A Crossing of the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railroad and the Texas & New Orleans Railway
Port Arthur was named for Arthur Stilwell, the founder of what became today's Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway. The town was established in 1895 as a Gulf port for the Texarkana & Fort Smith (T&FS) Railway, a subsidiary of Stilwell's Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad. The T&FS was established to comply with state law requiring all railroads in Texas to have their corporate offices in state.
The T&FS was the first railroad to serve Port Arthur, but it was not the first railroad to serve the area. The Sabine & East Texas Railway built a rail line from Beaumont to Sabine Pass in 1881, passing through the wetlands and coastal prairies that would eventually become Port Arthur. This line was sold to the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) Railroad in 1882. Soon after Port Arthur was founded, both the T&NO and the T&FS sought to serve the rapidly developing port facilities, so it was inevitable that local branch lines would eventually cross. The primary crossing, located in an industrial area northeast of West Port Arthur, was interlocked in 1925 with Tower 120, a cabin interlocker.
Above: This 1930 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows the crossing where Tower 120 was located. The small, 1-story
rectangular structure near the crossing may be the cabin interlocker.
Below: Facing south, the former Tower 120 crossing shows to be no longer intact in this aerial image. The ex-T&FS line crosses Houston
Ave. and curves to the south while the ex-T&NO line is severed at the former crossing.
Location Map, Tower 120 Site