West Bridge Jct. Tower, last west of Mississippi closed
Date: 09-11-2017 - 10:36
The last move to be lined by a Tower Operator at West Bridge Jct. Tower in Avondale, Louisiana was a Westbound set of BNSF light engines with a CSX engine in the consist, that came from the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Yard in New Orleans, and went into the BNSF Avondale Yard in their "2B" yard track and passed the Tower at 3:51 AM on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Tower Operator Kupenda L. Broussard did the honors. At 5AM that morning, power was cut to the old 1936 pistol grip interlocking machine and a 12 day cutover to CTC and a rehabbed interlocking began. For 12 days, new signals were put in service, old ones were retired, new rail, ties, ballast, switch machines, switches, surfacing and aligning was done, 3 new diamonds were changed out, and the tail track out of the North Yard was extended down the road where the Tower Operators once drove their vehicles to get to and from the Tower. A Temporary AGYM was put on and several switch Tenders were brought in, and under the direction of a Signal Supervisor, kept trains and the work going for 12 days. Yesterday, Sept. 10, at 9 AM, the new CTC through West Bridge Jct. and new Control Point "L010" was put in service and is now controlled by the new Avondale Terminal Train Dispatcher (TTD) located at Spring Texas. This position handles from Live Oak Rd. to the West/North and handles both the Avondale and Livonia Sub. Main Lines to West Bridge Jct. and the Main Lines on the Huey P. Long Bridge to, BUT NOT INCLUDING, East Bridge Jct., on the East. His desginated radio channel is 040-040 (160.710 MHz, narrowband FM). Sean O'Leary is the day dispatcher on this job. It is the end of an era. This was the last active traditional Interlocking Tower west of the Mississipi, but not by much! It was built and put into operation in 1936 by the New Orleans Public Belt RR. and staffed by Texas and Pacific RR Towermen, now part of the UP. It has been reported that the Signal Dept. has already removed the old Model Board and Interlocking Machine and these will be put on display at the Smitsonian. The Tower is to be torn down very soon. As part of this project, CTC was installed on the Avondale and Livonia Sub. Mainlines between Live Oak Rd. and West Bridge Jct. The BNSF Lafayette Sub. Mainline remains "Restricted Limits" territory between these points.