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Interlocking Towers

Interlocking tower in downtown Atlanta

Train movements through busy rail junctions were often controlled by operators housed in interlocking towers. The name refers to the interlocking nature of switches, locks, and signals. Typically, the opening or closing of the switch on one track would affect another switch, lock, or signal somewhere else at the junction.

The tower above, built in 1905, stood near Mitchell and Nelson streets in downtown Atlanta until 2018 when it was demolished. It was one of two such towers at the Atlanta Terminal Station complex, most of which was torn down in the early 1970s.

The Central of Georgia tower at Fort Valley (above) is unusual in that it had a restaurant on the first floor. A new interlocking plant was installed in Fort Valley in 1925. (More photos).

A modern-era interlocking tower is still standing in Dalton. On the right is the old Western & Atlantic depot. (Photo by Kenneth Huffines).

This tower was at Boulogne, FL, a mile or so south of the St. Marys River and the Georgia line. The Atlantic Coast Line passenger train is headed for Jacksonville. (From: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory).

More information:

1973 photo of demolished East Point tower by Jay Thomson at Flickr.

Railroad Interlocking Towers photography group at Flickr. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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