Seaboard Coast Line Pictorial history of the SCL in Floriday  Warren & Clark SC

Seaboard Coast Line Pictorial history of the SCL in Floriday Warren & Clark SC

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Seaboard Coast Line Pictorial history of the SCL in Floriday Warren & Clark SC
Seaboard Coast Line Pictorial history of the SCL in Floriday by Warren & Clark Soft Cover 2nd printing 2003    116 pages
Florida, America's well known vacationland, is predominantly served by one railroad, the Seaboard Coast Line. The typically black locomotives with yellow trim and lettering came into being with the October 1967 merger of the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line railroads. The road in this form has lasted less than thirteen years, far less than its half century plus predecessors. Today it is a member of the Family Lines System and subsequently CSX. The Seaboard Coast Line's uniqueness is fast disappearing under the Family Lines grey paint, and one must look closely at the reporting marks to determine which piece of Family Lines equipment is passing in review.
During Florida's early growth days, east coast development was fostered by Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad. Meanwhile, Henry Plant conceived the Plant System to develop the west central portion of the state in direct competition for the vacationer's dollar. The Plant System, which eventually became the Atlantic Coast Line, had its development before the turn of the century and therefore had the stronghold on West Florida railroading. The Seaboard Air Line, years later in arrival and concept, consequently found itself in a second place position in service to most of the various towns and cities. As years progressed and railroad fortunes changed, economics became apparent in the duplication of services. It was only natural that the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line combine with their respective individual identities to form a modern, new organization: Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.
In prehistoric times, much of the central part of the state was the burial grounds of the animals of the day. This area, known as Bone Valley, provides a significant part of the railroads' revenue in the transportation of phosphate and phosphate products from mine to mill, to shipside and to the consumer. Daily, phosphate drag freights numbering in the tens, traverse from Bone Valley to the Tampa area with loads destined for around the world. These phosphate drags often exceed a hundred cars and gave rise to that unique piece of motive power, the General Electric built Mate. Containing only a fuel tank and traction motors, the Mates are teamed up with a U33 or U36 to provide necessary traction to move 10,000 tons of phosphate at speeds of up to 50-60 mph between Bone Valley and Tampa.
Noted for its citrus industry, Florida also has the railroad industries' only one-way train, the juice train comprised of the white painted cars of the Tropicana Juice Co., of Bradenton. When sufficient cars are filled, an extra is called to move the cars to Kearny, New Jersey, where Tropicana maintains a distribution point. Unlike coal or grain, you can't tip over a car of packaged citrus juice and unload it as a train in a matter of minutes. As the cars are emptied, they are released to the railroad in groups of two, three, or more for the return to Florida. Moving the cars in this fashion permits Tropicana to minimize the number of cars needed to haul their products and evens out the loading and unloading process.
Tampa has been a major transshipment point for imported vehicles. It is not unusual to see a northbound freight carrying both empty tri-levels used to bring Detroit's latest to Florida, and loaded bilevels with the latest imports.
Upon the merger, SCL divided the state into two divisions: Jacksonville and Tampa. The former division primarily operates over what was the SAL from Jacksonville to Wildwood to West Palm Beach and Miami. The latter division operates the ex-ACL route from Jacksonville to Orlando and Tampa. A second ACL Jacksonville to west Florida route that meandered down the middle of the state through Leesburg and Gainesville, ending at St. Petersburg, has seen most of the rail removed, and that which is left relegated to branchline status. The Seaboard Coast Line was also partner in several other unique train movements. Well known is Sanford, the southern terminus of Amtrak's Auto-Train operation. Auto-Train started as an independent daily operation offering travelers a means of moving themselves and their cars in one train, passengers traveling in sleepers and coach dome cars while automobiles relaxed in former CN auto carrier cars. Auto-Train's red, white, and purple color scheme has since changed to standard Amtrak coloring.
Perhaps just as colorful are the several circus and carnival trains that start their seasons on SCL rails. Tampa is home of the Royal American Shows. A few miles south of Tampa Bay is Venice where the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows host two trains yearly. In the small town of Taft, nestled just west of Orlando, the James E. Strates Show maintains its winter quarters.*
SCL rails still host passenger service that once saw purple ACL and green SAL diesel streamliners. Passenger service after the merger remained virtually unchanged until 1971 when Amtrak took over passenger operations. Amtrak continued the basic northeast service. The Silver Meteor, Silver Star, and until recently, the Champion, provide daily service to Florida's major cities from New York City and other points.
This monograph provides the insight needed to study the photographs which follow, taken across the time span since the merger and they Illustrate the, day-to-day movement of cars and trains in that unique setting called the Seaboard Coast Line in Florida.

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