The Canada Southern Railway and the London & Port Stanley Railway have crossed paths in the heart of St. Thomas since the construction of the Canada Southern Station in 1872.
BX Tower was constructed c. 1910 as a control point to prevent rail accidents at the junction of these two rail lines, and their successors. The tower was run by the Operator or Leverman. This position controlled the many levers connected to the track switches through the rail yard and intersection area, pulling the correct levers to send each train where it needed to go. There is also a mechanical computer known as an “interlocking grid” in the tower which would prevent the operator from pulling levers in an order that would cause a rail collision. The tower’s design allows an elevated 360° perspective for the operator inside the building. There are also wall-mounted track diagrams and colour-coded levers to provide accuracy for the Operator-Leverman. These preventative measures paid off and the tower never had a collision during its many years of operation.
Today BX Tower is owned by the City of St. Thomas, and preserved and occasionally made available to visitors by the Elgin County Railway Museum. BX Tower is open during a small number of Elgin County Railway Museum special events and can be toured by appointment. You can check out our events page to see which events will include the tower and email or call the museum to book a tour during your next visit.