Jupiter to Juno

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  • States: Florida   
  • Railroads: J&LW   

The Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad

The Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad, or the "Celestial Railroad", was a short narrow-gauge line that was built along the eastern coast of Florida between its namesake towns. Construction of the 3-foot gauge line began in 1888, and freight/passenger operations commenced the following year.

It was called the "Celestial Railroad" due to fictional stops named "Mars" and "Venus" (along with the line's terminus at Jupiter).

In 1894, the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Indian River Railroad built a parallel line approximately 1.5 miles west of the Celestial Railroad; this Henry Flagler property slowly garnered traffic away from the Celestial Railroad, which forced the small line into abandonment in 1895, a mere 6 years after it first turned a wheel. The railbed remained, however, along with some of its infrastructure; rails remained in place until the 1930s, and wooden ties were left to nature (one tie was found along the former right-of-way as late as 1998, and was donated to the town of Juno Beach).

Today, surprisingly, over 100 years after the line's abandonment, the flat grading of the former right-of-way can still be seen in the northeast corner of Juno Dunes Natural Area, if one knows where to find it.

The book at the link below describes a detailed tracing of the Celestial Railroad in 1982; the article starts on page 5 and runs to page 22.

Sorry to say that the Jupiter and Lake Worth ran further than Juno. Those were only the first 2 stations. There were 2 more, plus it reached the waters of Lake Worth as it was used to connect steamship lines. Flagler used it initially when building his Palm Beach resort.

The Tap Lines web site has a nice write up on it, including the station list.

Walt Aardsma
Jefferson City, MO
10/26/2013

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Maps & historical data from UF, and my own recent visits to the area via US1/FL5 force me to disagree with comments about J&LW Railways route. The line ran from its dock on the Jupiter Inlet to its docks at the north end of Lake Worth, Florida. The "stops", in order N to S were: Jupiter Inlet, Venus (no building, just a platform), Mars (about half way), then on to termination at Juno docks (above). It was only 7.5 miles, from Jupiter Inlet to Juno, and the waters. The fare was 10 cents a mile, and Flagler objected to the "high price", and ultimately built his FEC to the west of the J&LW and effectively killed the little Plant/Steamboat connecting line. J&LW had no other connection to FEC.

LEO H. SOREL
PEMBROKE PINES, FL
10/28/2016

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/pc3
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