EX-SAL in gainesville, possibly relayed???

greenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Was at a (Alachua) county commission meeting tonight and they are doing a feasibility study about possibly re-laying the SAL line from waldo to gainesville, at least as far as the gainesville airport. Plan is to have a refuse handling area there where refuse will be loaded onto railcar and taken away instead of by truck, also included in the plan was to add a pasenger terminal at the airport... this is the best rail news I have heard in town in years... especially considering all the slaughter of rail lines CSX has done around herein the last 20 years!!!

-- troy nolen (kirkwood@gdn.net), May 01, 2001


I agree with your desire to see a rail link between Ocala and Gainesville, linking up with Jacksonville.

But there would be no reason relay such a route over the circuitous, 19th-century Florida Southern (originally narrow gauge!) alignment, that hobbled ACL operationally.

As an alternative, consider the following:

Proceeding north from Ocala, use the Florida Northern (ex-ACL) tracks to just south of Lowell, from there a NEW right-of-way, roughly parallel to I-75 into Gainesville through mostly open country. In southwest Gainesville (after passing/serving the new postal distribution center)pick up the mostly-intact SAL right-of-way (along Archer Road/Depot Avenue/Waldo Road) through Gainesville. From there, join the line now under consideration, linking up with CSX at Waldo.

This would give Amtrak (and/or Florida's referendum-inspired state rail system) direct access to the Gainesville/University of Florida market, the opportunity provide moderately "high speed" service (which the old ACL could never do), and develop regional/commuter rail.

It won't come cheap.

Several years back, there was serious talk by commercial and political interests in Alachua and Marion County of building a new airport, midway between Ocala and Gainesville. The objective was to boost the chronically marginal status of Gainesville Regional Airport's commercial aviation market, by adding Marion County's growing population into the passenger base.

For, let's say, the same amount of $, a rail link could be forged to feed North Central Florida passengers into Jacksonville's (or Tampa's, or Orlando's, take your pick) more robust air traffic market. This is what intermodality should really mean.

All it takes is money, vision and political leadership.

Which means it probably won't happen, but as the original post suggests, there may be some (admittedly minor) movement here......

-- Jeff Gerlach (jgerlach@trainsofthought.com), May 01, 2001.

This sounds great, I only hope the Alchua County Commission (Gainesville) and the Marion County Commission (Ocala) will agree to reinstall the old ACL line from Lowell to Gainesville. In this way we could commuter travel between the two cities, espicalily during the Florida Gator Games. The big trouble is there are now houses and business on the old main line. Allen L. Wiener, Ocala, FL

-- Allen L. Wiener (SouRwy@aol.com), May 01, 2001.

will post more when more info is available... they didnt really go into a whole heck of alot of detail other than what I said...

-- troy nolen (kirkwood@gdn.net), May 01, 2001.

Troy -

This is encouraging news. Perhaps you coul relay a few more of the details.

For instance, is any timeframe proposed? Was any support or opposition expressed?

I would assume that the rail passenger terminal element would entail commuter rail service to Jacksonville, since Amtrak would likely entail a costly dogleg to get back to the SAL mainline (and in the dead of night, as currently scheduled).

Is the solid waste to be shipped to the current New River landfill site in Union County (entailing more rail reconstruction), or elsewhere?

I am also curious as to the exact route proposed, since the original SAL right of way from Fairbanks to Waldo was grabbed by the state highway department to widen SR 24 in the late 60s. Thus, presumably a new route would have to be purchased contiguous to SR 24, (with some homeowner displacement) or run considerably southeast of the original allignment.

Lastly, how is this project supposed to be financed?

Thanks for the post. Hope to see more soon!

-- Jeff Gerlach (jgerlach@trainsofthought.com), May 01, 2001.

Is their no rail traffic in Gainesville anymore? I thought the old ACL line to Burnettes Lake was still there? If it is, I would be surprised to see Waldo / Gainesville put back.. Seems a spur from the ACL to the Airport area would be more cost effective... I hope you are right though!

Steve Manuel

-- Steve Manuel (wwjb@innet.com), May 01, 2001.

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