A Chicago Train Connecting Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Seaboard Air Line Railway

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Seabord Air Line
Seaboard Air Line
December 17, 1953

The Seaboard Air Line Railway, (Seaboard Railway), (SAL) was a major railroad on the east coast providing excellent trains from New York to Florida. It utilized Pennsylvania and RF&P tracks from New York to Richmond, where its rails began. It also had it's own rails from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach and Miami, so It's New York originated trains avoided the FEC from Jacksonville.(rp) A most famous SAL train was an all sleeper car train carrying tourists from New York City down to resorts in Florida known as the "Orange Blossom Special". The train originated in 1925, and was immortalized in an extremely famous fiddle tune of the same name (wik). In the streamlined lightweight age of the 40's it's New York - Florida trains were the Silver Meteor and, later, the Silver Star. SAL's connection with Chicago trains came through the Big Four and Southern trains the Ponce de Leon and the Royal Palm from Jacksonville to west Florida destinations, Tampa and St. Petersburg on the SAL. These trains did, however, use the FEC to reach Miami.

April 27, 1941

Short History of the Seaboard Air Line Railway
- Northern Lines

- First Precursor:
1833 - Portsmouth and Weldon Railroad chartered.
1835 - P&W completed from Hampton Roads, VA to Weldon NC.
1836 - P&W later known as Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad, and then the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad.
- Main Line:
- Richmond Petersburg and Carolina Railroad
- Richmond VA to Norlina NC.
pre 1892 - Virginia and Carolina Railroad is successor to RP&C.
1892 - RP&C organized.
1900 - RP&C becomes part of SAL.
- Raleigh and Gaston Railway (R&G) - Norlina to Raleigh NC.
1835 - Raleigh and Gaston Railroad chartered to run from Gaston NC to Raleigh.
1843 - R&G completed to Raleigh.
1845 - R&G in foreclosure.
1851-52 - R&G reorganized.
1852 - R&G resolves to connect to Seaboard at Weldon, and to North Carolina Railroad at Raleigh.
1853 - R&G completed to Weldon.
1858 - New bridge at Gaston completed.
1862-64 - R&G buying stock of Chatham Railroad.
1865 - Bridge at Gaston burned by Confederate Forces.
1868 - North Carolina Railroad shipping freight through on R&G.
1877 - Raleigh and Augusta Air Line Railroad, connected to R&G through mortgage bonds, connects to the Carolina Central at Hamlet.
- Raleigh and Augusta Air-Line Railroad (R&AAL) - Raleigh to Hamlet, NC
1872 - Chatham Railroad, running from Raleigh to Lockville (Monocure) sold to R&AAL.
1872-1900 - R&AAL now runs from Raleigh to Gibson (98.75 miles).
1887 - Palmetto Railroad 20 mile line from Hamlet to Cheraw leased by R&AAL.
1895 - Palmetto RR sold and becomes Palmetto Railway.
1900 - R&AAL and Palmetto Railway become part of Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
- Seaboard Air Line Florida Lines:
1837-1900 - The Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad was the final name of a system of railroads throughout Florida, becoming part of the Seaboard Air Line Railway in 1900. The system, including some of the first railroads in Florida, stretched from Jacksonville west through Tallahassee and south to Tampa.
- FC&P Florida Panhandle history
1832 - Leon Railway organized.
1834 - Leon changed name to Tallahassee Railroad
1837 - Trr opened from Tallahassee to port of St. Marks.
1851 - Florida Atlantic and Gulf Central Railroad chartered to build west from Jacksonville.
1852 - Pensacola and Georgia Railroad chartered to build east from Pensacola, but started at Tallahassee.
1855 - P&G buys Trr.
1857 - FA&GC construction starts.
1860 - P&G and FA&GC meet at Lake City.
1868 - FA&GC reorganized as Florida Central Railroad.
1869 - P&G & Trr merge to form Jacksonville Pensacola and Mobile Railroad, which gained trackage rights over the Florida Central.
1882 - JP&M reorganized as Florida Central and Western, absorbing Florida Central.
- FC&P West Coast of Florida history:
1853 - Florida Railroad incorporated to build line across state from north of Jacksonville southwest to Cedar Key.
1861 - First trains run but line fails.
1866 - First reorganization.
1872 - Reorganized again as Atlantic Gulf and West India Transit Company.
1874 - Fernando and Jacksonville organized to connect Jacksonville north to Yulee.
1881 - F&J completed.
1881 - AG&WIT reorganized as Florida Transit Railroad.
1883 - FTrr merges with two unbuilt railroads (Peninsula rr and Tropical Florida rr) to become the Florida Transit and Peninsular Railroad, to build from Waldo (near Jacksonville) to Ocala and Tampa.
- FC&P - Completion of Florida lines
1885 - FT&P merges with FC&W (see above) to form the Florida Railway and Navigation Company. The FR&N merger also included the Fernandina and Jacksonville and the Leesburg and Indian River Railroads.
1889 - Reorganized as the Florida Central and Peninsula Railway.
1893 - FC&Prw merges with Florida Northern to become the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad.
- FC&P mainline connection to Georgia and South Carolina.
1887 - Southbound Railroad (Srr) organized to connect Columbia SC with Savannah, GA.
1891 - Srr completed.
1892 - Florida Northern Railroad (FN) chartered by FC&P to continue the Fernando and Jacksonville into Georgia where FC&P would continue line to Savannah, GA.
1893 - FC&P leases Srr.
1894 - Continuous line from Jacksonville to Columbia, SC,
1899-1900 - Southbound rr extended to Camden to meet SAL railroad's Chesterfield and Kershaw Railroad.
- Steamship Companies
1851 - Seaboard and Roanoke (later SAL) gains controlling interest in the "Old Bay Line" steamship Compoany to haul passengers and freight from Norfolk to Baltimore.
1901 - RF&P begins hauling passengers and freight from Seaboard aand Roanoke (SAL)northward to Washington to link with northern Railroads but Old Bay Line is maintained.
1922 - SAL acquires full interest and continues to operate Old Bay Line steamship company from Norfolk to Baltimore.
1941 - Chesapeake Steamship Company (ACL-Southern) merged into Old Baay Line.
1962 - Old Bay Line steamship company liquidated.
Seaboard in 20th Century
1900 - On April1 the Seaboard Air Line Railway was incorporated, comprising 19 railroads in which it owned all or most of the capital stock.
1900 - SAL leases FC&P completing major lines in Florida and connections to the north.
1900 - New York-Florida passenger trains start, using Pennsy and RF&P to reach Richmond and start of SAL tracks.
1900 - On July 1, the Seaboard formally assumed operation of the Georgia and Alabama, the FC&P and the Atlantic, Suwanee River and Gulf railroads.
1903 - The FC&P, which had been controlled through stock ownership and operated separately under a lease agreement, was formally consolidated within the Seaboard.
1904 - SAL subsidiary Atlanta and Birmingham Air Line reaches Birmingham, Alabama, and the large iron and steel industries.
1908 - SAL in bankruptcy after panic of 1907.
1915 - SAL out of receivership.
1917-20 - SAL run by U.S.RR Administration.
1920-1930 - Florida land boom and tourist trade helps SAL prosperity.
1925 - SAL constructed the Gross-Callahan Cutoff, which allowed time-sensitive trains to bypass chaotic Jacksonville, and built the Valrico Cutoff, which provided a direct route from Tampa to West Palm Beach.
cir 1925 - The SAL leased the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway, which ran from central Florida to Boca Grande, Florida, and the East & West Coast Railroad between Arcadia and Manatee County.
1925 - Famous New York-Florida train, the "Orange Blossom Special" introduced on November 25. This was a havyweight, winter-season only, all-Pullman, New York to Tampa/St. Petersburg, and West Palm Beach, later to Miami as well. The most luxurious SAL train of its time, introduced to entice wealthy tourists and businessmen to Florida during the land-boom era, its deluxe features included fresh flowers and fresh fish for the dining car, a library car and observation car, and a club car with a barber and shower bath.
1926-7 - Expensive line (the Florida Western & Northern Railroad) down east coast of Florida to Homestead completed by SAL.
1930 - SAL back in bankruptcy.
1933 - SAL is first Florida road to offer air conditioning.
1936 - SAL first to install reclining seats on Florida trains.
1938 - First diesels appear on Florida trains. SAL EMD E4's.
1939 - First new lightweight streamlined Florida train introduced. The "Silver Meteor" powered by EMD E4 diesel-electric locomotives. The Meteor is a great and profitable success.
1941 - SAL upgrades to EMD E6 diesel-electric passenger locomotives.
1942-45 - Orange Blossom Spevial discontinued during war years
1944 - Silver Meteor is highly profitable. Unusual for a passenger train.
1946 - SAL reorganized as Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
1947 - SAL introduces a second streamlined NY-FLA train, the "Silver Star", and the NY-Birmingham "Silver Comet".
1953 - All mainline trains dieselized.
1950's - Centralized Traffic Control installed.
1953 - Last run of Orabge Blossom Special on April 26.
1958 - SAL and ACL merger plans rejected by ICC.
1967 - SAL and ACL merged as Seaboard Coast Line.
1971 - Amtrak assumes passenger service.
1972 - The SAL, L&N, Georgia, Altlanta and West Point, aamd Clinchfield join a loose marketing group called thr Family Lines System but remain separate entities.
1986 - SCL and other Family Lines Roads migrate to become part of CSX Transportation.
1987 - Chessie System becomes part of CSX.
Seabord map
Seaboard Air Line - 1941
Seaboard Air Line map
Seabord Coast Line

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia(wik)
Official Guide- April 1940

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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, May 1, 2009, revised Oct. 20, 2011