Flatonia RailPark -- Flatonia TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 29° 41.220 W 097° 06.530
14R E 682985 N 3285598
A historic interlocking switch tower has been stabilized and preserved in downtown Flatonia TX, part of the Flatonia RailPark
Waymark Code: WMXCFW
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 12/26/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 2

Flatonia got its start as a railroad town in 1870 with the arrival of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio (GH&SA) Railroad (later bought by the Southern Pacific). In 1887, the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railway built north from Yoakum (an important cattle shipping point) to Waco, crossing the GH&SA RRR at Flatonia.

By 1900 this junction was busy enough that a new manned interlocking switch tower was needed to keep trains from having to stop and throw the switch manually. This tower was built in 1902 west of North Mill Street and 1/2 bock south of what would become the US 90/OST. The tower was manned until 1996, when it was replaced by a remotely-operated electric interlocking switch. The historic switch tower was dismantled and reassembled 5 blocks west as a centerpiece of the Flatonia railroad park.

Travelers along the OST could have waved at the tower operator as they rumbled by, or perhaps they might have stopped in to see how the machinery worked.

From the Texas Railroad history website: (visit link)

"www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 3 - Flatonia
A crossing of the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railway and the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio (GH&SA) Railway

Prior to the Civil War, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado (BBB&C) Railroad built westward from Harrisburg to Alleyton, a town on the east bank of the Colorado River near Columbus. After the war, the BBB&C bridged the river but proceeded no further due to financial problems. In 1868, the BBB&C was sold to various investors to pay off construction debts and other judgments. In 1870, it was re-sold and reorganized again by Thomas Peirce who amended the charter and renamed it the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio (GH&SA) Railway. In 1873, the GH&SA resumed construction westward toward San Antonio, passing near an existing settlement known as Flatonia. The citizens of Flatonia moved their houses and businesses one mile northwest to the GH&SA tracks and the new town was incorporated in 1875.

In 1887, the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railway began a northerly expansion out of its traditional south Texas territory by building a line north from Yoakum with a destination of Waco. The line crossed the GH&SA at Flatonia, which became one of the earliest and busiest rail crossings in Texas. As a rural location which would otherwise not justify a large number of stopping trains, Flatonia was an ideal candidate for a manned interlocking tower due to the high volume of rail traffic. As a result, one of the earliest interlocking control towers, Tower 3, was established at Flatonia in October, 1902.

Both railroads became part of the Southern Pacific system, and today, both lines continue to see significant traffic under the ownership of Union Pacific. Tower 3 was decommissioned in 1996 and relocated a few tenths of a mile east to a trackside location in downtown Flatonia. Restoration activities began soon thereafter and today, the tower is a historic showcase for the town.

October 2002 saw the opening of the Flatonia Rail Park Photo Pavilion at the original location of Tower 3. The new platform, which is handicap accessible, is located on land owned by the City of Flatonia and is diagonally across the diamond from the site of Tower 3. This is a very good place to watch and photograph trains. The Photo Pavilion is very close to the UP's Sunset route (which runs east and west). The other rail lines adjacent to the pavilion are: The Dalsa Cutoff in from the north and the Port Lavaca Branch, which runs south via Victoria and on to Brownsville and Laredo. The Photo Pavilion is open to those who wish to watch trains 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The Pavilion is covered, and is 3'-6" above natural grade. There are over 25 trains in a 24 hour time. All rail lines are in the vicinity are owned by Union Pacific.

Other parts of the Flatonia Railpark include:

The relocated and restored Tower 3. Tower 3 is available for tour by appointment only by contacting the Flatonia Chamber of Commerce at 361-865-3920.

The GH&SA Depot (Passenger Station) now houses the Flatonia Police Dept and is within eyesight of the new location for Tower 3.

The old SA&AP passenger depot, built in 1890, is currently used by the Union Pacific as a storage facility and is adjacent to the original location of Tower 3.

The SA&AP freight depot, located on Hwy. 95 north of the UP main line, is privately owned. This structure is not a part of The Flatonia Railpark, however, this historic structure may be viewed from the exterior."
Museum Website: [Web Link]

Train ride provided?: no

Actual railroad cars or locomotives on display?: yes

Admission fee?: 0

Street Address: East South Main Street and South Penn Street

Gift shop?: no

Café/restaurant?: no

Theater?: no

Other features?: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
1. Visit the museum. 2. Provide your thoughts/experience of this visit. 3. Provide a photograph of your visit to this museum. A GPSr photo is NOT required.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Railroad Museums
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
WalksfarTX visited Flatonia RailPark -- Flatonia TX 06/03/2018 WalksfarTX visited it
Benchmark Blasterz visited Flatonia RailPark -- Flatonia TX 12/30/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it

View all visits/logs