Status of North Florida rights-of-waygreenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread
I came across a couple interesting news items in the Gainesville (FL) Sun on-line newspaper archive. It seems that the former ACL right-of-way north of High Springs was sold to Florida Power in 1991 after CSX abandoned it in the 1980s. There was a local presumption, gathering from the article, that the right of way would eventually serve as a rail trail.
Here is the link:
However, it now seems that a cement plant has been approved for construction east of Branford and, lo-and-behold, the cement company proposes to REBUILD a portion of the line, from (presumably) the High Springs "railhead" northwest to the new plant. The cement company, Suwannee American, has incorporated a subsidiary, the Three Rivers Railroad, and the company has already leased the right of way from Florida Power. No STB filing on-line yet.
Reading the article, amidst the exasperation of some local residents, the reaction of the mayor of Fort White (the only sizeable community en route) seems particularly enlightened. Although understandably opposed to the siting of a cement plant near his community, he applauds the rebuilding of the rail line to serve the plant, in order to keep trucks off the local roads near the plant.
Another North Florida CSX right of way was apparently sold as a utility corridor after its abandonment. This is a portion of the former ACL (originally Jacksonville Southwestern) line, presumably from Alachua/Hainesworth to the Santa Fe River (and perhaps beyond to Lake Butler).
Obviously in a bid to negotiate lower unit-train coal rates to its Deerhaven power plant, as a captive shipper to CSX, Gainesville Regional Utilities bought the corridor in order to (at least potentially) link up with the Norfolk Southern (GS&F) at Lake City. Interestingly, GRU still wants to retain the right of way, after apparently successfully negotiating a more favorable rate with CSX.
Here is the article (see item headed “Suwannee district may buy 96-acre tract”):
-- Jeff Gerlach (email@example.com), March 13, 2002
This could open quite a few doors if they rebuild part of that line- In earlier posts people talk about what the hell was CSX thinking by ripping out the High Springs sub from Live Oak to High SPrings because it could serve a purpose still. If this segment from High Springs to Branford is rebuilt (which is a huge step forward in keeping the west coast sub alive), they might just rebuild the rest of the thing back to Live Oak and use it as a secondary way of getting empty trains or overflow traffic down the west coast. The second part of that is, look what they did to the brooksville branch this year- it looks like a new railroad from there into Tampa, prefectly capable of handling large frequencies of trains. So, if they rebuild a part of the line from Dunnellon to Inverness/Floral City then over to brooksville by way of an old ACL connection abandoned in the 1970's from Croom to Brooksville, you now have a viable direct line to Tampa from the north. I realize the trail is on the ROW, however this could be re-bought and cut back to croom from Dunnellon possibly; or even extend the railroad from crystal river over to the brooksville connection, where land is cheap and there's nothing really built yet...
There are 2 bridges that need rebuilding on the High Springs-Branford line, the samta fe one is the largest and I will be out there for the first train that passes back over it, as seeing the ruins of that bridge is disheartening to say the least. The Ichetucknee River bridge will need it also.. The old ROW along U.S. 27 is overgrown to say the least but is salvagable as nothing has been built on it; just get out a 200-foot weed whacker and clean it up- If that happens more power to railfans out there, as at least the Alachua-Newberry- High Springs line will be saved anyway-
-- justin (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2002.
"Another North Florida CSX right of way was apparently sold as a utility corridor after its abandonment. This is a portion of the former ACL (originally Jacksonville Southwestern) line, presumably from Alachua/Hainesworth to the Santa Fe River (and perhaps beyond to Lake Butler). Obviously in a bid to negotiate lower unit-train coal rates to its Deerhaven power plant, as a captive shipper to CSX, Gainesville Regional Utilities bought the corridor in order to (at least potentially) link up with the Norfolk Southern (GS&F) at Lake City. Interestingly, GRU still wants to retain the right of way, after apparently successfully negotiating a more favorable rate with CSX"
I dont know why they would retain that ROW, the NS (former SOU RY, need GS&F) trackage that went through lake butler was cut back to lake city in around 1996 or so, around the time this enitre line was cut back from palatka. There would never be any way NS could relay lake city - lake butler because there are now structures on what was the ROW. Plus its 20 or 30 miles of track that would have to be relaid just to GET to lake butler, then another 20 or 30 miles to Lake Burnette (alachua, fl). Of course in the time i lived in gainesville, i never saw the city of gainesville (who owns GRU) do anything smart or productive, usually quite the opposite...
-- troy nolen (email@example.com), March 15, 2002.
they will have to rebuild a couple tressles over rivers, i know the tressle over the santa fe river was taken out when the dupont sub was abandoned... as is now, track ends in what was high springs yard, in a grown up field full of trash and is in nasty shape. Thats alot of money to be putting into this project, plus there is always the fact that CSX does not want to keep that track, the west coast sub is on its deathbed, if the crystal river power plant is converted to natural gas, like is being proposed, you can kiss all track west of alachua (lake burnette) goodbye
-- troy nolen (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 14, 2002.