The most important A-line route ran from Jacksonville through Palatka and through Sanford to Tampa. The Jacksonville to Sanford portion was developed by the Plant System's Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West railroad, and the South Florida Railroad was the first to reach Tampa from Sanford by the end of 1883. This line is still in use by CSX today, and is also the route for Amtrak passenger trains.
The other major A-line route from Jacksonville veered west from Palatka to Rochelle, then southward to Tampa via Lakeland in 1885-86. The line was built from Palatka to Croom by the Plant System's Florida Southern Railroad, and the remaining part between Croom and Lakeland was built by the Plant System's South
Florida Railroad. The portion between Palatka and Trilby lasted only until the ACL-SAL merger in the late 1960s.
A Jacksonville route to Pinellas County was opened up on the former Orange Belt Railway line from Trilby after the narrow gauge track was changed to standard in 1895. The portion between Trilby and Clearwater lasted only until the ACL-SAL merger in the late 1960s.
The Tampa & Thonotosassa Railroad, a subsidiary of the Plant System, laid out a13-mile route between the two cities in 1893. In 1901, the Plant System extended the line northward to meet the old Lakeland route that had been built by the South Florida Railroad. That connection became known as Vitis Junction. The portion between Trilby and Vitis lasted only until the ACL-SAL merger in the late 1960s.
Finally, a new direct route to the Midwest from Croom via Dunnellon and Perry was opened by the ACL in 1927, but this 'Perry Cutoff' was never as successful as expected. The route lasted only until the ACL-SAL merger in the late 1960s.
See more images of the Plant System routes on the following linked pages:
Tampa Bay Lines North