Texas Railroad History - Tower 74 - Beaumont
A Crossing of the Beaumont, Sour Lake & Western Railway and the Texas & New Orleans
Historic Photo - Tower 74
undated photo of Tower 74 (courtesy Mark St. Aubin)
Tower 74 - Historic Site Photos
Above: The site of the original crossing of the MoPac's Livonia-Houston
line and SP's Sunset Route is now
referred to as CP (Control
Point) 459. This view is looking east, with the Amtrak station/Tower
version) to our back. The foreground track alignment
is that of the SP, whose main continued eastward through
downtown Beaumont. The alignment veering to the right is that of the MoPac
toward GCL Jct. where it joins
the KCS mainline to DeQuincy,
LA. When the MP and SP consolidated their trackage into a double-tracked
joint corridor in the mid-1960's, the SP line was used from the
west end of Beaumont (where MoPac built a
new 1-mile connection to their original line) to Tower 74. The crossing was removed,
and the corridor then
followed the MoPac alignment east through
town. The track diverging to the lower left is a remnant of the
MoPac main used to serve a gravel company. The track diverging
to the upper left is remains of the former SP
to as the "NO Main", for New Orleans main. The yard
in the distance on the right is the MoPac
downtown yard, and the
track running on the far right is known as the "Roy Jones"
connection, and connects
to SP's yard which lies west (behind
the photographer). The site of the original Tower 74 building
is to the right
just out of the photo. Photo and caption by Ted Ferkenhoff.
Above: This photo was the "new" Tower 74, which unceremoniously
shared a building with the Amtrak waiting
room at Beaumont until
it closed during April 2000. It was replaced by dispatcher control
at Spring, TX. The
windows to the far left are the waiting room,
the windows to the right are the operator's office where the CTC
board, printer, fridge, and sundry other items were located.
The remainder of the building to the right of the
a room full of relays and other electrical gear. This installation
replaced the original Tower 74
building in the mid-60's when MP and SP consolidated their mainlines into a
single corridor through Beaumont.
Photo and caption by Ted Ferkenhoff.
Update courtesy of Howard Bingham
(5 Oct 2006): "The 'new' Tower 74 building...no longer exists. The building was leveled by the UP about 2 1/2 years ago after the City of Beaumont condemned the
building due to damage caused by vagrants. All that remains today is a concrete
pad where the building once stood in addition to the boarding platform which
continues to serve any Amtrak passengers boarding at Beaumont."
Track Chart, Tower 74 and Vicinity
This chart showing tracks in the vicinity of Tower 74 was taken from a
1982 Missouri Pacific track diagram, courtesy of Ted Ferkenhoff.
Historic Map, Tower 74 Location
Above: Tower 74 appears at the bottom of this image taken from the 1929
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Beaumont. The map shows the
original alignment of
the Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western RR (MoPac Lines) crossing the T&NO at Tower
74 and swinging north. Below,
a magnification of the above image shows the tower
to be a 2-story "R R Signal Tower".
Above: Interior photo of Tower 74 c.1998 (Mark St. Aubin photo)
Satellite Image, Tower 74 Location
Location Map, Tower 74
The map above depicts the historical locations of the main rail lines and
junctions in the Beaumont area, some of which are no longer in service.
Legend: Yellow => Missouri Pacific (MP), Blue => Southern Pacific (SP), Purple
=> Kansas City Southern (KCS), Green => Santa Fe (GCSF)