Durant to Willow

The Sarasota Subdivision

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Picture of the abandoned Little Manatee River bridge used by the SAL/SCL along the route. According to a few sources, the bridge was built c. 1902. Photo by Harvey Henkelmann.

This abandoned railway line wyed off from an existing phosphate line in Durant, FL and ran south to Sarasota, FL--a distance of 69.7 miles. The line was constructed in 1895 and had nine stations, the major ones being Sarasota and Venice. These nine stations in order heading south are: Durant, Wimauma, Parrish, Palmetto Jct., Bradenton, Oneco, Sarasota, Bee Ridge, and Venice. A line also extended from Durant to Turkey Creek further to the North. In 1903, the first passenger train arrived in Sarasota. The line was extended into Osprey and Laurel in 1910 and in 1927 the first passenger train arrived in Venice. This was also the route of the Tropicana train up until 1967--when the Seaboard/Coastline merger occured. Most of the thru trains were discontinued at this point and were re-routed through the ACL line that currently runs between Tampa and Bradenton, although work train still serviced industries on the Sarasota sub line up until 1981. The CSX acquisition spelled doom and gloom for the Sarasota sub from Durant to Willow--the only purpose this portion of the line served was for storage of cars near Durant until early 1986 when the cars were removed--then the tracks shortly thereafter from the wye in Durant through Willow--where a spur of tracks lead into the Florida Power Plant. The Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum currently operates excursion trains from Parrish to Willow and the line south of Parrish to Bradenton was recently cleaned up to transport transformers to the power plant.

Thanks to Harvey Henkelmann for contributing information about this route.

Used to be a plauque on the railroad tressel that said it was built in 1913, I used to go there in the 70's, it was once a place used for 4x4's most every weekend, and camped there frequently. The plaque was riveted on the northwest section of the bridge.

Dave
Riverview, FL
10/29/2011

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I have a 1971 SCL Timetable listing the route from Durant to Palmetto as the Parrish Subdivision. (The Sarasota Sub was further south)

Eugene Cain
Hardeeville, SC
11/17/2011

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The spur the extends toward the east just south of FishHawk Ranch can still be see in Boyette Scrub Park. There is a ton of track and still some existing tressels can be seen in this area. The area where the track ran through the fishhawk area actually marks the division between FHR and the Channing Park neighborhoods. It is soon to become a place where power lines run.

James
Lithia, FL
5/6/2014

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