Guardians of the Iron Rails

Photo by: R. Craig

Interlocking towers have stood guard over railroad traffic for nearly a 150 years; However, today's modern railroading no longer requires their presence. The need for elevated towers manned by operators who scan the horizon for on-coming trains is nearly non-existant. Electrical advancements and wireless communication have facilitated the development of sophisticated interlocking plant systems that in today's world provide a higher level of safety and security. This section salutes those iconic sentinels of the past that quietly stood guard over North American rails.

AC Tower in Marion, Ohio

The above 1964 scene is reminiscent of a time when as many as 60 passenger and freight trains a day rolled through Marion, Ohio en-route to destinations across the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Built on stilts, the three-story AC Tower was at the center of activity and provided watchful protection for trains rattling over the double- diamond tracks. The Marion station platforms across from AC Tower were an ideal location for railroad-enthusiast to watch and photograph trains during both steam and diesel eras. An ideal location of yesterday's railfanning, Chesapeake & Ohio, Erie Lackawanna, New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads could be counted on to provide plenty of action. During the post-merger era, the central players are rail giants CSX and Norfolk Southern.

On the afternoon of August 15, a Chicago-bound Erie Lackawanna freight passes the 1902-built AC Tower.

Uploaded: 1 January 2021

Back to Main Menuu