Federal Railroad Administrator Joins Congresswoman Granger to Open Texas’ Busiest Rail Interlocking
FORT WORTH, Texas — Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo today joined Congresswoman Kay Granger in celebrating the re-opening of a 141-year-old railroad interlocking that will improve safety while relieving rail congestion following a multi-million dollar overhaul. The event showcased the type of rail infrastructure improvements that can be made with predictable, dedicated funding.
The newly rebuilt interlocking, known as Tower 55, represents a $101 million retrofit of one of the nation’s busiest rail interlockings that 110 freight and passenger trains pass through daily. The project received $34 million in federal funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
“Safety is our highest priority and these upgrades at Tower 55 will help further reduce the already declining number of grade crossing accidents in Texas,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This is a winning investment because it improves safety, increases efficiency, and strengthens the local and national economies.”
An interlocking system is an arrangement of signaling devices at track crossings or junctions that prevent conflicting movements of trains, and is designed to prevent the display of a signal for trains to proceed unless the route to be used is proven to be clear and safe.
This project eliminated three grade crossings and a critical chokepoint in the nation’s rail network. The improved traffic flow through this interlocking will enhance the flow of commerce, minimize wait times for trains and reduce the number of blocked crossings. Specifically, the elimination of the Peach Street grade crossing clears the way for children to safely get to and from school without crossing railroad tracks.
Texas is in the nation's top three of all major rail related economic rankings and it ranks first in wages generated by rail and total rail miles. The investments made to update this interlocking will increase Fort Worth’s ability to grow as a railroad city.
“Tower 55 exemplifies what is possible when industry and government work together,” said Administrator Szabo, “With predictable, dedicated funding for rail we will can strengthen our national economy with similar projects in the future and enhance safety.”
Tower 55, first constructed in 1873, accommodates rail traffic from the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts, as well as Mexico and Canada. The project is a cooperative venture between the rail industry and state and federal governments.
During his remarks, Administrator Szabo also highlighted the importance of the GROW AMERICA Act, the Obama Administration’s four-year $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill now before Congress.
The bill includes $19 billion for rail, and for the first time, provides states, communities and the industry with a predictable, dedicated funding source. The Act will invest $600 million in existing state corridors and provide an additional $6.4 billion for rail service improvements along existing, expanding and new passenger corridors over the next four years.
Learn more about The GROW AMERICA Act