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Towers once served as the operational hub at many railroad locations, and kept the railroad moving.  Without them, railroads would have gotten clogged up in short order if the train crews had to go out and align all of the switches for a particular move.  As a youngster, I was always amazed at the tower operators who could keep one ear on the chatter coming over the speakers and keep a conversation going with me at the same time.  In Baltimore, we had a bunch of towers, mostly on the B&O.  Having visited such cities as Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis/St Paul, I can only imagine what it was like during the heyday of railroading back in the 40's to see everything being controlled from towers.  Today there are precious few of them still around and operating.  September 17th of 2007 saw the closing of the last B&O tower (HO) on the mainline west from Baltimore and DC. 

Fortunately, there are active railfans all over the place willing to commit there time and resources to saving them, as witnessed by the folks in Rosenburg TX saving Tower 17, and in Terre Haute IN saving Haley Tower.

Anything with a blue link will take you to a page that is generally a railfan guide of the area the tower is in.

There are many, many sites for towers, and (for instance) the historical society in Texas has done an excellent job of preserving their heritage (http://www.towers.txrrhistory.com/index.htm).


Devon -- ex New Haven SS 71 Tower

The tower was in continuous use from 1917 to 1991.  It originally had a US&S F style machine, which was then replaced with WABCO NX machine.  The NX machine is now in a museum.  The tower is currently used by the signal department.  A big thanks to Dale Martin for the info and the pictures... he worked at the tower for 20 years! 




Newark  -- ex PRR Davis Tower




Terre Haute --
Haley Tower




Baltimore -- ex PRR BAY Tower


Baltimore -- ex PRR B&P Tower 

It used to be at the south end of the Penn Station complex.  This tower was disassembled and moved to Bowie MD where they wanted to set it up, but the plans never went thru, so the town of Sykesville MD took possession of it, built a new base for it, and used what salvageable material there was to reconstruct it as closely to the original as they could.  It houses the visitors center and post office.

  Picture by Steve Martin        

Baltimore -- ex PRR Gwynn Tower 

On the Northeast Corridor and so named for the Gwynn Falls that runs under the Pennsy right-of-way.... the other track below is the CSX (ex Western Maryland) track that goes up to Hanover PA.

Baltimore -- ex B&O CX Tower

      Pictures by Steve Martin

Baltimore -- ex B&O HB Tower

  Picture by Steve Martin

Baltimore -- ex B&O HX Tower


Baltimore -- ex B&O NA Tower

    Pictures by Steve Martin

Brunswick -- ex B&O WB Tower


Hyattsville -- JD Tower - AKA, Alexandria Junction, location of former B&O tower

Perryville -- ex PRR Perry Tower



Detroit - Delray Tower


Kalamazoo  -- BO Tower




Albert Lea -- UP Albert Lea Tower



                                                                          NEW JERSEY                                                                     

-- Dock Tower

An ex PRR tower on the Northeast Corridor controlling the interlocking and bridges north of the Newark station.  The left picture is by Rich W. of Newark.




Berea -- BE Tower


Deshler  - CSX's (ex B&O) Deshler Tower


Fostoria  -- CSX's "F" Tower


Toledo -- Ann Arbor Tower




Altoona -- ex PRR ALTO Tower


Columbia -- ex PRR COLA Tower


Harrisburg -- ex PRR Harris Tower


Philadelphia - ex PRR ZOO Tower 


Scranton  -- Bridge 60 Tower


York -- ex PRR York Tower



Houston --  Tower 68 - Still standing, but inactive (It's part of the Englewood Yard page).


Houston --  Tower 85 - The tower's gone, but it's an interesting spot regardless.

Houston --  Tower 87 - The tower's gone, but it's a world-class railfan spot.

Rosenberg -- Tower 17 - The tower is now the focal point of the Rosenberg RR museum.


Tyler -- Tower 183 - Tower's gone here too, but we now have a railfan guide for Tyler.



Doswell  -- ex RF&P HN Tower


Richmond  -- ex RF&P GN Tower


Roanoke -- ex N&W JK Tower



                                                                    WASHINGTON DC                                                                 

Union Station  -- "K" Tower


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NEW 2/21/2007
Last modified: 14-Apr-2012