Railroad spurs in North Tampa/Temple Terrace

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I grew up in Temple Terrace (just north of Tampa), and until a couple yrs ago did not realize this may have been a pretty decent railroad place long ago. My questions are about the two lines (maybe it was just one line at one time) that used to go into the city.

Line #1: The branch of the Tampa Northern by Fowler Ave that currently runs east, serving Yvengling Brewery and used to serve Busch also until Dec. 1995. My questions: Did this used to serve the old air field from WWII there? How long ago did trains run past the Busch branchoff, and further into Temple Terrace? There are still tracks in place past 46th st, then turn into a factory, though it's all fenced off- will these be returned to service; why would CSX leave these in place if not? Now to get into more line-specific detail: in old maps it shows this railroad heading further east, crossing 56th street right by city hall, and going just south of Greco Middle School, then making a southeast turn. When were these tracks taken out, and what did they serve in the first place? I know the 46th st to I think city hall extension remained for a while up until the 80's; you could see the old RxR in white lines painted on the streets (50th, 52nd, 53rd) as late as 1990 though the tracks were gone. Any and all history here would be appreciated.

Line #2: From the old ACL Tampa-Zephyrhills route there was a spur that broke off before the line crossed over 301, and ran North over Bullard Parkway, then made a west turn, crossed the Hillsborough River, and into about the same area as the other line, by Greco School. Again, when was this line removed, what did it serve, and how frequent were the trains?? If I had to guess, I'd say it's been gone since probably 1960 at the latest, but you can actually see remnants of the ROW along Riverhills Drive where it used to cross the river, off Bullard Parkway you can see scars of the line, and on Harney you can see where it broke off and went north. Again, any information or pictures on this one is much appreciated as well.

The city actually keeps the ROW well maintained just north of bullard parkway as an access road for something; south of bullard the ROW is heavily weeded with tress overhanging, but you can make it out.

-- Justin (scheidt@pbworld.com), December 19, 2001


Read, "as an added note to the above.PRIOR to the 1958 line" I moved to Sanford in 1971 and the line from Neve to Zephyrhills was still in place then. True about the railroad not wanting to spend the money to bridge the canal.There was no industry on the line between Neve and Z-hills,so why not remove it. This same line (ACL) crossed the SAL at Z-hills and again at Owensboro.When the line was removed,a new connection was added so the SAL could run on the exACL between Z-hills and Owensboro to avoid downtown running in Z-hills and Dade City.At the same time the SAL was removed; a connection was built at Owensboro to get back on the exSAL.When the West Coast Sub was removed from Inverness to Trilby the connection became useless.In other words,routing from Plant City on exSAL to Z-hills then exACL to Owensboro,via Vitis Jct.and Dade City then exSAL to Wildwood. Not sure about the times when the line was removed,nor when the canal was built,but I can find out.I am sure I can.My family owned the land from near Harney Rd and the canal along the railroad.I spent my youth there.I know that the canal bought some of my mothers land,my brothers house is covered by the southbound lane of I75 and my house is wedged between the interstate and Bowles rd.

-- Joseph Oates (jlosal@mindspring.com), December 24, 2001.

From both of those I have to throw in a couple things- Troy, was it as late as the late 1970's they took out that section of track? From the condition of the old ROW to how hard it is to see where it ran from the canal by Sligh up through Thonotosassa, I would have guessed this section came out around 1969-70 at the latest. FYI, the old cement trestle things on the sides of U.S. 301 are now gone, as Harney has been widened to 4 lanes and they cut through the old ROW to do it. I can see the ROW immediately past Sligh on Harney as it comes up to Harney then does the cross-over (it looks like someone used the ROW as their personal driveway now), and some scars up to the Bullard Pkwy intersection, but again these look like they had to have been gone at least 30 years. Anyone know what year the bypass canal was proposed?

The first response I didn't quite understand you- you said ACL wanted to service the breweries also, so that tells me they had to come from the Harney Road line, meaning across Bullard Parkway, over the river, past city hall, then to the brewery. However, you then said the tracks across Bullard have been gone at least 70 years, which looks right to me judging by the overgrowth alone, so how else would the ACL get trains into the breweries on their own lines? Kind of confused there.. when were those tracks by city hall taken up anyway? It looks like segments, first the river segment to city hall, then city hall to 46th st, now it lies in place but dead as a doornail from there to the old busch cutoff...

-- Justin Scheidt (scheidt@pbworld.com), December 24, 2001.

the line from temple terrace that now ends at harney road and used to run to "vitis" (near zephryhills) was abandoned in parts in the late 70's and early 80's due to the construction of the Tampa Bypass canal. Apparently the state (or SCL?) didnt want to pay to build (several) bridges over the canal's and since the merger, this line was really not needed anyway (SAL used from zephryhills-plant city- tampa). the line was not all torn up at once and was kept in place where on-line traffic still existed (along 301 on the north end) until it was finally cut back to where the line (used to) cross the SAL. There is another thread about this area, you may want to check it. That tressle over US 301 and morris bridge road was in place until at least 1985, FYI, although the tracks had been cut back prior to that. if you still look close you can see the remnants of the embankment

-- troy nolen (tnolen12@tampabay.rr.com), December 22, 2001.

The line that breaks off and crosses Harney Rd.is the same line that goes behind the school,city hall etal.It was built about 1958 to so ACL could serve the new brewries.The line that is in service now was the old SAL.The ACL did not want the SAL to have lone service to the new industries.I can ony guess that at one time SAL served the old air field.The line was removed just after the merger in 1967. As an added note.Prior to the ACL line mentioned above,they had a line that broke off near what is now the intersection of Morris Bridge and Harney and headed toward TT ,even crossed the river.That line was gone when I was little,nearly 70 years ago.There was a depot at the switch called Temple Terrace Jct.

-- J.Oates (jlosal@mindspring.com), December 19, 2001.

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