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 Hogan collection)
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 Belt and
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 the railroads
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
occupied by an equipment cabinet.

Last Revised: 2/19/2010 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.