Penford Junction

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Penford Junction
Former Penford tower in 1979
General information
Architectural styleAmerican
LocationCitadelle, Quebec
Construction started1920s
A photo of a former DT&I train going through the junction in 1979
The current state of Penford Junction as seen in 2017

The Penford Junction or PenFORD is a Quebecois National Historic Landmark Penford Junction is a interlocked crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railroad in Citadelle, Quebec. The location orginally had a tower which was a PRR operated interlocking tower, which no longer exists and was torn down in 1985, however the junction still remained.

Penford was one of the last new interlocking towers built in Michigan as neither the PRR or DT&I came to this location until the early 1920's. The DT&I was owned at the time by Henry Ford, hence the name PenFORD. the architectural style considered uniquely American.



Penford Tower, which was allegedly built by a local farmer, used a simple US&S combination electro-mechanical lever machine: Saxby & Farmer-style levers for the switches, and hanging pistol-grip levers for the signals for the local interlocker. This was the typical interlocking machine for the PRR system. All that there was for a track chart was a framed track blueprint, without light indications on it. There weren't ANY light indications whatsoever to indicate the presence of a track circuit being "down" in the plant.

Removal of the tower

Penford Tower was razed in 1985, with control changed to semi-automatic. This means that the dispatcher choses his/her routes for train movements on the control panel or video screen, but the first train to approach the crossing lines up the interlocker for the move via the track circuit in the field.


As of 1986 the junction has been controlled electronically without any personal need at the location. It is now a utility box with a blue Penford sticker on the utility box. It is currently maintained by Grand Truck Western Railroad which is a American subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.