SCL Ft. Lauderdale line questiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread
On a recent visit to the Ft. Lauderdale area, i noticed what looks to be a couple abandoned rail lines. One parallels I-595 from I-95 to ? on the north side of the highway and along the new river canal. There are a couple bridges still present as well as some ballast, but all rails are gone and looks like they have been for some time. Another line is along flamingo road south of I-595. You can still see where grade crossings and ROW was. My questions are, where did these lines go, what was their primary duty (freight, passeneger) and when were they abandoned/why. Also were they ex-SAL or were they FEC, i have a hunch the one paralleling I-595 was FEC, but am not sure. I know alot of highway construction went on down there in the early 80's were these lines victims of the interstate?
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), July 22, 2001
Hi Troy I traveled up Flamingo Road 5 days a week to work at the Motorola Communications manufacturing facility in Plantation from 1976 to 1980 and didn't see any evidence that a railroad had existed in that area. At that time Flamingo Road ended at State Road 84 which was replaced by what is now I-595. The only things that ran along Flamingo Road were orange groves and small ranches. However at that time Flamingo Road was a very narrow bumpy 2 lane road not much wider than a railroad bed. It was lined with Austrailian Pines on one side and a deep drainage canal on the other. I suggest that you may have seen the remnants of the old road bed. As you have seen Flamingo Road today is a nice 6 lane divided highway. I have also traveled on Ravenswood Road numerous times. It is the road running along I-95 next to the CSX tracks south of I-595/SR84. I remember the tracks and spur running east to Port Everglades before the I-595 construction project altered everything. At that time there were no tracks running west of the CSX line. Before the construction of I-595 there were several narrow access roads running along SR84. The remains of some of these old road beds could be mistaken for old railrod beds. I don't remember seeing any signs of a railroad trestle across the south branch of the New River. In order for a rail to reach Flamingo Road it would have to cross this river branch.I also don't recall ever seeing or hearing of a railroad crossing at US441,University Drive, or Pine Island Drive. The railroad would have to cross these major roads also.I hope this helps. Bob
-- Bob Levasseur (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 07, 2002.
I am a Miami native of 45 years and I can say there definetly never were any rails in Broward County west of I95 aside from short industrial spurs.
Dade County is another matter. FEC built extensive lines west to rock mines near the Everglades.
-- Roy P. Bower (RoyPBower@juno.com), January 13, 2002.
I was born in Ft. Lauderdale in the 40s and lived there until graduating from high school in '62. The line along 595 was the Port Everglades RR, from then SAL, east across FEC and into the port. As a kid I remember the port rr interchanging scads of tank cars with both FEC and SAL. As others have mentioned this line gave way to 595 in the 80s. I can tell you that there was never a rail line of any sort west of the SAL, SCL, or CSX, ever, at any time, in Broward County. There did however, used to be a spur off the SAL into a small industrial area on the west side of Ft. Lauderdale airport. I went to Jr. High School at what was called the Naval Air Station, the line came off SAL and ran east parallel to what is now runway 9L, and ended at some industries near where the old control tower and airport terminal used to be. I remember old SAL RS1 switchers bringing in boxcars. One day, a blimp deflated accidentally at the airport, and they brought in a boxcar on that spur and put the blimp's passenger cabin in it to haul it away somewhere after the accident.
-- bob lowry (email@example.com), August 18, 2001.
Troy and Bob--
Just a lurker, but I am definitely interested in what you find. I lived in the Ft. Lauderdale area from 1963 to 1981, and used to visit friends in the Flamingo Road / Griffin Road / Orange Drive area often in the mid-to-late '70s. There were no railroads along any of those three roads at that time as far as I remember.
-- Ted Champagne (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 09, 2001.
the line ran north-south on the west side of the road... i think the best evidence was closer to I-595, but dont really remember. Look for grade crossing "hills" on the sideroads, and along fields. My next trip down there may be in a couple weeks, i will try to investigate myself as well. Maybe even get some pics
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), August 04, 2001.
Hi Troy...Due to heavy rains and car troubles, my rails safaris of late have been limited. I ventured down Flamingo Rd south of I-595 but haven't yet come across any tell-tale signs of rail existence. Located right on Flamingo Rd. is Flamingo Gardens, a long-established area attraction. I inquired there but no one had knowledge of any railroads that far west in Broward County, generally known as the town of Davie. Local history books in their giftshop didn't mention rails in that area either.
As a point of clarification, did the former right-of-way you found actually cross Flamingo Rd. east to west? If so, about about how far south of I-595...(any landmarks nearby?). Or, if the r-o-w ran north- south along Flamingo, what side did you see it on? And how far off the road was it. I'll keep sniffin'!
-- Bob Venditti (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 03, 2001.
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), August 03, 2001.
Troy, I'll be checking out the Flamingo Road area south of I-595 tomorrow and will see what I can find out.
-- Bob Venditti (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 28, 2001.
ok, i can accept that answer about the I595 "line", but what about the flamingo road trackage, there was most DEFINETLY railroad there are even grade crossings (sans tracks) still visible, even some RxR markings on the road, this is south of 595 mind you
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), July 26, 2001.
I will agree with Bob about the Port Everglades line. I lived in the Fort Lauderdale area in the mid 80s, although I must admit I haven't been back since I left in 1988. The line east of 95 was infact the SCL spur to Port Everglades (it only had a switch leading north. It was not a wye and did not have a way to enter/leave the port to/from the south). It was removed in the mid 80s to make way for I-595. To my knowledge, there never was a rail line heading west along 595 (then FL 84). Years ago, evreything west of US 441 in Broward County was swampland and/or part of the Everglades. There was no need for a rail line west of this point. I don't think there ever has been a rail line west of the SCL/CSX line that paralells I-95 north and south.
When canals were built to help drain the area for development, many of them were built with access roads on both sides of the canal. FL 84 was built along the south side of the North New River canal out to US 27 and provide access to Alligator Alley. The path in question along the north side is probably the old access road, which probably was gravel at one time. Many of these same roads were found along similar canals in the area until development went wild. The Griffin Road/Orange Drive corridor along the South New River Canal west of I-75 (at least back then) was another example.
-- Rob Ziemba (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 26, 2001.
thanks bob, i knew about the trackage East of I-95 as being ex-SAL, however, what my question really was is about the trackage WEST of I- 95... Look closely, there are even some side roads with access near (north side of) the new river canal. Go out in the daytime, and you can even see what appears to be ballast still laying there, im almost CERTAIN this had to be a rail line. As for the flaming road trackage, any idea what it was???? I did not make it much farther west than flamingo road, so there may be more clues farther out there. Please let me know how your "trek" goes!
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), July 25, 2001.
OK, Troy, I'll give it a shot...since I'm now living near the locales you describe (and I travel Flamingo Road almost daily).
As far as the former r.o.w. that runs along I-595, I'll assume this is located east of I-95 (along the north perimeter of Ft. Laud. Int'l Airport). There was indeed trackage here and was (I believe) SAL's spur off the n-s mainline into Port Everglades. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum relocated to these rails in the early '60's after being evicted from the Richmond NAS southwest of Miami after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The museum ran here until they were evicted again in the '80's by the I-595 Construction Crisis; (they ended up back at their original NAS location!) A depot-style structure built by the museum still stands, currently used in some County maintenance capacity. As far as the track's ownership, I must mention that their was a Port Everglades RR, and somewhere I have a snapshot of a very young me standing on the walkway of one of their Turquiose-painted diesel switchers. They may have been the actual owner of the spur.
I'm curious as to how far west you followed I-595 but you at least made as far as Flamingo Rd. I'm not aware of any rails that ran west of I-95. There is however is a definite berm along the north bank of the canal that parallels sections of I-595, even west of Flamingo Rd, not to mention short concrete bridges in some sections. I've always assumed the berm was the result of the canal dredging and the bridges served to allow access for maintenance vehicles. But you've given me an excuse to get out of doing household chores this weekend...I'll investigate further and report back. In the meantime, hopefully more replies will surface.
-- Bob Venditti (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 24, 2001.
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), July 24, 2001.