SAL operations south of Tallahassee : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I am attempting to obtain info about branches of the SAL that ran southward from Tallahassee, now shown to be gone on recent maps. One line ran down to Carrabelle on the Gulf. This may have been Ga,FL & Al Ry at one time. When were these tracks put down...removed? Also what commodities were moved on this line....passenger business? Likewise, similar info is sought for the branch down to St Marks, FL, as well as the line that ran SE to Covington, FL. (a crossing of an ancient ACL branchline is indicated at Cody, FL.) Any info will be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Greg Hodges (, December 28, 2000


Greg - Thought this might interest you... In a 1927 stock prospectus for the SAL there is information about what the principal industries where on each of the SAL's lines. For the area around Tallahassee, including the three branches south thereof, it says: "Sumatra Leaf Tobacco Belt - Largest Cigar Wrapper producing area in U.S." Apparently that was considered more important, at that time, than any lumbering in the area. This sounds like lots of boxcars full of tobacco headed to Tampa for cigars!

-- Tom Underwood (, January 02, 2001.

Greg, It all started out as the Thomasville, Tallahassee & Gulf RR Co., inc. 1883. This road owned 2 little 0-4-0s bought from the NY & Brooklynn Bridge, probally for construction purposes. The road was reorganized in 1889 as the Augusta, Tallahassee & Gulf, which took over 1 loco and 11.5 miles of track (Carrabelle to the Sopchoppy River), which was not being operated. Still very little progress was made until it was reorganized again as the Carrabelle, Tallahassee & Georgia RR in 1891. This railroad built to Carrabelle from Tallahassee and operated 2 passenger locos and 1 switcher. Operated under its own name until 1906 when the Georgia, Florida & Alabama (Originally the Georgia Pine Ry. incorp. 1895, changed to GF&A in 1901) purchased the road after they built south from Thomasville to connect at Tallahassee. Leased to Seaboard in 1928 for 99 years. Had many lumber mills between Tallahassee and Carabelle, and a small port at Carrabelle. Carrabelle has always been a small fishing village, had a very large sawmill located there at one time. IN 1910 they operated as many as many as six passenger trains between Carrabelle and Richland Georgia. By 1918 only a single round trip operated south of Tallahassee. Carrabelle had a coastal steamer business but this ended by 1923 as competion from the Apalachicola Northenr and its steamers was too much for it to overcome. Abandoned sometime after 1942 (they had to wait for the closure of an amphibious training before pulling the tracks up).

The Florida Georgia & Western was chartered in 1891. Reorganized as the Tallahassee Southeastern in 1895. Built Tallahassee to Covington 32 miles and had 1 locomotive. Failed due to lost land grants from prior construction of railroads to Perry, Fla. Reorganized by Seaboard in 1906 as the Tallahassee, Perry & Southeastern and graded to Perry but never built. Seaboard bought the line in self defense to keep it out of the hands of the other Perry roads( Live Perry & Gulf and the Florida Ry.) The railroad used SAL equipment and crews. Mixed trains ruled on this line. Mostly served sawmills and turpentine operations the area was quickly clear cutted and the railroad was abandoned in 1933.


-- Donald R Hensley, Jr. (, December 29, 2000.

The abandonment of the Carrabelle line was around 1946 as mentioned in a previous post. The St. Marks trackage was removed in the late 1980's. This route is now rails to trails for most of its length, although not all in a good neighborhood. Most traffic in later years was related to the Olin ordnance plant just north of St. Marks. At one time the railroad also serviced a power plant at St. Marks.

Passenger traffic on the Carrabelle line was related to tourist activity and boat connections at the Carrabelle Gulf port. In early years Tallahassee folks also used the line to commute to summer beach cottages down there.

South of Tallahassee the right of way for the Carrabelle line is vaguely indentifiable along Spring Hill Road.

-- Riley Kinney (, December 29, 2000.

Greg - Here are some facts to get you going on the three SAL branches south out of Tallahassee. The line from Tallahassee to St.Marks(20.7 miles) was opened in 1836 by the Tallahassee RR. Sometime after that the line was extended another 2 miles to Fort Leon, though this extension was abandoned c.1869. The branch was acquired by the SAL when it took in merger the Florida Central & Peninsular. Mixed train service ended in c.1931. In 1960 the branch was called the Wakulla Sub. and was still in operation at time of SCL merger. From c.1935 to c.1946 the end of the line was shown as Smith-Vareen Co. instead of St.Marks. The 50 mile branch from Tallahassee to Carrabelle was opened in January 1897 by the Carrabelle, Tallahassee & Georgia RR, although a short portion may have been opened between c.1890 and 1897 by predecessor Augusta, Florida & Alabama RR. CT&G was sold at foreclosure, June 1906, to Ga.Fla.& Ala.RR who had reached Tallahassee from the north in June 1902. GF&A was sold to SAL January 1928. This line was abandoned between c.1941 & c.1946. Finallly, the branch from Tallahassee to Covington(32.3 miles) was opened by the Tallahassee Southeastern RR in May 1895. TSE was succeeded by Tallahassee Perry & South Eastern RR in 1907 which was sold to SAL in November 1911. Branch was abandoned between c.1931 and c.1935. From c.1901 to c.1911, the end of the branch was at Waylonzo, about another 6.7 miles. Sometime between Dec.1930 and Dec.1931 the line was cut back from Covington to Leonton. The St.Marks and Covington branches shared the first 2.9 miles out of Tallahassee to Saint Marks Junction.

-- Tom Underwood (, December 28, 2000.

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