Dupont, GA to Alachua, FL
— User Comments —
In High Springs, FL there used to be a big Yard with a Round house and shops. The Round house and shops are gone but the yard is stell use but now is only three tracks. The tracks end on the west side of the Yard and end about one mile east of town.
The line was intact from High Springs to DuPont until 1983. There are some good pictures on the internet of the fueling facility in the High Springs Yard. The line was originally part of the Plant System. The yard in High Springs was a division point and had a big facility up until the switch over to Diesel. The line from High Springs to East Alachua survived until the 70's. It is now a spur running through downtown and continuing to the Prime Conduit Plant and a Molasses storage facility. From there it continued to Alachua; and where it passed under I-75 is still there. Some of the roadbed can be scene. Where the Capital Bank is, was the former East Alachua Station. There were spurs for loading watermelon and tobacco. The line swept around and crossed the Seaboard, then rejoined the main line at Burnetts Lake, about where the overpass for 441 is. While there was some talk of reviving part of the line from High Springs through Ft White to the Suwanee American Cement plant, the downturn in the economy killed that. Pinsley Rail tried to make the line work; but at about 400-600 carloads, it was a loss.. Now the line has been put up for abandonment by CSX. Hopefully a trail can be made out of the right away.
The trackage from High Springs to Dupont infact remained in use until early in 1988 when CSX abandoned the line. This was during the time CSX was getting rid of much excess trackage. The route extended all the way to Owensboro and beyond to Vitis. CSX rerouted all the through traffic to the S Line, thus eliminating the need for this western most freight route. Before it was abandoned, there were 20-25 trains operating each day here. A portion remains in use from Newberry through Dunnellon to Crystal River to service the Power Facility located there. This route was once very prominate in the ACL route map. CTC had been installed as far as Dunnellon and was scheduled to go all the way to Waycrosss via Dupont. The SCL merger brought that project to a halt as the nearby S Line would become the primary freight route for the new SCL.
My grandfather was the construction supervisor for the bridge over the Suwannee River. He met my Grandmother, who lived in Suwannee Station, during the project. They later owned a farm just a 1/4 mile from the Station. During WWII, my Aunt and Uncle lived there and farmed tobacco. I spent summers there. The tracks ran just beyond the front fence; but, during the war carried only freight--mostly tree stumps for processing in Georgia. There were only a couple of trains each day; but, I can close my eyes and smell the smoke and hear them blowing for the crossing.
One of the treats in the summer, was to swim in the Suwannee River at the railroad bridge. We would occasionally go to the Springs, but mostly to the river.
My last summer there was in 1947, where I celebrated my 12h birthday; and worked in the harvest as a mule skinner. At that time rural Suwannee Country still had no electricity--and of course no indoor plumbing.
I went back in the '90s, and of course everything had changed and the tracks were gone.
Sadly in 2016 the row was abandoned in High Springs, FL along with what was left of the yard.