Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Yard Interlocker
Tower 190 was an interlocker built by Santa Fe in the early 1940s to support yard movements associated with support tracks on the northeast side of Canadian, a town near the Oklahoma border in the eastern Texas panhandle. These movements required crossing the busy Santa Fe transcontinental main line. The Canadian yard included a turntable and a roundhouse, but for unidentified reasons, a major support track was built on the opposite side of town from the roundhouse. Increases in automation on the main line over the years had allowed traffic and train speeds to increase, and thereby created a safety issue whenever local yard traffic needed to cross the main. The interlocker addressed these safety issues. Although Santa Fe was the only railroad involved, precedent established in 1927 by the Railroad Commission (for Tower 135 at Canyon yards) required all interlockers to be authorized, even if they served only a single railroad. Today, the main line is operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and the support tracks are no longer in place.
Photo by Jim King, 30 August 2008
Above: Facing northeast, the support track veered off to the right beyond the end of these buildings. The controls for the interlocker were probably housed in the depot or yard office. The current BNSF building is of newer vintage.
Map of Canadian
Above: The support track (blue) was on the northeast side of town while the roundhouse and turntable were located on the southwest side. The controls for Tower 190 were most likely located in the depot or a yard office; there was not a separate tower structure. The Santa Fe passenger depot was located at the foot of Main St. A Harvey House was located next door from 1910 to 1939. The roundhouse was severely damaged in a locomotive boiler explosion in 1951. The double track main line (green) passes through downtown Canadian, crossing the Canadian River on twin bridges north of town.