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CW Tower

Interlocking Tower

Network Diagram - N&W - PRR-2

Norfolk & Western's CW Tower looking north. The tracks in the foreground are curving into the Joyce Avenue yard off camera to the right. The PRR J1 is coming out of Grogan Yard curving to the south.

Photo by Edward Lawson, August, 1953, courtesy of Doug Lanum. Edward lawson was the Columbus City smoke abatement officer. He was interested in the smoking J1 behind the tower.

photo-1 photo-2

Click on photos to enlarge

The photographers caught just a corner of CW Tower. The camera is looking toward the northwest and west. N&W twelve wheeler #453, used to switch the N&W freight house, is heading into Joyce Ave yard.  On the right 4-8-2 #135 with rods down seems to be posing for its photo.

The photo on the left is by Don Etter, c1954 from the Jay Williams Collection. The photo on the right is by Donald A. Kaiser, 1954.

        CW tower was an N&W staffed interlocking tower located just west of the N&W roundhouse on the north side of Columbus.  According to Glenn Fisher, of Myerstown, PA, it was built in 1950 with 38 signals and 31 switches.  It was the second largest interlocking tower on the N&W after Randolph Street in Roanoke (also built in 1950). It was also the newest interlocking tower in the Columbus area. The modern electro-pneumatic interlocking system replaced the old CW tower located at Fifth Avenue.

        CW tower controlled both the entrance to the PRR’s Grogan yard to the west and the entrance to the N&W’s Joyce Ave Yard to the east.  In addition it controlled the crossing of the PRR’s Cleveland Akron & Columbus branch and the double track connection between Grogan Yard and the PRR’s Pennor Yard.  Pennor Yard was adjacent to the Joyce Ave. Yard. 

      The N&W and PRR shared the track south of CW tower that led to the PRR's St. Clair Avenue locomotive servicing facilities and on to Neilston Tower and the Columbus Union Station.

        N&W coal destined for the Sandusky coal docks would enter Pennor Yard from the south where a PRR locomotive would transfer it to Grogan Yard and on to Sandusky.  If the coal was destined for the PRR Bradford branch to head west it would enter the Joyce Ave Yard and transfer to the PRR.  In the 1950s the PRR leased four tracks in the Joyce Ave Yard to facilitate that transfer.

        The CA&C headed north between Grogan Yard on the west and the Joyce Ave and Pennor yards on the east. CW tower coordinated train movements through this busy intersection of tracks .Click here for a drawing of the area.