A Chicago Train Connecting Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad

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Atlantic Coast Line
Summer 1941

ACL Herald

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) was an American railroad that existed between 1898 and July 1, 1967, when it merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, its long-time rival, to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. The company was headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida (Wilmington, North Carolina before 1961).(wik) The ACL operated extensive trackage in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Its main line ran from a connection with the Richmond Fredeericksburg and Potomac, at Richmond, Virginia southward along the Atlantic Coast to Jacksonville, Florida where it connected to the Florida East Coast Railway. New York to Miami trains traveled on the Pennsylvania to Washington, the RF&P to Richmond, either the ACL or Seaboard Air Line Railway to Jacksonville, and the FEC to Miami. In 1938 the ACL placed into service from New York to Miami, it's lightweight diesel-electric powered luxury train the Champion to compete with the SAL's Silver Meteor. The ACL also had lines from Jacksonville to Florida inland and west coast cities of St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota. In the 30's and 40's Chicago trains headed to Florida on

Seaboard Coast Line
July 1, 1967
the C&EI, Illinois Central and Pennsylvania Railroads used the ACL for portions of their trips.(rp) After several more mergers and consolidations, the former ACL is now part of CSX Transportation, also headquartered in Jacksonville, FL.
Short History of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was a product of numerous mergers of dozens of smaller lines in the last three decades of the nineteenth century.
1830 - Petersburg Railroad chartered (PRR).
1833 - PRR completed from Petersburg, VA with trackage rights to Weldon, NC.
1836 - Richmond and Petersburg Railroad chartered (R&P).
1838 - R&P completed Petersburg to Richmond, Virginia.
1835-40 - Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad constructed to Weldon in northeastern North Carolina.
1846 - Wilmington and Manchester chartered
1850 - W&M builds to Camden.
1851 - Northeastern Railroad (NE) chartered in SC.
1855 - W&R name changed to Wilmington and Weldon Railroad (W&W).
1856 - NE, from Charleston, SC connects to W&M at Florence.
1870 - W&M reorganized as Wilmington, Columbia & Augusta.
1872 - WC&A leases W&W to get through line to Wilmington, and Atlantic Coast Line is used as an advertising tool.
1873 - WC&A reaches Columbia but not Augusta.
1878 - WC&A in bancruptcy and W&W lease cancelled.
1879-80 - WC&A sold and reorganized under same name.
1871-1896 - Other lines in the Carolinas and Virginia were acquired and various joint ownership and partnership agreements were established.
1887 - Chowan and Southern Railroad chartered (C&S).
1889-90 - C&S renamed Norfolk and Southern Railroad and opens line from Hampton Roads to connect with W&W.
1889 - Atlantic Coast Line Company formed as holding company for the system of railroads forming from Richmond, VA to Augusta, GA.
1897 - Stock of Charleston & Western Carolina purchased to give access to Augusta, GA.
1897 - ACL begins state by state organizations.
1897-98 - The various South Carolina lines (not including the C&WC) were consolidated into a new company, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company of South Carolina.
1898 - ACL of Virginia organized, as the merger of the Petersburg Railroad and the R&P.
1899 - ACL of North Carolina approved by legislature.
1899 - The ACL of SC acquired from the Central of Georgia its half-interest in the lease of the Georgia Railroad. This gave ACL connections to Atlanta and Macon.
1900 - ACL of VA absorbs other state organizations and becomes the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company.
1897-1901 - ACL continues to acquire and build new lines linking and expanding parts of the system.
1902 - ACL absorbed the Plant System stretching from Charleston, South Carolina southwest via Savannah, Georgia to Waycross, with lines branching to Albany, Georgia, Montgomery, Alabama, and many points in Florida (including the main line to Tampa).
1902 - ACL gains control of L&N but operations are maintained separately for life of the L&N.
1903-1928 - Construction and acquisitions completes the Perry cut-off, a shorter way from Chicago to west Florida destinations via Thomasville.(The Southland uses this route).
1904 - The Jacksonville and Southwestern Railroad purchased, running from Jacksonville, Florida southwest to Newberry.
cir 1904 - ACL builds a new line from High Springs south to Juliette, Florida, connecting two Plant System lines and forming a shortcut around Gainesville down the west side of Florida.
1912 - ACL bought the Conway Coast and Western Railroad giving it access to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
1913-1926 - Further acquisitions expand lines in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.
1926 - ACL gained control of the Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast Railroad. AB&C retains separate identity.
1939 - ACL introduces Budd produced lightweight train New York to Florida, the "Champion", with EMD E6 diesel-electric power.
1946 - AB&C merged into the ACL and gave it routes to Atlanta and Birmingham.
1961 - ACL headquarters were moved from Wilmington, N.C. to Jacksonville, Fla.
1967 - ACL merges with SAL to become Seaboard Coast line (SCL).
1980 - CSX Corporation formed by merger of Chessie System and SCL.
1986 - CSX Transportation formed as a rename of the Seaboard System which had absorbed the ACL, SAL, L&N and several smaller subsidiaries.
1987 - C&O absorbs B&O and merges into CSX, completing the complex series of mergers and changes forming CSX.
1998 - CSX absorbs portions of Conrail.

Atlantic Coast Line timetable map - Northern portion - Summer 1941

Atlantic Coast Line timetable map - Southern portion - Summer 1941

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
Atlantic Coast Line & Seaboard Air Line Railroads Historical Society(ach)
Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. Copyright, Steve Storey.(ss)
Diesel Victory-Kalmbach Publishing Co.
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks


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Copyright Richard Parks, April 22, 2009