Texas Railroad History - Tower 193 - Sinton

A Crossing of the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway and the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad

Historic Photo - Tower 193 Crossing

Above: John W. Barriger III took this photo from the rear platform of his business car as he passed through Sinton in the late 30's or early 40's. The image comes from photo 063 of the Gulf Coast Lines set in the John W Barriger III National Railroad Library. It appears the photo was taken prior to 1946 since there is no visible interlocking plant. The view is to the northeast along the StLB&M line. The SA&AP crossing is protected by a manual gate.

Sinton was founded in 1886, shortly after the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) railroad passed through the area as it constructed a line from San Antonio to Aransas Pass. Two decades later, the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico (StLB&M) Railway was constructed from Houston to Brownsville, crossing the SA&AP in Sinton. Population growth was slow, but by 1910, the town had a bank, a hotel, a newspaper and several businesses. Local commerce was mostly agricultural until 1935 when oil was discovered in the area. With the oil boom on, the increase in rail traffic over this crossing justified an automatic interlocker which was installed in 1946. The interlocker was formally named Tower 193 by the Railroad Commission of Texas, but there may not have been any structure at all, certainly not a manned structure. Most likely it was just a cabin to house the interlocking electronics.

The SA&AP became integrated into the Southern Pacific (SP) system while the StLB&M came under Missouri Pacific (MP) ownership. Both MP and SP were subsequently merged into the Union Pacific system which now owns both of the lines through Sinton. The ex-StLB&M line continues to be the major route between the Rio Grande Valley and points north. The ex-SA&AP line is still in use to the southeast to access petrochemical industries along the north side of Corpus Christi Bay. To the northwest, the SA&AP line was abandoned in stages until the final abandonment from Beeville to Sinton in 1995.

Modern Photo - Tower 193 (Carl Codney photos)

Above: This is the view c.2001 along the SA&AP line looking northwest. The photo shows that the tracks remained in place across the diamond after the final abandonment in 1995. This allowed access to the "old SP yard" which was still in use. Note also that a connecting track is visible at left beyond the StLB&M main track to allow access to this yard from the StLB&M. Below: This view along the StLB&M line looking southwest shows two connecting tracks in the distance. The one at right is the west connector visible in the above photo. The one to the left is the connector in the south quadrant that remains in use today (see satellite image further below).

Satellite Image, Tower 193 Crossing

Above: Looking north, the former StLB&M runs diagonally across the image from lower left (southwest) to upper right (northeast). The ex-SA&AP crosses diagonally from upper left (northwest) to lower right (southeast). The diamond no longer exists as only the tracks to the southeast remain in use on the former SA&AP, now accessed solely by the connector visible in the south quadrant. Remnants of the "old SP yard" are visible at upper left and the path of the former connector can be seen on the west side of the diamond.

Last Revised: 4/7/2014 - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.