Harrisburg to Everglades City

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This abandoned railway line was built in the 1920s when Everglades City, at the southern end of Florida, was the headquarters of the Colliers' enterprises in the southwest part of the state.

The line was abandoned in sections: the line from Everglades City up north to Sunniland, about 22 miles, was abandoned in 1957, with the remainder of the line to Harrisburg following in 1980s. At Harrisburg, a still-active CSX line comes south out of Palmdale, wyes with this abandoned line, and then heads southeast to Moore Haven.

Today, nothing exists except for the grade crossing at US Route 41 and FL Route 29. The former turning wye at Everglades City can be easily made out in satellite imagery as it juts out into adjacent Lake Placid.

Lee Cypress Railroad: The Lee Cypress Railroad was a small logging operation that transported cypress trees for more than 40 years, ending after World War II. The LCRR crossed this abandoned line at Copeland, FL. Traces of it are hard to find today; only a small piece of the LCRR is marked on the map near Copeland.

Thanks to Don Printz for contributing information about this route.

At Carnestown, Florida (four miles north of Everglades City) so much winter fruit and vegetables were shipped north that five refrigerator cars a day were leaving this one station.

Though the 60s and 70s, Immokalee was still shipping over two trains a day of refrigerator cars (some were pigs at the end of this) full of vegetables.

Don Printz
Palmdale, FL
4/16/2010

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People driving Florida highway 80 between LaBelle and Clewiston can still see where this line crossed the highway. ROW on either side of the road is clearly visible for some distance on either side.

Dave Rotthoff
North Fort Myers,, FL
5/19/2010

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Is the track still in place on this line or is it just the right or way?

John Boden
Delray Beach, FL
5/31/2011

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@John Boden: The rails were pulled up a long time ago - south of Immokalee I think they were pulled up in the 60's. In the 80's you could still find mileposts between US41 and Copeland, but I doubt they're still there. The right of way is still more or less visible from Copeland most of the way to Immokalee, parallel to FL29 - south of Copeland it has become a road, and near Immokalee it has been hidden by agricultural development.

John
Fort Lauderdale, FL
2/17/2012

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The rail road bed is still visible on sr 29 south of interstate 75 near leecypress a town named a town named after lee tidewater"s cypress co. As you turn in to leecypress the first turn to the left now a residences is the old bed and runs all the way to the property still the colliers at us 41, to the home of Everglades private airboat tours . ( www.evergladesairboattours,cc ) From us 41 south it runs 4 miles down to florida boat tours on dupont island ( www.floridaboattours.com ) . If you use these points on google maps satellite you should find a very strait line with one crook that mirror's sr 29 in to everglades city fl. All the tressals across the canels have fallen in the last few years but are very evident by boat.

mitchell house
Everglades City, FL
9/16/2012

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I remember the rails from Palmdale south to Immokalee being pulled up in 1989 or so. Just prior to them being pulled up, I approached the grade crossing at Ortona on SR 78 and the crossing lights were flashing and the gates were down. But there was no train. I believe a locomotive had probably passed by to retrieve some ancient gondola cars being stored on the line where it crossed SR 80 east of LaBelle. The rail bed and rails were in a deplorable state, and it amazed me that anyone would try and drive a locomotive down the tracks and cross the river to get these cars, but I bet that is what happened. Soon thereafter, the railroad pulled up the rails and ties and the right-of-way was gated off.

Rick
Cape Canaveral, FL
1/10/2013

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