Texas Railroad History - Tower 74 - Beaumont

A Crossing of the Beaumont, Sour Lake & Western Railway and the Texas & New Orleans Railroad

Historic Photo - Tower 74

Above: an 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 74 (new
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 old
MoPac main used to serve a gravel company. The track diverging to the upper left is remains of the former SP
main, referred 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
windows was 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)

 
Last Revised: 2/8/2018 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.