Texas Railroad History - Tower 171 - Acme
A Crossing of the Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railway and the Fort Worth & Denver Railway
Prior to 1930, the Quanah, Acme and Pacific (QA&P) Railway had expanded west as far as Floydada on the Llano Estacado, but its eastern terminus remained at Acme, the company town where the QA&P's predecessor had gotten its start in 1903. That predecessor, the Acme, Red River & Northern (ARR&N), had provided switching services at two large gypsum plants for the Fort Worth and Denver (FW&D) Railway, whose main line passed adjacent to one of the plants. The ARR&N was re-chartered in 1909 as the QA&P to begin the westward expansion to Floydada. The QA&P also considered building its own line into Quanah, six miles east of Acme. Instead of doing so, a prior agreement with the FW&D was amended wherein the QA&P could continue to use the FW&D main line into Quanah to reach the St. Louis - San Francisco ("Frisco") interchange at Tower 27 and also access the QA&P's new depot downtown. The Frisco owned the QA&P and had long been its primary connection to the east via its line north from Quanah to Oklahoma City.
When a dispute arose with the FW&D in 1929, the QA&P finally did build its own line between Acme and Quanah. The new line was parallel to and north of the FW&D main. This, however, put the QA&P north of the FW&D at Acme while the QA&P line west to Floydada was on the south side of the FW&D. This necessitated an interlocker for the QA&P to cross the FW&D main line at Acme. Sometime around 1931, the Tower 171 interlocking was established to control this crossing. Given the construction date and the nature of the traffic on the two lines, it is likely that this was a cabin interlocker, not a manned tower.
Both the Frisco and the FW&D were eventually absorbed into the Burlington system (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe, BNSF), and the QA&P was abandoned beginning in 1981-82 with the removal of the Paducah to Floydada segment. The rail line between Acme and Quanah was retained to provide a long double track for the FW&D, but the remaining QA&P tracks west of Tower 171 (between Acme and Paducah) were removed in 1987, eliminating the need for the interlocker.
Undated photo of the railroad station at Acme (Carlos Machiste family collection)
Facing east, with the US287 overpass in the background, the interlocker cabinet at the site of
Tower 171 says 'Acme' on the sign. Under the overpass, the former QA&P main line is visible
in the center of the photo angling into the BNSF (ex-FW&D) line as it comes west toward the
camera. Before the QA&P was abandoned in the 1980s, the crossing diamond was near where
the cabinet now sits, crossing the FW&D at an acute angle.
(Photo c.1998 by Jim King)
Tower 171 Location Map