ACL aggregate/rock transport in 1950-60's : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Does anyone know if ACL serviced any aggregate/rock plants in the 1950-60's. Also what city/state did this take place in. Thanks

-- Charles Saglinbene (, October 02, 2001


A major part of the Hernando County, Florida economy in the 40's and 50's was limestone mining. There was, as early as 1925, the Camp rock crushing plant four miles east of Brooksville. This plant was filling orders from Lakeland, Ocala, Palm Beach, and Okeechobee. All the orders moved by train. Both the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line served the area. The requirement for road base materials spurred the development of other rock companies within the county.

A subsidiary of the William P. McDonald Construction Company, in 1926, was erecting a $250,000 rock crushing plant on 1,900 acres of land in the south Brooksville area. At the opening in April 1926, it was expected to process 2,000 tons a day. To bring the material out, the McDonald plant was going to double track 1,000 feet of spur line. The Atlantic Coast Line served the plant from the east (the Croom to Brooksville line) and the Seaboard Air Line served it from the west(the Brooksville to Tampa line). The Seaboard spur crossed Highway 98. It was one of a few plants that was served by both railroads at the same time. By 1937, the McDonald, Camp, and Portland Cement Companies were producing 8,557 freight cars of rock annually, were employing 160 men and had a combined payroll of $69,000.

Rock mining continued as the mainstay of the county's economy during the 40's, 50's and 1960's. Cruched limestone was also a major component of asphalt used to pave most of the highways and streets in Florida. The MacAsphalt Corporation of Winter Haven would receive it's limestone from McDonald's plant via Croom, Dade City, Lakeland, Auburndale and then to the plant. I always remember my father saying he preferred the SAL because their cars were cleaner. The McDonald plant closed in 1964. Now most limestone comes from south Florida.

-- Richard H Kearns (, October 03, 2001.

Actually, any hoppers used may have been some of the coal hoppers modified for phosphate service, with reduced-size hopper bays for the heavy lading. These and other open phosphate hoppers were also sometimes used for the sand loading at the pits south of Junction City, Ga.

-- Larry Goolsby (, October 03, 2001.

ACL served the rock quarry at Tyrone, Ga., south of Atlanta on the ex- AB&C line to Manchester. The product was crushed stone for track ballast and similar uses. Cars used were low-side gondolas and, I believe, coal hoppers too sometimes. That quarry had been active since the early 1900s and is still in use. There is now also a second one just north of Tyrone.

-- Larry Goolsby (, October 03, 2001.

The ACL did a lot of limerock hauling for road construction from the Ocala and Brooksville, Florida areas during that period. Typically, the limerock for road construction was in low side gondolas.

When I worked in Kissimmee, (approx 1962) there was a large rock movement for the Florida Turnpike construction. It was unloaded from the low side gondolas with clamshell buckets replacing the drag buckets on draglines, then trucked down the Turnpike to the job site.

Most rock and sand movements back then used low side gondolas. Due to low labor costs, the sand was often unloaded at concrete block plants by hand (coal scoops). Ditto for some ACL coaling for switch engines that did not have access to a coal chute.

In Orlando, an adjacent track was elevated about 6 to 8 feet next to the engine house track. When the 0-6-0 switch engine (1132,1135,1136,1137) tied up, a porter from the depot would come down and shovel coal from the high side gondola directly over into the tender using a coal scoop. Back breaking labor....

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (, October 03, 2001.

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