Was there a wye at Hampton, FL on the GS&F?

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I have tried to find out how Souther Rwy (GS&F) turned their locomotives around at Hampton, Florida. At the meeting in Valdosta I was told by a NS employee that their was a wye between the Southern and Seabord Air Line. Can not comfirm this with any one from the ACL/SAL HS. Also an old employee of the Southern said there was never a wye at Hampton, and that the steam engines went sent to Palatka or ran backwards to Valdosta. I know after the mid 1940s Southern interchange with SAL in Jacksonville, so I do not belive that any diesels were involved with the Hampton interchange. I have been to Hampton many times and can only find remains of a siding between the old Southern line to Palatka and the SAL mainline. Thanks in advance, Allen L. Wiener, Ocala, FL

-- Allen L. Wiener (SouRwy@aol.com), April 11, 2002


Good question, Allen. I may have a partial answer, but it will require someone who has an old Southern Railway rule book or direct knowledge of the subject to provide the complete answer. The rule book shows the various symbols that are used on the schedule pages of employee timetables to designate facilities such as wyes, water stations, telephone or telegraph and train order offices (day/night, etc.). I think I let the two rule books that I had get away from me. Therefore, my only information comes from several GS&F timetables in my collection going back to about 1916 but I don't have the list of symbols from the rule book to interpret them with. Timetable No. 39, effective March 27, 1927 (this would have been when the Hampton interchange was active with a passenger train, the Suwannee River Special I believe, handing off to the Seaboard at Hampton and also a freight to the north originating and terminating there) shows a letter "Y" by Valdosta, Lake City, Sampson City, Hampton and Palatka. These are all interchange points and crossings at grade. Although it could mean something different, I believe the Y could mean that there was a wye at these stations. However, it is also possible that Y signifies yard limits at these stations. Since the timetable special instructions lists yard limits at each of these stations, if I had to guess I would say the Y stands for wye. The symbols W (Water?) and C(coal?) are also used. Coal at Valdosta and Palatka, and water at Valdosta, Jasper, Lake City, Sampson City, Lake Geneva and Palatka. To further complicate the matter, Timetable No. 36, effective October 6, 1925, also shows the passenger train and an originating and terminating freight at Hampton, but does not show a Y to indicate there was a wye at that time.

Perhaps a reader has a Southern Rule book that describes the symbols I have mentioned above which should provide a definitive answer.

Although stranger things have happened in railroading, I don't really believe the GS&F (Southern) would have required their engines to run all the way to Palatka, or back up to Valdosta. In fact, I believe that if a backup movement had been required it would have been mentioned in the special instructions for special precautions, probably a speed restriction of 25 mph.

I believe your question assumes, as I do, that the motive power was exchanged at Hampton and not run through on the other railroad.

It is interesting to note that the No. 6, the northbound Suwannee River Special, was required by special instructions to wait indefinitely for the Seaboard connection.

Russell Tedder

-- Russell Tedder (srtedder@arkansas.net), April 11, 2002.

One further note for what it's worth. I have GS&F ETT #37 effective October 19, 1925. This is the next issue following #36 previously mentioned that did not show the symbol "Y" at Hampton. No. 37 does show a "Y" symbol which means whatever change in this regard took place betweeen #36, October 6, 1925 and #37, October 19, 1925, a span of two weeks.

Russell Tedder

-- Russell Tedder (srtedder@arkansas.net), April 11, 2002.

Once again, for what it's worth. Pure speculation this time. Based on Joe Oates response on the ACLSALHS Q&A Forum about a wye possibly on the SAL side at Hampton, the thought had occurred to me that perhaps the GS&F had an arrangement to use the SAL wye in connection with their through operation of the Suwannee River Special, Florida Sunbeam, etc. If this was the case, I see no reason why the GS&F would not have designated in their timetable that there was a wye at Hampton, albeit on the SAL side, it would have been available for use by the GS&F under whatever arrangement they would have had.

Russell Tedder

-- Russell Tedder (srtedder@arkansas.net), April 12, 2002.

I have copy of the Official Guide dated January 1910 and the Valdosta-Palatka line schedules show two trains scheduled between Valdosta and Palatka. Southbound trains 11 & 13 are scheduled at Hampton 8:44 PM and 8:47 AM while northbound trains 12 and 14 are scheduled for 7:04 AM and 7;45 PM. oth trains are scheduled through to Palatka so at this time (1910) there seems to be have been no need for a wye for the passenger trains on GS&F at Hamp

-- John Thomas (jwtoct16@aol.com), May 02, 2002.

I hope this helps in answering the "Hampton wye" question. Being a railfan from my youth, I remember in the 1970s begging my parents to cut through Hampton on our way to Gainesville from Jacksonville. From the grade crossing of County Road 18 in Hampton, one could clearly see the junction of the GS&F with the SAL. The SAL main line was a single track that ran in a NNE to SSW direction from Baldwin to Waldo. The GS&F line was a single track coming in from Valdosta from the NW and it split into two tracks. One curved sharply northward and joined the SAL northbound. The other curved gently southward and joined the SAL southbound just in front of the SAL station that sat on the east side of the track. I remember both the SAL and GS&F shared the same track for 20 to 30 feet before the GS&F branched off in a gentle curve southeasterly toward Palatka. The CR 18 grade crossing is just to the south this branch. I remember the CR18 crossed three tracks because there also was a siding that parrelled this GS&F curve as well. The GS&F station, if there was one, was probably located here. I am not familiar of any railroads sharing a single track for such a short distance. My theory is that years ago the old siding was once the main GS&F line from Palatka and it crossed over the SAL with no sharing of SAL's track. In later, friendlier years the two companies redesigned the crossing as a junction. Of course this is only speculation. I did pull up detailed map of Hampton from mapquest that shows the "Y" configuration north of the station. Perhaps the Bradford County Courthouse or the Bradford newspaper in Starke has photos. The town of Hampton is still a viable community. Someone there should have photos as well. Thanks for your time. Hope this helps.

-- John Hendricks (MarilynF150@aol.com), July 11, 2002.

Gentlemen there was a wye at Hampton, that conected with the SAL main line. The wye came of the GS&F line west of Hampton on to the SAL main line. The northern side of the wye was removed in the mid 1940s as only through trains were going to Palatka. After Southern started interchanging with SAL in Jacksonville, there was no need to have a wye at Hampton. I have maps from the county showning the track configuration for the Hampton area from 1927 thru 1945. The question is solved. Many thanks for all who gave an answer. Allen Wiener

-- Allen Wiener (SouRwy@aol.com), August 28, 2002.

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