Atlantic Coast Line....double track? : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Was the CSX "A-Line" ever fully double tracked between Richmond and Florida (besides the single track bride at Appo River in Petersburg)?

-- Grady McKinley (, March 17, 2000


Per Doug Riddell's excellent book "Tales From the Cab", the ACL bridge across the Roanoke River in NC also used a gauntlet track arrangement soon after the mainline was double tracked.

-- Buddy Hill (, March 29, 2000.

After a trip home this weekend and reviewing materials, I need to correct a couple of errors in my previous answer. 1) the mainline across the Savannah River is single track NOT double track. 2) the Chatham Tower is on the SOUTH (GA) side of the river. 3) the Chatham Tower controlled the interlocking at Sand Island on the NORTH (SC) side of the river.

This research also raised a question. All the materials I've seen indicates the bridge over the Savannah was a through truss drawbridge up until the late 40's or 50's. However, the current bridge as seen from the I-95 intersate bridge is a Scherzer rolling lift span. Does anyone know when the drawbridge was replaced with the current bridge?

-- Buddy Hill (, March 26, 2000.

Back in the "good old" days (STEAM!) before CTC and diesels, the ACL's double track mainline crossed the Pee Dee River via a gauntlet track arrangement. I'm not sure how long this track arrangement was in operation. At that time I believe the northern interlocking leading into the gauntlet track was governed from the Pee Dee Tower (2-story, standard design). The southern interlocking was at Winona, SC (W.N.), but I'm not sure if there was ever a tower at this location or if it was controlled from the Pee Dee Tower. It is also likely the Pee Dee Tower controlled the interlocking governing the junction of the Richmond-J'ville mainline and the Wilmington mainline.

The Santee River crossing was similarly protected during in pre-CTC days. Here, as mentioned in a previous reply, single track was used to complete the river crossing. The interlocking leading to the single track from the north end was controlled by the appropriately named North End Tower (single story-standard design). This tower was later named (late 40's-50's) ETTA in honor of "Ms. Etta", a former ACL operator. The southern interlocking leading to the single track was at a location called Santee Bluff. Again, I'm unsure of the existence of a tower at this location.

I beleive the Savannah River crossing was double tracked, but was interlocked as well to prevent trains crossing the bridge when openned. The interlocking was governed from the Chatham Tower (2- story, standard design) located on the north side of the river. Based on a ACL Railroad News article from the 20's, the southern interlocking was controlled from the Chatham Tower. Hope this helps.

-- Buddy Hill (, March 24, 2000.

Lanes and St.Stephens are located on a line of the ACL originally built about 1855 by the NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY(of S.C.). The N.E.Rwy joined the ACL Assoc. in 1887. If you look at a NE timetable of the 1860's,you will find nine stations with names ending in apostrophe S ('S) along their 102 mile line from Florence to Charleston. These stops were all named, generally, for the local store owner, land owner or the like, where the stations were established when the line was opened. As an example, Lanes would have originally been called Lane's Station. This practice appears to have been in use throughout the USA as railroads were opened in that era. The use of "'S" continued until about the 1890's to early 1900's when the apostrophe was dropped leaving just the "S". In some instances both the "'" and "S" were dropped, all to achieve simplification by the railroad, contrary to local usage. Interestingly, on the N.E.Rwy, the first stop out of Charleston was called 8 MILE T.O.(Eight Mile Turnout). Was the station building there lettered "8 MILE T.O."?

-- Tom Underwood (, March 22, 2000.

Re:"Lane" and St. Stephen": regardless of the depot markers, these villages were named Lanes and St. Stephens as far back as 1890. My documentation is a map based on the 1890 census and copyrighted by Mast, Crowell & Kirkpatrick.

-- Jim Roquemore (, March 21, 2000.

In addition to the single track viaduct across the Appomattox River, the Northern Div. was also single- tracked across the Roanoke River (C.T.C. controlled by the operator Weldon Yard), and across the Pee Dee River controlled by operator at "W.G.", Florence Yard. Although not the first ever C.T.C. installation, the Pee Dee - Florence section was one of the first.

-- Harry Bundy (, March 17, 2000.

ACL passenger timetable maps show double track from Richmond, Va., to Jessup, Ga., and Folkston, Ga., to Jacksonville, Fla. Between Jessup and Folkston there were separate single track lines, one via Waycross, the other via Nahunta. Exceptions would be the single track bridges as noted in question and previous answer.

-- Tom Underwood (, March 17, 2000.

I remember a single track bridge over the Santee River, in South Carolina (between St.Stephen & Lane). I think there was a small CTC machine at Lanes that controlled the power switch machines. The Lanes operator controlled the CTC through the single track bridge.

Note: although Lane and St. Stephen were singular, folks always added an "s" in coversation makeing them Lanes and St. Stephens.

At the time (1960)the double track was ABS signals. I was on one of the two signal gangs that was working on the conversion from double track/ABS to single track/CTC, project.

Again, if my memory serves me correctly, about 1962, a passenger train hit a crossover too fast causing the engines to go over the embankment killing the veteran Engineer and Fireman. The engines turned upside down and scooped up enormous amounts of mud and earth through the windshield, which may have been attributed to the fatalities.

Any inconsistencies in this post are due to age and memory.... No book references, just based on a dimming memory.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (, March 17, 2000.

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