By that time most of its main line was
double-tracked between Florida and Virginia, and it had put in
Centralized Traffic Control and automatic block signaling to more
efficiently handle train movements (especially on its signal-track
segments, where CTC is predominantly used). The railroad had also
become a high-speed highway and freights were flying up and down the
coast averaging 50 mph.
The ACL also had a thriving passenger business for
years, once again due to its well-positioned north-south routing.
Because the railroad served literally the entirety of Florida it
handled a number of trains coming from all different directions
as travelers flocked to the state's sunny, tropical beaches.
|Seaboard Coast Line GP38-2 #535 rolls light through the West Columbia yard in South Carolina during May of 1986.|
This strategic positioning of handling so many Florida-bound trains,
coupled with its own passenger fleet, the railroad enjoyed the very rare
privilege of the passenger business being profitable, even into
the 1950s and 1960s when many railroads were bowing out of the market.
The ACL was so successful that it even continued to build new stations
and depots into the 1960s! As a result it’s interesting to
wonder what the future may have held for the company had the
railroad not merged. Alas, this was the ACL’s fate like so many
others during the same period. Mergers, if planned and implemented
correctly can save a railroad millions of dollars down the road and this
was the very reason behind the merger with Seaboard Air Line, discussing the option seriously as early as the late 1950s.
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
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Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
Steam Locomotive Roster
|C Through C-8||American||4-4-0|
|D, D-2 Through D-7||American||4-4-0|
|E Through E-13||Switcher||0-6-0|
|F Through F-5||American||4-4-0|
|G Through G-5||Mogul||2-6-0|
|I, I-1, I-3||Atlantic||4-4-2|
|K Through K-16||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|L-1 Through L-4||Consolidation||2-8-0|
|P Through P-5||Pacific||4-6-2|
Notable Passenger Trains
It should be noted that the ACL reached New York via the
Pennsylvania Railroad and eastern Florida via the Florida East Coast
Railway. The railroad likewise ferried other railroads most prestigious
trains to and from Florida.
Champion: (New York/Boston - Miami)
Everglades: (New York - Jacksonville)
Florida Special: (New York - Miami/St. Petersburg)
Gulf Coast Special: (New York - Tampa/Ft. Myers/St. Petersburg)
Havana Special: Connected New York with Key West until
the devastating 1935 Hurricane which destroyed the Florida East Coast's
Key West Extension.
Miamian: (Washington - Miami)
Palmetto: (New York - Savannah/Augusta/Wilmington)
Vacationer: (New York - Miami)
|Seaboard Coast Line GP40 #1512 and a trio of other units work their way with a freight train through Atlanta, Georgia during May of 1978.|
While the two companies were fierce competitors, similar to the
Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central who would also merge during
the same period, the difference between here was that the ACL and SAL
had spent many years planning their new system in an effort to ensure the
marriage would go smoothly. Such efforts would pay off as the new
Seaboard Coast Line, which began service officially on July 1, 1967. The new SCL system became a very
profitable venture for 13 years before merger mania again struck during the 1980s. A series of consolidations during the 1980s, including a final union between the Seaboard System and Chessie System formed today’s CSX Transportation
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Other Classic Railroads Of The South
CoG, "The Right Way"
IC, "Main Line Of Mid-America"
FEC, "Flagler System"
C&O, "George Washington's Railroad"
GM&O, "The Rebel Route"
L&N, "The Dixie Line"
NC&StL, "The Dixie Line"
N&W, "Precision Transportation"
Norfolk Southern (Original)
Oneida & Western
RF&P, "Linking North & South"
Seaboard, "Through The Heart Of The South"
Southern..."Serves The South"
The "TAG" Route
TC, "The Nashville Route"
AN, "The Port St. Joe Route"
A&StAB, "The Bay Line"
L&C, "The Springmaid Line"
Sandersville, "The Kaolin Road"
AD&N, "Serving Southern Forests"
D&S, "Service With Courtesy"
The "Tweetsie," ET&WNC
F&C, "The Kentucky Midland Route"