Trilby, Florida : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

There is not much left at Trilby. Just a bicycle path and one Washingtonian palm. The local historical marker says that three railroads met there. Does anyone know any of the details?

-- Dick Kearns (, February 10, 2002


As I've stated here before when I've passed through Trilby and Croom (I'm not from Florida) I simply cannot believe that the well- maintained double track from Trilby through Croom to Dunellon has NOTHING remaining, and I KNOW it must have had loads of traffic, to have been doubletracked and CTC. From the timetables Croom was also a big junction (several miles north) and you should see how it looks now. OH,WELL .........I just can't believe how quicly SCL and CSX destroyed so much when they put their minds to it.

-- Capers Bull (, October 31, 2002.

Justin, the SAL never made it to TRILBY. Missed the metropolis by about 3 miles. The SAL/ACL diamond was at Owensboro, where a tower was tucked underneath the U.S. 301 overpass. The tower was removed following the placement of signal light controls governing train traffic across the diamond. The section of SAL trackage between Owensboro and south Zephyrhills was one of the first abandonments as part of the SCL's "route rationalization" games in the late l960's. A several mile stretch of this trackage on the north side of Dade City continued to be used into the l980's. Because of the "hilly" landscape, much of the old SAL roadbed profile is still very evident! The same can be said for the ex ACL line southwest between Trilby and San Antonio. This section of track contained the steepest mainline grade in Florida!

Following the demise of the "Southland" in the late l950's, there were no passenger trains with sections to be combined or split in Trilby. The Jacksonville - St. Pete sections (NB and SB) of the West Coast Champion stopped at the Trilby station on a daily basis until they were terminated by Amtrak in favor of a Jacksonville - Tampa - St. Pete service route. Trilby is a good example of a small town that, for its size, was big time in terms of railroading----it was a daily passenger train stop, had a nice station, a railroad yard, concrete coaling tower, a big water tank, and was a junction of several railroad lines. Today, none remain. Too bad, because it was also a great place to watch trains as a kid! At least it is part of a good rails-to-trails bike path! Aaron Dowling

-- Aaron Dowling (, October 31, 2002.

The histories here are good; however I want to try and put a timetable on when these railroads were around and when they were taken out. First, the three railroads:

SAL- This line originally came from Plant City to Ocala. In the Dade City/Tribly area, it made a downtown running through Zephyrhills parallel to U.S. 301 on the east side, crossed over and went through Dade City immediately west of downtown, then winded around until it came to Tribly. Here, it crossed the ACL at a diamond under the U.S. 301 bridge (removed 1988) and continued its present day course to Ocala. The Zephyrhills-Tribly section was abandoned right around 1967 when the SAL and ACL merged. The right-of-way is clearly visible off hole #5 and 6 at Town and Country Golf Club near Tribly. The line exists today from Tribly northward as CSX.

ACL- The first of the two ACL lines was the Lakeland-Inverness main line, which CSX operates today up until Tribly. This line was abandoned by the boneheads at CSX in 1987 as part of their "trash everything in Florida" campaign, and the line was abandoned and made into the Withalacoochee Trail. There was a bridge on U.S. 301 until about 1988, when this was taken down. This was once the gateway to the midwest for Florida, going through Dunnellon and on the Perry cutoff; or through High Springs to Georgia for freight mainly.

ACL line #2- This has a chopped history. Originally the line went from St. Petersburg, through Tribly and on to Orlando/Winter Garden. The Winter Garden-Tribly section was abandoned in the mid-1960's, however the Tribly- St. Pete section remained until 1972. Near Land-O- Lakes, SCL actually broke their Brooksville line off here to get into St. Pete, keeping that west section open, however this was short- lived and taken out around 1974. Passenger trains from the North used to break into sections at Tribly, going either to St. Pete or Lakeland/Tampa/Miami.

-- Justin (, October 28, 2002.

My notes indicate Trilby was called Macon from the opening of the line in 1888, 'til circa 1899(prior to Feb. 1900). The name change was thus made by the Plant System.

-- Tom Underwood (, February 14, 2002.

I did some more research. The third railroad was the South Florida Railroad. The Plant System purchased it in 1883. Then in 1885 Built a 56 mile line connecting Croom (Pemberton's Ferry) with Bartow. In Bartow it connected with the Florida Southern. Because at that time all of those railroads were owned or leased by Plant, It would seem that the Florida Southern had trackage rights down to Bartow and up to Croom.

I found this info in the Prince book "Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Steam Locomotives, Ships, and History" available from the society.

Hope this helps


-- Bill Middlemas (, February 14, 2002.

Well here's a brief history. Trilby was originally named Macon. The Orange Belt Railway (Narrow Gauge) crossed and interchanged with the Florida Southern Railroad (Narrow Gauge). The Orange Belt was reorganized into the Sanford and St Petersburg. Then leased and later purchased by the Plant System (ACL) The Florida Southern was purchased by the Plant System also. Henry Plant broaden the Florida Southern to standard gauge and then broaden only the Trilby to St. Pete portion of the Orange Belt, leaving the Trilby to Lake Monroe portion narrow guage until 1912. this is why ACL had a small number of narrow gauge steamers (800 series). I'm not sure when they changed the name from Macon to Trilby. If you visit the Pioneer Village in Dade City, look inside the station. There is an old photo of the original station on the left wall as you walk in. If you go to the trail site, look closely around there you will find the foundation of the station still there. I'm not sure what third railroad they refer to. Maybe they are counting one of the above railroads twice.

Hope this helps Bill

-- Bill Middlemas (, February 14, 2002.

Well the Trilby Depot has been Relocated to the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City Florida just a few miles to the south on US Hwy 301. You can find out more Info about the railroad ? you asked at the Pioneer Museum. but towards the end the Trilby to St. Petersburg branch of the ACL began at Trilby. Spurring off of the Dunnellon line. I hope I was of some help.

-- Eric Herrmann (, February 12, 2002.

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