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US Tower - US

Manual Tower

Network Diagram - B&O

US Tower, looking northeast toward Cleveland Ave.     Photo by Donald A. Kaiser, December 31, 1954.

        US Tower was located .3 mile east of Columbus Union Station. The Cleveland Ave. tower was .2 mile further east.  According to the Employees Timetable, Neilston Tower was .1 mile to the west of US Tower, but in actuality it was located just across the B&O/PRR main from US Tower. US Tower, staffed by an B&O operator, was the western boundary of the B&O/PRR Columbus-Newark Division.

        US Tower was responsible for PRR, B&O and C&O passenger trains through Columbus Union Station.  It was a manual tower with a switch tender located between High and Front Streets on the west side of CUS and another at Fourth Street on the east side of CUS.  At some point in time there was also a switch tender at Third Street.  US Tower also controlled the entrance to the B&O freight house and the PRR produce yard.

        In addition to the operator, US Tower had a train director to orchestrate the CUS passenger train traffic. In the 1950's there were 42 passenger and mail trains through Columbus.  Seventy percent were under the direction of the train director.  During WW II there were many more passenger trains as well as unscheduled troop trains making US Tower a very busy place.

        After a 1949 accident involving a misaligned switch, US Tower would  suffer the indignity of having aircraft control tower style windows installed - see photos below.  In 1959 a similar accident (click here) again showed the need to modernize the CUS plant.  By then it was too late as the passenger business was close to the end, and CUS was never upgraded with an interlocking plant.

US Tower is in the left background.  The fourth Street switch tender's shack is in the center.  The highway bridge crossing over the top of US Tower is an early part of I-670.  To the left of US Tower in the far background can be seen the N&W bridge over the B&O/PRR main line that led to the N&W freight house.   Photo by Galen Gonser, May 8, 1971.

The camera is looking northwest. The Smith Brothers Hardware Co. is in the background.  Photo by Galen Gonser, May 8, 1971.

The Camera is looking south toward US Tower.  The small building with the speaker cone on the roof  is the switch tender's shed for the Neilston Tower.  Neilston tower is just to the left off camera.  Photo by Galen Gonser, July 1977