www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 157 - Blessing

Crossing of the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio and the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico railroads

Grateful for the New York, Texas & Mexican Railway choosing to build through his land in 1903, J. E. Pierce settled for "Blessing" as the name of the new town he was promoting when the Post Office rejected his first choice of "Thank God". The railroad, owned by Southern Pacific (SP) and merged into SP's Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio (GH&SA) property in 1905, was building from Bay City to Trespalacios (soon renamed Palacios), a town on Tres Palacios Bay that had paid a bonus to SP to attract the railroad. In 1905, Blessing received additional railroad service when the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico (SLB&M) Railway crossed the GH&SA there when constructing a major rail line between Bay City and Refugio. Despite service from two railroads, Blessing never grew much beyond a few hundred residents.

In 1929, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RCT) approved Tower 157 as a mechanical cabin interlocker with power-operated distant signals to control the rail crossing in Blessing. The cabin was in the northwest corner of the crossing diamond and its interlocker had a 12-lever control frame, with four levers controlling signals, four controlling derails, and two controlling facing point locks. Modifications to the interlocker were authorized by RCT on July 18, 1941 and August 10, 1948. SP's branch line to Palacios was abandoned in 1985, eliminating the need for the interlocker. The ex-SLB&M line continues to function as a major rail artery between Houston and the lower Rio Grande Valley, currently operated by Union Pacific.

Site Photos, Blessing, Texas (Jim King, December 2006)

Above: Where County Road 482 crosses the ex-SLB&M line at grade, the former SP line between Bay City and Palacios
also crossed the SLB&M, a few yards east (right) of the roadway. The interlocker cabin would have been located very close
to the small metal pole that is visible in the photo well to the right of the county road crossing (not the signal box closer to the crossing). 
In just over twenty years since abandonment, the path of the former SP line in this area has been mostly obliterated,
although a few clues remain visible.
Below: A closer look at the small metal pole east of the road crossing reveals it to be a remnant of a control box typically
associated with a cabin interlocker. Since the interlocker was in the northwest quadrant of the crossing, the SP tracks
would have crossed just beyond the pole.

 

Site Map, Blessing

Satellite Image, Blessing

 
Last Revised: 4/13/2007 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.