Railroads of Madison County - The Junction
The Junction (Delco Tower)
Since the Indianapolis & Bellefontaine (CCC&StL) had constructed their main line through Anderson first in 1851, it fell to the Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad Co (PRR) to guard the crossing and man the tower when they crossed the Bellefontaine in 1855. By 1880, a number of manufacturers had located at the Junction because of the rail service available at the crossing of the two railroads and the importance of the Junction tower was growing.
With the creation of the Anderson, Lebanon & St. Louis (Central Indiana Railway) in 1871 and the Anderson Belt Railroad in 1892, all roads seemed to cross at the Junction providing abundant work for the tower in controlling the crossing of three railroads and movements into and from the Belt Railroad. This, then, led to the construction of what was to become Delco Tower about 1895. Delco Tower was to house a US&S type S-8 electro-mechanical interlocking machine with a 40 mechanical lever frame and a 16 electrical lever frame.
Automobile and glass plants sprang up near the Junction as the 1900's began and the Remy brothers had arrived by train to began experimenting with magnetos and other automotive electrical systems. This would become Remy Electric which would later be sold to the newly formed General Motors and as factories were built through WWI, more tracks were laid to service the growing industry in the area. The Anderson Belt Railroad had become a part of the Pennsy by 1916 and by 1928 Remy Electric was joined with Dayton Electric Laboratories (Delco) of Dayton Ohio and the manufacturing of Coils, Starting Motors and Generators increased the traffic through and around the Junction. The Junction tower was renamed Delco Tower, better reflecting the movements to the numerous GM plants in the area.
Along and south of Delco Tower,there were four tracks, the Wye, the scale and 3 tracks down along side of the Philadelphia Quartz plant (now PQ Corporation). At one time, there were 6 diamonds controlled by Delco Tower. The Pennsy main crossed the Big Four side track and number 2 Main and the Central Indiana and then the Pennsy siding crossed the side track, the number 2 main and the CI. Pennsy's siding had no assigned direction and could hold about 57 cars between Delco Tower and Gridley Tower to the East. The Union Traction Co. (later to be the Indiana Railroad) as well as the Central Indiana Rwy passed along with the PRR tracks in front of the tower with the Big Four (NYC) tracks passing behind it.
There was a crossover right in front of the tower siding on the north side of number 2 Main and a crossover from 2 track to that siding just west of the tower. In front of the Pennsy there was a crossover from the siding to the main as you went south on the PRR and just right off of Ohio Avenue was a switch that curved around from the Pennsy Main to the NYC side track going back toward Pitt Street.
For many years, Delco Tower controlled the Pennsylvania RR from Sulphur Springs (south) through Anderson to a block near Frankton (north) with Elwood Block Station controlling from there almost all the way to Kokomo. Delco Tower also controlled by remote control the signals and the one switch north of Cross Street of the now unmanned DOW. Delco also was in control of the Approach signal north of Hartman Road and could instruct which PRR freights were to take the siding.
With the decline of the old PRR lines under Penn Central and the further decline of shipping generated by local industry and the automotive parts plants, Delco Tower was retired as a manned installation and as an interlocking on August 1, 1976 when Conrail removed the Richmond Branch diamond from the crossing of the number 2 Main. All that's left there is the CR number 2 Main. To the south of the PQ Corp. plant is still a part of the Wye and the trackage that led to the Anderson Belt Railroad (See Gridley Yards).
[See the Honey Creek and Indian Creek]
Delco Tower at the time of Penn Central - From the Marvin Crim Collection.
PRR F7 #9825 in Anderson on July 25, 1960 - Photo by Jay Williams - Marvin Crim Collection.
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Last updated August 26, 1997.