perry cut off : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Doing school prject need info on the perry cut off,1.what railroads were meet at perry cut off and where the were gong,why is call the perry off and info trains ran though perry to crosscity,wilcox,chiefland and trenton,where any passager trans when was the last one and friegt trains when was the last one from perry heading south where was heading chifland or trenton any other info would be real helpful thank you

-- bill merkel (, November 18, 2002


I will try to answer some of your questions. This is off the top of my head so dates may be only approximate. The purpose of the Cutoff was to close a gap in the ACL line on the West Coast of Florida, between Monticello and Perry, Fla., that would open a through line from Chicago and other midwestern points to Tampa-St. Petersburg and other West Coast destinations. The entire line between Thomasville and Dunnellon, more than just the new construction, then became known as the Perry Cutoff. Previously, traffic to the West Coast had to route via Jacksonville which became extremely congested during the "Boom Days" of the Roaring 20s." Thousands of carloads of freight were embargoed and held at northern points because of the congestion at Jacksonville. The Cutoff had been talked about and considered since early in the 20th Century, however, the urgency of the congestion in the mid-1920s provided the stimulus to close the gap. Prior to opening the Cutoff, the ACL came into Perry from the south with trains originating at High Springs and running through Newberry, Trenton, Wilcox and Cross City to reach Perry. Interestingly, due to standardization of directions on railroads, the timetable direction of trains from Wilcox to Perry was south, although the line was almost actually due north. The first railroad to reach Perry was the Suwannee & San Pedro from Live Oak via Mayo to Perry which arrived in 1903. The name was changed to Florida Ry. in 1905. The next was the West Coast Ry. which was opened from Greenville to Perry, Fla., in 1904. The WC was owned by the Oglesbys who owned the South Georgia Ry. When completed, the road was leased for 20 years to the South Georgia which operated it as the South Georgia & West Coast. At the end of the lease the WC was merged into the South Georgia. The next road into Perry was the Live Oak Perry and Gulf which arrived in Perry and Hampton Springs, Fla. in 1906. Due to the Atlantic Coast Line's backing of the LOP&G and its lumber interests connections, the competing Florida Ry. was unable to survive and was abandoned about 1916. The fourth road into Perry was the ACL which arrived from the south in 1908. ACL trains operated from High Springs via Newberry, Trenton, Wilcox and Cross City to Perry. The last railroad to enter Taylor County, but did not reach Perry, was the Tallahassee Perry & Southeastern which extended from Tallahassee to Covington, Fla., on the Taylor County side of the Aucilla river in 1907. It was extended another 11 miles to Waylonzo, toward Perry, which was only used for logging. In 1909 the TP&SE was merged into the Seaboard, which owned it and as late as the mid to late 1920s still planed to extend southward to a connection with the SAL at Archer, Fla. Construction was started between Perry and Waylonzo in the mid-1920s but was abruptly stopped about 1925. It was alleged that the ACL and SAL were in collusion as to which road would build down the West Coast of Florida and agreed that the SAL would pull out and the ACL would build the Perry Cutoff. When the Cutoff was completed in 1927 Perry was called the "West Coast Gateway to Florida." However, although the Cutoff was built to relieve congestion through the Jacksonville Gateway, regular traffic on the line consisted of local mixed trains between Thomasville and Perry, Perry and High Springs via Cross City and Wilcox, and Wilcox and Dunnellon. No doubt the Crash of 1929 and the ensuring Depression affected the traffic that otherwise might have been routed over the Perry Cutoff. In December 1928 the "Southland," a passenger train from Chicago and the midwest, that since its inception about 1915 had been routed through Jacksonville was rerouted over the Cutoff between Chicago and Tampa-St. Petersburg. It ran over the Central of Georgia from Atlanta to Albany then over ACL from Albany to Tampa-St. Petersburg. The Southland was taken off in November 1957. Other traffic was mostly incidental such as many troop trains during WWII, circus trains, special convention trains, etc. In the 1940s a scheduled through freight train, named the Blue Goose,was put on between Tampa and Thomasville over the Perry Cutoff. It was taken off in the early 1950s. Also from the mid-1940s until about 1957, three 40 car log trains per week of the Lee Tidewater Cypress Company were operated between the Everglades and the cypress company's mill at Perry, a 400 mile run that required two crews. As to the last train south out of Perry I would have to research my files. Let me know if it is important to have the exact date but I would guess in the early 1980s. The line from Thomasville to Perry (actually Foley, 5 miles south of Perry and site of a pulp mill) was abandoned in 1991 and CSXT trains were routed over its own tracks to Quitman, Ga., and then over Norfolk Southern's Live Oak Perry & South Georgia Ry. (the merged LOP&G and SG) between Quitman and Foley via Perry. In 1955 NS sold the former LOP&SG line between Adel and Foley which is owned and operated today by Georgia & Florida RailNet. The CSXT still operates between Thomasville and Foley over CSXT to Quitman and G&FR from Quitman to Foley and return. This is a hurried reply to your question. I believe it is accurate but is stricly from memory. I hope it is helpful.

-- Russell Tedder (, November 18, 2002.

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