www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 127 - Tenaha

Crossing of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway and the Houston East & West Texas Railroad

Tenaha was founded by the Houston East & West Texas (HE&WT) Railway in 1885 as a shipping point for east Texas agricultural products. Built at narrow gauge, the entire 191-mile railroad from Houston to Shreveport was converted to standard gauge on a single day, July 29, 1894. In 1899, Southern Pacific (SP) acquired the HE&WT and quickly merged its operations with other SP railroads in Texas. In 1903, the Texas & Gulf (T&G) Railroad was chartered to acquire three smaller east Texas railroads and make a connection to the Gulf, Beaumont & Kansas City Railroad, which had been leased that same year by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway. Soon thereafter, the T&G was acquired by GC&SF, which was attempting to create a continuous line from Longview to the Port of Beaumont as a shipping outlet for east Texas lumber products. In 1910, the T&G (under Santa Fe ownership) constructed a 21-mile segment between Gary and Center, completing the line between Longview and Beaumont, crossing the HE&WT at Tenaha. The crossing at Tenaha remained uncontrolled until May 22, 1928 when Tower 127 opened as an 8-function mechanical cabin interlocker. The Tenaha crossing remains active today, with tracks owned by Union Pacific (ex-SP) and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (ex-Santa Fe).

Recent Photos of Tower 127

Above: Tower 127 at the Tenaha crossing diamond, c.1999 Photo by Bill King.

Above: the original Tower 127 and its apparent replacement, photographed by Mark St. Aubin, November, 2006.

In an email posted to Railspot on November 10, 2006, Mark St. Aubin explains the two photos above...
"On my way to Texarkana yesterday I stopped by the BNSF/TIBR-UP crossing in Tenaha. The
UP has 3-color block signals in place turned away from the main line out of service. The
BNSF's 2-color signals have been replaced by newer 2-color signals which are in service.
The brick cabin style Tower 127 is being replaced by a metal cabin that the UP has put
onto the northwest corner of the diamond. The ATSF Tenaha station sign has been replaced
by a newer BNSF station sign."

Below: A close-up of the interlocker control box at Tenaha in 1994 shows two buttons. The left button reads "PUSH TO
The operating instructions are posted on the interior face of the control box door. (Tom Kline photo)

Below: The original interlocker cabin was removed as of 4/10/2007. (Mark St. Aubin photo)

Below: The new manual interlocker controls, photographed by Mark St. Aubin

Below: Tower 127 was the last interlocking in Texas to be guarded by semaphores. Mark St. Aubin provides these two
photos showing the semaphore signals at Tenaha c.1994-95.


Location Map - Tower 127

Satellite Image, Tenaha Crossing

Last Revised: 1/30/2010 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.