A Crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway and the Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway
Stratford became a shipping point on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific ("Rock Island") railroad in 1900 as that railroad built through the northern part of the Texas Panhandle. The flat terrain allowed Rock Island to build one of the longest "tangent" (straight) track segments in the U.S., 72 miles from Guymon, Oklahoma to Dalhart, Texas as part of its "Golden State Route" from Chicago to Los Angeles. Today, the line is owned by Union Pacific and continues to see significant traffic. In 1931, the Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway (P&SF) built a 100-mile rail line from Amarillo to Boise City, one of the last lengthy rail segments constructed in Texas. The P&SF crossed the Rock Island at Stratford on a NW/SE heading, forming an X-pattern with the Rock Island which ran NE/SW. The Santa Fe line is now operated by successor Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Tower 172 was either a manual cabin interlocker or possibly an electric interlocker with controls remoted to a nearby depot.
Above: This Google Street View looks northwest along the Santa Fe line toward the former Rock Island line crossing. A
train appears to be approaching in the distance.
Below: Another street view looks southwest along the Rock Island line toward the crossing diamond.
Above: This photo of Stratford from the John W Barriger III National Railroad Library shows the Rock Island depot and the Main St. crossing. The
view is to the northeast from the rear platform of Barriger's business car as his train was headed southwest toward Dalhart. Barriger's train is nearing,
or perhaps already crossing, the Tower 172 diamond. The photo likely dates from the late 30's or early 40's.
Below: At lower left, the Tower 172 junction forms an X-pattern a short distance west of a similarly shaped crossing of US highways 287 and 54. A
connector track is visible in the west quadrant of the diamond. Note that the grain silos in Barriger's photo are visible adjacent to the intersection of
US 54 and S Pearl St.