last manned interlocking tower in Texas was closed on February 10,
2004. Although plans for the preservation of Tower 17 had been
formulated several years earlier, the project entered it's most
active phase in the fall of 2003. Rosenberg Railroad
Museum has been working tirelessly with the railroads and the
community to ensure the preservation of this historic structure.
a great history of Tower 17 (among others) on the
Interlocking website, so we won't revisit that here.
"Saving Tower 17" really began in earnest weeks before the tower
closed. RRM personnel
interviewed Union Pacific employees on each shift to document the
jobs that were being eliminated. Extensive photographs were
taken of the inside before any items were removed. (Click
on each image for a larger version with text inserts.)
with moving companies and a review of the bids received resulted in
Cherry House Moving being awarded the contract. After a survey
of the possible routes to move Tower 17 to RRM property, and
discussions with the various utility companies, it was concluded
that the building could not be relocated intact. Cherry
proposed to move the 2nd floor, with the interlocking machine in
place, intact from floor to ceiling and then re-assemble the first
floor underneath it.
was much to do before hand. After the tower closed, Union
Pacific had to disconnect the utilities, and remove office supplies
and some furniture that they wished to keep. RRM had to move
everything else except the interlocker from both the first and
second floors of the tower prior to the move. Every artifact
was labeled and it's position in the building when the tower closed
was noted. This took the rest of February and all of March to
the meantime, a concrete foundation was poured at the RRM site for
Tower 17 to sit on. Cherry had a busy schedule the first few
weeks of April, so it fell to the last week to begin the actual
moving process. Click HERE to continue on to the next page.