB&T, which was 25% owned by the GC&SF, was founded. The rails at Tower 71 were built by HB&T as a northerly extension of GC&SF tracks that had been built to Tower 26 from the south. Tower 71's operation was consolidated into Tower 26 in 1930 and later moved to Tower 68.

Modern Photos of Tower 71 (photo by Jim King, December, 2006)

Above: A photo of the original manned tower at this site has not been located, but as this photo shows, the
Tower 71 reference name is still intact.
Below: Facing north at Tower 71, the former HE&WT tracks curve to the northeast toward Tower 210
and Tower 76 while the HB&T tracks continue north toward Tower 80.

Historic Map, Tower 71

Above: The 1924 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Houston shows Tower 71 north of Quitman St. near the "47" notation.
The straight track is the HE&WT which will curve to the right just beyond the top of the map. The angled track is the HB&T.
Below: Magnification shows the "Signal Tower" reference. The tower was only one story as evidenced by the numeral
"1" in the box and the lack of any indication of an external staircase.

 

Location Map for Tower 71

 

Satellite Image, Tower 71 Vicinity

 
Last Revised: 12/23/2007 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.