www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 77 - Carrollton
A Crossing of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas, the St. Louis
Southwestern, and the Chicago Rock Island & Gulf railroads
The Dallas & Wichita Railroad was an effort
by Dallas investors to build a rail line to serve rich mineral
regions near the Red River. Construction from Dallas began in 1871 but was very slow; only 20
miles had been completed by 1878. That year, the railroad platted the town of
Carrollton and then went broke shortly thereafter. The railroad was ultimately
completed as far north as Denton in 1881 and then sold to the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas ("Katy") Railway. Several years later, the St. Louis,
Arkansas & Texas (SLA&T) Railway was expanding into north central Texas from
Texarkana where it connected with (and ultimately became part of) the St. Louis
Southwestern Railway, commonly known as the "Cotton Belt". Building a line from
Commerce to Ft. Worth, the SLA&T passed through Carrollton in 1888, crossing the
Katy at grade.
The third railroad into Carrollton resulted
from the efforts of railroad magnate B. F. Yoakum to expand his rail empire in north Texas. Yoakum
controlled both the St. Louis - San Francisco ("Frisco") Railway and the
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific ("Rock Island") Railroad. The Rock Island had
crossed the Red River near the town of Ringgold and built south to Ft. Worth in
1893. Yoakum's Frisco railroad crossed the Red River into Sherman in 1901. Yoakum elected to organize a different railroad to build from
Sherman to Ft. Worth, so the Red River, Texas & Southern (RRT&S) Railroad
was chartered. They built a line from Sherman to Carrollton in 1902 and then
negotiated an agreement to use the Cotton Belt line to reach Ft.
Worth from Carrollton. The RRT&S was formally merged with the Frisco in 1904. In 1903, Rock Island
built tracks from Ft. Worth to Dallas as the initial part of their strategy to
build a major route between Ft. Worth and Galveston. Since Rock Island and
Frisco were under common ownership, Rock Island closed the gap between
Carrollton and the Ft. Worth - Dallas line with the construction of an 11-mile
track between Carrollton and Irving in 1908. This resulted in three lines crossing at Carrollton, motivating the establishment of the Tower 77
interlocker on December 7, 1908.
Historic Photo - Tower 77
Above: Tower 77 at the
crossing of the Cotton Belt, Katy and Frisco railroads in Carrollton. (Dennis
Below: A photo of the crossing c.2001.
The City of Carrollton has placed a historical marker on
the west side of the depot that says...
Carrollton, Texas Designated Historic Landmark
The Carrollton Crossing
In 1878 the Dallas - Wichita Railroad came to Carrollton
and by 1879 the Katy Railroad owned the
line. By 1908 there were three railroads using Carrollton as a way station. The Cotton
Katy provided passenger service and maintained a depot
while the Frisco railroad only provided
freight service. Prior
to the 1940's, all significant commence was by rail. Access to
enabled Carrollton to grow and prosper.
Location Map - Tower 77
Above: Tower 77 would have been located directly
across the Cotton Belt tracks from the depot. The site appears to be
by an equipment cabinet.