www.txrrhistory.com - Watchman Towers

In the days before automatic crossing gates at locations where streets or highways crossed a railroad track there would often be a Watchman Tower used by a railroad employee that would keep an eye out for an approaching train then descend to the road crossing to stop automobiles and protect the crossing.  Usually these watchman towers were located in cities at locations high in volume for both train and automobile traffic.  Although not true "interlocking" towers, these structures are unique railroad towers and deserve to be documented.  As we come across images of these structures in our search for interlocking towers, watchman tower photos will be added here.

 


This short watchman's shanty is on the International-Great Northern at Martin Street in San Antonio, Texas.
Scobey's warehouse (still there) is in the background. The tall switch stand is the track to the two stub passenger
depot tracks and Scobey's. The street in the foreground is Martin Street. This is the north yard throat for both
the passenger depot and the engine terminal (roundhouse). Note that the moveable window sashes are brown,
not white. This is an I-GN characteristic. Otherwise, I-GN watchman towers were all painted yellow with brown
trim. Photo by Henry O'Connor about 1952. From the collection of Tim O'Connor. Text by A. Tyrrell Kott.


This tall "shanty" was at the south throat of San Fernando Yard on the International-Great Northern in San
Antonio, Texas. The street in the foreground is one block north of Guadalupe St. In later years, a highway
viaduct went almost over the top of it and the roof level was just underneath the bridge floor in height. The
photo is looking south, and the south throat of San Fernando Yard is to the left. Actually, that should be a
southbound train, since the southbound main went down the west side of the yard, and the northbound main
went down the east side of the yard. The caboose sits on an industry siding.  Photo by Henry O'Connor about
1952. From the collection of Tim O'Connor. Text by A. Tyrrell Kott.


Last Revised: 9/14/2008 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.