n. fla lines.

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i recently had to take the silver palm to south fla from nyc. i noticed at the ocala station that there is line that crosses the amtrak line right at the station and has a side platform at the depot. i was wondering what line that was and when the last passenger train stopped there. also after leaving tampa on the way to lakeland , winter haven and so fla, the line crosses a double track line. is that a frieght line that goes up the panhandle or maybe to atlanta?

-- j.d. morgenthal (danjaymin@aol.com), December 29, 1999


The ACL Jacksonville- St. Pete line through Gainesville, Ocala, Trilby, and Tarpon Springs saw passenger service right up until Amtrak. Its last service was the alternating every-other-day CITY OF MIAMI and SOUTH WIND. After Amtrak took over, all passenger traffic to St. Pete came over from Tampa on ex-SAL trackage. SCL had little use for the line once the passenger trains had ended, and it began pulling up the line rather quickly, but I don't know any specific dates or sections.

The short segment between Blanton and San Antonio hosted the Orange Belt RR (steam tourist line) from aprox. 1976-1977. To my knowledge, the short portion running through Ocala is the only section of the line still operational. Another leg ran from a connection with current CSX near Burnetts Lake southeastward to Gainesville, but I believe this has now been taken up also. Hope this helps.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), January 07, 2000.

The rail line which crosses the CSX main in Ocala is the shortline Florida Northern, one of the Pinsley group which also includes the Florida Central and the Florida Midland. This was the former ACL line from Jacksonville to St. Pete, which came down through Gainesville, Burnett's Lake, Ocala, Leesburg, and Trilby to St. Pete. The last scheduled passenger train would probably been about 1967-68, after the SCL merger (Help, Larry!).

The "double track" main line at Plant City, between Tampa and Lakeland, are CSX's Yeoman Subdivision and Plant City Subdivision, respectively, going east from Tampa. The two subdivisions join just north of the crossing diamonds, and are the old SAL lines from Jacksonville to Tampa and the Bone Valley. The second diamond (on the Plant City Sub) was just installed in September to eliminate a turnout which restricted the speed on the Yeoman Sub.

-- Gary Bechdol (gbechdol@rwhitehead.com), January 04, 2000.

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