A Crossing of the Texas & Pacific Railway and the Wichita Falls, Ranger & Fort Worth Railroad
Historic Photo, Tower 122 (from the
John W Barriger III
National Railroad Library)
Barriger took this shot of the Tower 122 crossing from the rear platform of his business car while travelling south toward Dublin.
The view is west-northwest along the former WFR&FW which by this time (late 1940s or early 1950s) was owned by the WF&S.
Barriger was on an inspection trip for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
When the Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railway built west from Ft. Worth in 1880, it passed through an area that had once been an outpost for the Texas Rangers. The suppression of the Comanche Indians in this part of Texas in 1874 had opened up new areas for development, and settlers were flocking in. As the Handbook of Texas explains...
"By 1879 the beautiful valley housed a tent city with tent churches, schools, hotel, and general store, and was known as Ranger Camp Valley."
The tent city quickly relocated to be near the railroad, and the permanent town of Ranger was established.
Forty years later, the newly chartered Wichita Falls, Ranger & Fort Worth (WFR&FW) Railroad was completed between Breckenridge and Dublin, passing through Ranger and crossing the T&P at a location that became interlocked by Tower 122. The original order of the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) pertaining to this junction was issued on February 20, 1920 and called for an electric interlocker. For unknown reasons, the interlocker construction was delayed significantly and the crossing remained uncontrolled when the WFR&FW went into receivership in December, 1921. On April 30, 1925, T&P wrote a letter to RCT requesting a revision to RCT's interlocking order, asking that a cabin interlocker be authorized "in view of the financial condition" of the WFR&FW. Finally, on January 20, 1926, a cabin interlocker was established. This date appears to anticipate the end of the receivership of the WFR&FW which occurred two months later. Soon thereafter, the WFR&FW was acquired by the Wichita Falls & Southern (WF&S) Railroad. The WF&S was abandoned in 1954, including virtually all of the former WFR&FW route. On January 21, 1955, T&P wrote a letter to RCT explaining that
"As a result of the retirement of the Wichita Falls, Ranger & Fort Worth railway tracks at Ranger, Texas, Interlocking No. 122, which formerly protected the crossing"..."has been retired."
Today, the T&P route continues to host main line operations, owned by Union Pacific.
Tower 122 Location
Above: Google Earth image with annotations showing the Tower 122 crossing.
Below: A segment of the 1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of Ranger shows the crossing of the T&P (vertical)
and the WFR&FW (horizontal). Below right: Magnification shows a cabin interlocker at the crossing.