Mossy Head to Eglin Air Force Base

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  • States: Florida   
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The railroad tracks of Eglin Air Force Base have been abandoned since the late 1970s. Photo by Julian Kohl, March 2009.

In 1941, the U.S. Government began considering to build a railroad line that would serve the various areas of the massive Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. 10 years later, 45 miles of track were operational, and accessed two auxiliary air fields and an ammunition dump, among other pertinent locations. (The tracks were re-constructed from the Clairborne and Polk Railroad at Camp Polk, Louisiana, which was abandoned in 1945.) The railroad, called the B&F, or the "Back & Forth", had a single connection to the outside world at Mossy Head, where it interchanged with a Louisville & Nashville line (still in use today by CSX). It was operated under the Air Proving Ground Command's transportation division, and utilized three ALCO RSD-1 military diesel-electric locomotives, which have since been donated to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

The line was abandoned in the late 1970s; most of the tracks remain. A small section of track is still in use nearby the wye with the former Louisville & Nashville line.

If you have any further information about this military railroad (such as pictures, history, documents, etc), please email me at the link below. Thank you!

I remember traveling on I-10 way back in the early 80s and seeing a sign reading "U.S. Air Force RR" along the eastbound right-of-way before crossing the bridge over the railroad. God bless.

Chris
Cleveland, MS
5/20/2009

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Most people don't realize that the Eglin RR switched a sawmill in the Niceville, Fla. area...

JLS
Cantonment, FL
12/2/2009

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I am doing a study of this RR and am interested in any information related to its planning, design, construction, use, etc. to incorporate into a historic context.

Jan
Fort Walton Beach, FL
3/6/2011

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I have a few color slides of Eglin AFB equipment that I have collected over the years. Fascinating piece of a military RR.

Mike Walsdorf
Covington, LA
4/11/2013

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I have a few color slides of Eglin AFB equipment that I have collected over the years. Fascinating piece of a military RR.

Mike Walsdorf
Covington, LA
4/11/2013

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to Mike Walsdorf,

I don't know how to reply directly to you, so hope you check this site occasionally. I would love to talk to your. My office number is 8508039368!! Jan

Jan Campbell
Fort Walton Beach, FL
4/28/2013

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Dear mike my name is Sam chapman I live in rural DeFuniak springs I'm interested in the old rail-road that currently goes through the Eglin reservation I'm thinking of setting out with my back pack and survival gear to explore the tracks was wondering if you had any advice on the matter and or could tell me more about where the tracks go ie end up. I am a member of the DeFuniak springs florida writers group and I'm thinking about writing a story envolving the now abandond railway I can be reached at austinchapman77@yahoo.com or by phone at 850-428-6377 thank you

Austin chapman
DeFuniak springs , FL
3/17/2014

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I was stationed in 1955-1959 with the Roads & Grounds Section, 3201st Installations Group at Eglin AFB and remember we had a RR siding near our unit with some diesel locomotives that they said were returned from "lend lease" to the USSR in WW II. I also frequently had guard duty at the base sawmill near Niceville which belonged to the 3201st and seemed quite large wuth many civilian employees. There was a RR siding at the sawmill.

Art
North Bend, WA
9/28/2014

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Austin,

I was in DeFuniak Sprigs, Fla. yesterday. The depot looks real nice. Back in March you had asked me about the Eglin AFB RR and how to hike it!

The RR itself is mostly gone, I believe. At Mossy Head there is a wye still in place and goes under the I-10 interstate to a fench on the edge of Eglin AFB Federal property. So most of the RR is on Air Force property. I can be reached @ oilsc0ut@att.net.

Mike Walsdorf

Mike Walsdorf
Mandeville, LA
10/23/2014

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Does anyone know why there is still a RR connection at Mossy Head Florida. The tracks South of I-10 are all gone.

Mike Walsdorf
Mandeville, LA
10/23/2014

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Thank you Mike for your reply I am still interested in hiking the old Eglin rail road tracks, however I've been busy working one of my plans is to kind of make up a time capsule somehow and venture out to a random part of the railroad that still is visible and bury it yet leave clues in my writings as to the location of the capsule, kind of like a treasure hunt for future generations it may sound strange to some but to me sounds like something fun and it would give future generations of explorers and writers something to talk about my phone number has changed since august I can now be reached at 850-865-3442 I started a taxi cab business here in DeFuniak springs on D-Day of 2014 the number provided is my main business number. Thank you and have a great day.

Austin Chapman
DeFuniak springs , FL
10/23/2014

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I have seen and walked some of the remaining stretches in the pictures. I live 35 miles away from Eglin. Does anyone know if there was ever a special movement of passenger cars over this line transporting airmen or dignitaries, etc. at any time?

Maunsel White
Seagrove Beach, FL
10/23/2014

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Hello,

I have always had a fascination with old railroad tracks. When I'm on a road trip with my family, I always find and point out to our young boys old railroad mounds next to the road we are traveling on. My son's ask me how I know, and I point out the old mini bridges( I'm not sure on correct terminology ) , which are covered up by vegetation. The tracks are gone, but I can see the Man-made mound still clear in the trees. There is an old railroad mound with bridges running from north to south on Hwy 331. It starts near Florala ( state line of Florida and Alabama). I cannot find information on this old line. Hey 331 runs into Montgomery, Al.

One more thing, I have lived in Crestview since 1997, and was not aware of the railroad track on Eglin. I have access to Eglin, and a permit to go on the reserve. Where is this track? I am upset at myself for missing this track because I have been everywhere in the surrounding area. I also head to Mossyhead and Defuniak Springs on occasion, and only have seen the RR track which parallels old Hwy 90.

Thank you.

Maryann
Crestview, FL
4/19/2015

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Maryanne, the line you are talking about connected Crestview with Florala. The station is still i Florala and is a local history museum.

Maunsel White
Seagrove Beach, FL
4/20/2015

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I was involved in an environmental restoration project on Eglin and had a lot of contact with an employee. He told me that the track and equipment of the Eglin RR , though re-located from Ft. Polk in Louisiana, originally came back from Europe where it had been brought during WWII as part of the war effort.

Maunsel White
Seagrove Beach, FL
4/20/2015

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I have a picture of a steam locomotive that I believe was once on the Eglin RR. I also recall srories from a rail magazine in the 70's or 80's about a steam loco that was used as an air munitions target. How can I post this picture on this site?

Maunsel White
Seagrove Beach, FL
4/20/2015

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I have a picture of a steam locomotive that I believe was once on the Eglin RR. I also recall srories from a rail magazine in the 70's or 80's about a steam loco that was used as an air munitions target. How can I post this picture on this site?

Maunsel White

Seagrove Beach, FL

4/20/2015

Hi, I would like to see those pictures Maunsel if possible? I have been looking for former LS&I #32 which was bought and shipped to Elgin for target practice. I would like to know if this locomotive is still laying in pieces someplace abandoned on the base? Or was it scrapped? Any kind of proof of the #32 being destroyed and later disposal would be greatly appreciated.

Robert

Goldsboro, NC.

Robert Lewis
Goldsboro, NC
11/20/2015

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Robert Lewis, my e-mail is maunsel.white@mchsi.com Send me an e-mail, and I'll send you the photo of the steam locomotive.

Msunsel White
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
11/20/2015

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