The Tampa Southern Railroad route to Sarasota

The Tampa Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the Atlantic Coast Line, was organized in 1917. By 1920, the Tampa Southern had constructed a line from Bradenton to Sarasota. The line was extended to the Fruitville area in December 1924, and a freight platform was used as a temporary depot until a permanent one was completed at Sarasota's Main Street and School Avenue in October 1925. That depot would continued to support passenger operations until May 1, 1971.

In May of 1925, the ACL received permission to build a railroad line from Sarasota to Southfort via Utopia and Sidell, to merge with the ACL line from Lakeland.

The SAL merged with the ACL in July 1967 to form the Seaboard Coast Line, and consolidation of operations soon followed (see map).

The former SAL passenger route to Venice was preserved after the SCL merger, but from Bradenton northward only the former ACL line and former Bradenton ACL depot still survive along this rail route to Tampa. The depot was closed after Amtrak decided to service major routes only. The former ACL depot was converted to office and retail space, and still stands. The line is now used in CSX freight service.

The short line Seminole Gulf Railway took over the former CSX track from Oneco southward in 1988.

See more images of Lines South to Sarasota and Bradenton.

Recommended Reading

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

Tampa Bay Lines South

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