South Central Florida Express short line from Sebring since 1994

At the extreme eastern edge of the Tampa Bay region, the ACL Haines City branch was built to the Glades County region in 1912. Taking advantage of lumber harvests in the south, the line was extended to Immokalee in 1916 and finally to additional forested lands at Everglades City via Sunniland in the mid to late 1920s. Passengers traveling this route were usually carried on local mixed trains with freight cars (often also containing sugar cane and produce for customers in the North) that required frequent stops.

Business on the line was good until the Depression years. During World War II, business picked up, but ACL stockholders were told not to expect it to continue. For one thing, forest production was steadily decreasing the number of available trees. The ACL began to abandon parts of their lines in 1958, starting near Everglades City and eventually withdrawing back to the Sunniland area.

In 1994, the U.S. Sugar Company purchased 156 miles of south Florida track, including part of the former CSX track south of Sebring. Shipments of sugar products are transferred directly with CSX at Sebring (along with an indirect connection to CSX at the east shore of Lake Okeechobee beyond Pahokee).

The simplified map shows the route and branches (blue lines) of today's the South Central Florida Express short line, including some rail routes of the former ACL Haines City branch.

South Central Florida Express short line from Sebring since 1994
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See more images of the South Central Express.

Recommended Reading

Turner, Gregg M., Railroads of Southwest Florida, Arcadia Publishing, 1999

Tampa Bay Lines South


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