Sanford to Sorrento

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Old ACL/SCL line between Mount Dora and Sanford, 5 miles east of Mount Dora looking east. The Florida Central Railroad operates the line from Mount Dora out to this point, which is near Sorrento. Photo by Madison Holmes.

This abandoned railway line was apparently built by the South Florida Railway sometime before 1893 and extended from Sanford to Mount Dora and Tavares, where it hooked up with the old Saint Johns and Lake Eustis Railway which served Eustis, Fort Mason, Umatilla to Astor, and from Fort Mason to Leesburg. All of this trackage came under the control of the ACL in 1893. The section from Sanford to Sorrento, which is a few miles east of Mount Dora, served until the SCL era. It was apparently abandoned in the early 1980s. The section from Sorrento through Mount Dora to Tavares, and from Tavares through Eustis to Fort Mason and Umatilla is still operated by the Florida Central Railroad. The Florida Central also operates former SAL trackage from Tavares through Plymouth to Orlando.

The former right-of-way crosses over FL Route 46 numerous times between Sorrento and Sanford. The right-of-way is easy to make out in most places.

Thanks to Madison Holmes for contributing information about this route.

It looks like the Sorrento branch might be completely gone soon enough. The track is no longer used between Tavares and Mt. Dora. FCEN stores cars back East of Mt. Dora but who knows how long the tracks will hold together before they have to pull them out before it gets worse. This line is currently excepted, washed-out, track.

Unknown
Orlando, FL
3/29/2010

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To add to the above comment,the "Inland Lakes" Railroad, a tourist train out of Eustis which used the tracks from Eustis to Tavares, has gone out of business I'm sad to say, so the tracks in that area are not used to my knowledge. There is a very small amount of industry west of Tavares that may get some freight traffic, but from there east through Mt. Dora there appears to be no train activity. The "Mt. Dora Doodlebug", another tourist attraction, also folded due to the economic downturn. Very sad to see this scenic rail line going to rust and disuse.

Ron Thuemler
Tampa, FL
8/21/2011

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http://www.orangeblossomcannonball.com/special-events/ The train leaves out of Tavares and features a wood burning engine, very entertaining!

curtis johnson
Ocala, FL
10/28/2012

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