Railroad to Labelle?

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I know that the ACL ran from Harrisburg (Palmdale) to Everglades City, FL passing close to the town of Labelle. The closest that line got to it was a location on SR 80 west of Labelle called Goodno. However, I could have sworn that I saw a map at one point that showed a branch of some railroad line that went directly into Labelle itself. When I attempted to find this reference again, I found maps from the early 1900's (no railroads in region) and the 1960's (line from Palmdale to almost Everglades City, cut back at that time to Sunniland, I believe). Was I imagining this, or did some line actually go into Labelle? If so, was it associated with the SAL/ACL, or was it some type of cattle/citrus/logging railroad that didn't last very long. Please help:)

-- Tom Waltz (twaltz@bellsouth.net), December 02, 2002


No, you weren't imagining anything. The line most recently ran from Palmdale to Sunniland but the tracks were pulled up about 15 years ago. The line actually north and south and passed through Goodno about 10 miles EAST of Labelle, then south to Keri, Immokalee and Sunniland mine. The turnout in Palmdale is now only about 200 yards long and is used as a wood yard by Lee Wood and Timber. The other side of the switch is the mainline to Clewiston used by SCFE.

-- Milton Bell (DoxfordBoom@aol.com), November 25, 2004.

Tom, you may wish to consult the 3rd Quarter, 2001 issue of Lines South magazine. My article on the Seaboard's extension to Fort Myers and its branch to LaBelle is covered. (Or, see my 'Railroads of Southwest Florida' which is available from the Society's bookstore). Contact me off-line if I can be of further help. It was widely circulated that the Seaboard would continue the LaBelle branch around the southern side Lake Okeechobee to WPB, but this never occurred.

-- Gregg Turner (gturnerfamily@webtv.net), December 05, 2002.

Tom, The SAL built the line to LaBelle in 1927, and began to abandoned it beginning in 1942, when the line was cut back 13 miles west to Alva, owing to diminished traffic and prohibitive maintenance costs. The remainder of the Alva-Ft. Myers line was taken up sometime in the early 1950's. The Seaboard depot in LaBelle still stands though. After having been relocated several times, it became a travel agency/insurance agency south of downtown.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), December 03, 2002.

Tom, you weren't imagining anything! A branch of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad extended from Fort Myers to LaBelle. This line generally paralleled the south side of the Caloosahatchee River. It was abandoned in the late 1950's - early 1960's. Aaron Dowling (aarondowling@cfl.rr.com)

-- Aaron Dowling (aarondowling@cfl.rr.com), December 03, 2002.

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