photos of ACL passenger train taken behind Fla. Welcome Station on highway 17 at St. Marys Florida. : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I rode the ACL Champion when I was 5. It went to Orlando,where my Grandparents lived. I was on a pullman overnight. It was some adventure! My folks and my brother would go to Orlando via Highway 17. After you cross the St. Marys River you were at a Florida welcome center. It had a picnic area next to the train tracks. I remember many times eating a picnic lunch while an ACL passenger train roared by!! It was so exciting to me,it reminded me of my trip in 1955! I just wondered if anyone had been to the center and maybe caught the train on camera!? Last time I went to Florida,I got off I-95 and drove on 17. There is no center now and the picnic areas all gone! So,I'm sad to say,is the ACL!! Thanks Mike

-- David M. Kennerly (, August 24, 2000


Sorry to see that the welcome center on 17 coming into FL is no longer. I own a small trucking co and once or twice a year I would make a run down just for the fun of it. I would always get off 95 in GA and come in on 17 just to be by the SAL and see that rest stop. You really felt that you were in FL when you saw that. That place should have been preserved!! How many people coming to FL stopped or at least noticed that place? You had arrived! From a truck you could see the jct with the cutoff. Oh Boy! Florida railroading at last. A DOT cop stopped me one time..thought I was running around the scales on 95. Wouldn't believe why I was on 17 instead of 95.

Tommy Arthur MP 18 on the Portsmouth Sub

-- Thomas Arthur II (, August 29, 2000.

When I served with CSX Transportation as a military LNO in 1998 I had the chance to photograph the very area you are tlking about ,including the old buildings near the rest site and the area around US 17 directly south of the River. I also shot the locals to the papermills in Georgia on the ex-SAL. They are in slide form, but i can scan them if you would like. Drop me an e-mail.

-- Scott Lofreddo (, August 25, 2000.

You are doing good to remember when you were five,altho,you did not mention your current age.(Please don't give it here).As I well know your(my)memory is not as good as it used to be. The Seaboard Air Line,not the ACL followed US17 into Florida.US 17 ran from Savannah(and points north)to Deland,where it picked up US92 then into Orlando.The ACL followed 17-92 off and on from Jacksonville to Orlando.The ACL ran into Florida off and on near US 1-23-301.The SAL followed US90 west out of Jacksonville to Baldwin,where it turned south and followed US301 off and on to Zephyrhills.

-- J Oates (jlosal@, August 24, 2000.

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