Railroad history in Dunedin, FL, and Inverness, FL.

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As part of a book I am writing on rail line abandonment, I am preparing brief case-studies describing of the events leading to the demise of rail service to various American communities. Two of these, Dunedin (along the ex-ACL St. Petersburg's route) and Inverness (along an ACL line linked to the Perry Cutoff), were on the ACL system in Florida.

Does anyone have detailed information about the final years of rail operations in these places? Or, does anyone have extensive knowledge of local railroad history? While others have given me useful information, I would appreciate further details and/or contacts.

J. Schwieterman DePaul University

-- Joe Schwieterman (jschwiet@aol.com), February 12, 2001


I am happy to say that Professor Schwieterman published his book entitled "When the Railroad Leaves Town-Vol 1" recently. It was published by the Truman State University Press. In addition to dealing with Inverness and Dunedin, it also covers such SAL/ACL/FEC/AB&C locales such as Boca Grande Fla., Key West Fla., Palm Beach Fla., Thalmann Ga., and McKenney Va. It also discusses the short lived MiamiBeach streetcar service over the MacArthur Causeway. I recommend this book to all!

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), November 26, 2001.

The Dunedin line was to my knowledge doomed after the merger of SAL- ACL in 1967; the tracks were taken up from Tarpon Springs to St. Leo (these from St. Leo to Trilby were bought by a tourist excursion railroad and operated until 1977, then abandoned as well). Just north of Tarpon Springs was the Staufer Chemical Company, which used enough rail business to keep the line open from there to Clearwater and St. Petersburg. (Not really sure why they left the duplicate line in there from clearwater to St. petersburg seeing as another line almost mirrored it). In 1981 the Stauffer company went under, and two years later the tracks were ripped up from Tarpon Springs to Clearwater (then Clearwater to St. Pete along former SAL trackage).

Inverness was one of my favorites; my grandfather used to drive me there from nearby Hernando when I stayed with them, to watch trains go under the U.S. 41 bridge in the mid-1980's. The tracks were taken out from Trilby to Inverness in April of 1987 (still unexcusable in my opinion); then Inverness to Dunnellon in 1989-1990. (They waited to find either service from Inverness North, or if a shortline would take it, or even if Amtrak wanted the line, in which case they were going to re-build it). They thought this line was also a duplicate, though as late as 1986 almost 10 trains per day ran on this line.

Along with those, the Dunnellon-Perry-Metcalf line was removed in 1987, and the line from High Springs to DuPont, Ga, was abandoned at the same time, including all the equipment from the railyard at High Springs. The Lakeland railyard was gone in 1989, with not enough northbound traffic to justify keeping it open. While the parts from Trilby to Dunnellon have been converted to a trail, others stand overgrown, with old mileposts still intact.

-- Justin (scheidt@pbworld.com), November 26, 2001.

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