www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 212 - Lockney

A Crossing of the Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway and the Fort Worth & Denver South Plains Railway

The south plains community of Lockney was founded in 1889 by citizens from the community of Della Plain searching for a better source of water, and by 1908, the town had grown sufficiently to incorporate. A year later, the Llano Estacado Railway was organized by the citizens of the nearby town of Floydada to build a railroad from Floydada to Plainview. Grading operations for this line passed through Lockney in 1910. That same year, the Pecos & Northern Texas (P&NT) Railway acquired the assets of the Llano Estacado Railway and completed construction of the line to Plainview. This acquisition was part of a strategy by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railway to expand its rail lines in the Texas south plains region. The P&NT had been organized by well-known railroad attorney James J. Hagerman in 1898 to build from Amarillo to the Pecos River, but in 1901, control of the P&NT had been acquired by the Panhandle & Santa Fe (P&SF) Railway, a subsidiary of the AT&SF. The P&SF used the charter of the P&NT to build numerous lines in the south plains including the Plainview - Floydada line. In 1914, the P&NT's rail lines were leased to the P&SF, which continued to operate them under lease until 1948 when they were all formally merged into the Santa Fe.

In an attempt to capture a larger share of Texas Panhandle cotton shipping which was dominated by the Santa Fe, the Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railroad, a subsidiary of the Fort Worth & Denver (FW&D) Railroad, began constructing rail lines in 1928 to penetrate the Texas south plains. This included construction of a line from Lubbock to Silverton which crossed the P&SF at Lockney. This line provided the FW&D with a route between Lubbock and Fort Worth via connections to other FW&D rail lines at Sterley and Estelline.

The P&SF and FW&D lines through Lockney remained active for many decades, and in the 1960s, one of the last numbered interlocking assignments, Tower 212, was given to the crossing at Lockney. The necessity for automating the interlocking was driven by the significant volumes of traffic carried by these lines despite the fact that they were operated primarily as branches. At Floydada, the Santa Fe connected with the Frisco-owned Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad at what became an important transcontinental rail link for traffic exchanges between the Frisco and the Santa Fe.

In the early 1970s, the Frisco and the Santa Fe agreed to move their transcontinental connection to Avard, Oklahoma, greatly reducing the traffic through the Floydada connection and Lockney. In 1989, the FW&D abandoned its south plains lines east of Plainview, retaining only a branch line from Plainview to Dimmitt. A year later, Santa Fe sold the Plainview - Floydada line to short-line operator American Railway Corporation, but it has since been abandoned. Today, trains no longer pass through Lockney.

Aerial Photo - Tower 212 Site

The rights-of-way of the P&SF and FW&D rail lines through Lockney are easily visible in
this aerial photo imagery provided by the US Geologic Survey.  The imagery shows a single
connection existed between the two lines on the north side of the interlocker.  The P&SF
line went to Plainview (northwest) and Floydada (southeast) while the FW&D line went to
Sterley and Silverton (northeast) and Lubbock (southwest).  Both lines are now abandoned.

Last Revised: 09/15/2005 - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.