SPRR Caboose 4743 -- Flatonia TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 29° 41.221 W 097° 06.537
14R E 682974 N 3285601
Quick Description: Southern Pacific Railroad Caboose 4743 on static display in the Flatonia RailPark at Flatonia TX
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 12/26/2017 4:17:29 PM
Waymark Code: WMXCG4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member PTCrazy
Views: 0

Long Description:
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.

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."

The caboose was donated to the city of Flatonia by the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1980s.

The only mention of this caboose we could find was on Train Orders.com message board: (visit link)

"Re: flatonia 2010 1
Author: espeeboy

This would of course be the stuffed and mounted SP bay window caboose in Flatonia, TX?

Date: 02/09/11 05:58
Re: flatonia 2010 1
Author: antlorch

Thats the one,there is also one in Hondo also though it needs repair and paint.."
Current Use:
part of the Flatonia RailPark


Type Of Caboose: Bay Window

Visit Instructions:
Please visit the location of the caboose, brake van, or guard van, provide visit details through photo or narrative.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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WalksfarTX visited SPRR Caboose 4743 -- Flatonia TX 6/3/2018 WalksfarTX visited it
Benchmark Blasterz visited SPRR Caboose 4743 -- Flatonia TX 9/2/2012 Benchmark Blasterz visited it

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