Jacksonville Train Stations

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Gentlemen, I'm in search of information for an article on the great ACL v. SAL train race in March 1901. I'm on a tight deadliine, and your prompt replies are appreciated. Does anybody know which Jacksonville station the two trains raced to? All accounts report that the two trains raced to a "Union Station" in Jacksonville, but I thought the BIG station (now the Osborne Center) wasn't built until 1910. If so, what station did they race to? I have seen photo-postcards of a Jacksonville Union Station that existed prior to the construction of the large depot...could that have been the destination of the two trains? I could also use some information on the track arrangement to the station (For example, what route would a Plant System train and a Seaboard train take to reach the depot, and would they have to use a similar portion of track at any time). Thanks very much for your help! JG

-- John Golden (Golden1014@yahoo.com), December 11, 2000


The Union Station at Jacksonville in 1900 was the one opened in 1895. Henry Flagler was the power behind the formation of the Jacksonville Terminal Company. His connections to the north- the FC&P and the SF&W- had depots on the north bank of the St. Johns. The SF&W depot (also used by the JT&KW) was on a wharf about where the CSX building is now; the FC&P depot was three blocks east of there at the foot of Hogan Street. These depots were convenient for the steam boat connections before there were rail lines south. However, Flagler's bridge was to the west, and through trains were required to back up to the SF&W depot after crossing the river, and back out to proceed south. He began secretly buying land to build a Union station. (After 1899 the Jacksonville & Southwestern had a depot on East Bay Street at Catherine and was content to stay there; the Atlantic, Valdosta & Western depot was beside the J&SW but they had better plans and wanted in to the Terminal. It required a lawsuit to achieve that goal.)

The 1895 depot abutted a thousand-foot train shed covering most of its twelve tracks. It was at Bay and Stuart, one block west of the 1919 Terminal. The shed was torn down to make way for the new structure, but most of the old Terminal remained in place as the baggage room and other offices. The approaches to the station were pretty much the same as they were for the new station- the FC&P would come from the northeast along the Jacksonville Belt from F. & J. Junction and curved around into the throat; the SF&W approached from the northwest. The sharp curve at Dennis Street is what is left of the wye ACL trains used to back into the Terminal after the FEC strike. The point where the two lines came together was kn

-- Larry Brennan (lpbrennan@aol.com), April 04, 2001.

The FEC had a station at that same location where the new Union Station was built.

-- Gary Riccio (g.riccio@worldnet.att.net), December 11, 2000.

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