Texas Railroad History - Tower 125 - Mauriceville

A Crossing of the Texarkana & Ft. Smith Railroad and the Orange & Northwestern Railroad

Tower 125 was established as a cabin interlocker in 1929 in Mauriceville at a crossing of the Texarkana & Ft. Smith Railroad (T&FS) and the Orange & Northwestern Railroad (O&NW). The crossing had existed since 1902 when the O&NW built through the area four years after the T&FS had arrived. The O&NW line was chartered to connect southeast Texas forests with lumber mills in the Orange area. The line extended northwest out of Orange, eventually reaching Newton in 1906.  The T&FS was under the control of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad which was led by Arthur Stilwell.  In 1896, Stilwell decided to use the T&FS charter to construct a line to the Gulf of Mexico to connect with his north/south line through Arkansas and Louisiana. He founded the city of Port Arthur to be the southern terminus of his railroad empire. When Tower 125 was established, the O&NW was controlled by the Missouri Pacific (MP) system (into which it was merged in 1956) and the T&FS was controlled by the Kansas City Southern (KCS) system (into which it was merged in 1943). A combination tower and depot was eventually constructed at Mauriceville and the cabin interlocker controls were moved inside.

In 1963, MP abandoned the former O&NW line north of Mauriceville. Four years later, the newly chartered Sabine River & Northern (SR&N) railroad began operations on a new line constructed on the abandoned O&NW right-of-way from Mauriceville to Bessmay; this line remains in SR&N service today. The former T&FS line continues to be used as a main north/south line of the KCS system.

Historic Photos - Tower 125

Above: This image is cropped  from a photo taken by John W Barriger III from the rear platform of his business car as his train proceeded southwest to Beaumont in the late 1930's or early 1940's. The photo is GCL049 in the John W Barriger III National Railroad Library. Barriger's trip was for purposes of touring the Gulf Coast Lines, various south Texas railroads that had come under the control of Missouri Pacific. However, the photo was taken while traveling southwest on Kansas City Southern tracks. Trackage rights on the KCS between Beaumont and DeQuincy, Louisiana were a critical component of MP's route between Houston and New Orleans that competed with SP's Sunset Route. This view is to the northeast with the O&NW crossing at right angles next to the combination depot/tower structure in the north quadrant of the crossing.

Below: Since the "125" does not appear on the building in this undated photo (from the collection of Mark St. Aubin), it may have be taken before the Tower 125 interlocking was commissioned at the Mauriceville crossing.

Below: another image of Tower 125 provided by Mark St. Aubin

Below: By 1960, the combined depot/tower structure had undergone a few cosmetic changes
(Mark Nerren collection).

Below: Google Street View shows this image of the crossing looking southeast. The depot/tower structure was located between the road and the tracks.

Location Map - Tower 125

Satellite Image - Tower 125 Location

Mauriceville exhibits an X-pattern with the KCS main line crossing upper right to lower left, and the SR&N crossing upper left to lower right. The image is aligned to the north and shows an active connecting track in the east quadrant, and a dormant connecting track in the south quadrant. The SR&N has another connection to the KCS that begins further south and joins the KCS further east.

Last Revised: 1/30/2019 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.