Savannah, Georgia : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Can anyone provide a history of Alabama Junction and Union Junction in the City of Savannah, Georgia?

-- Dick Kearns (, September 09, 2003


I can contribute a little information about the SAL's Savannah yard. During my career in labor relations with the RF&P and CSX, I used to like to read the National Railroad Adjustment Board reports of labor disputes on some of my favorite roads, such as the Seaboard. The disputes usually involved operational situations and the presentation of the case by the railroad and the union often provided interesting facts about the railroad. In October, 1947, there was a dispute between the SAL and its employees represented by the yardmasters' union account the SAL abolished the second trick (4 p.m. to 12 midnight) Island Junction yardmaster job at Savannah Yard. The following is quoted from the SAL's statement of facts in this case:

The Seaboard's Savannah, Ga. yard forms the junction point of the Carolina and Alabama Divisions. It is the principal yard on the Carolina Division with trains being operated into and out of it over four main lines. It is substantial in size and physical lay-out, therefore the description here will be limited to the points pertinent to this case. The yard office is centrally located, adjacent to the roundhouse and shops, and houses the Terminal Trainmaster's office, telegraph operators, crew dispatchers, crew boards, clerical force office space, records, etc. Approximately one- half mile west of the yard office is a small building known as Island Junction yard office. The latter is so named because it stands at the western throat of Savannah yard proper where the Seaboard's main lines from the East Carolina and Columbia Sub-Divisions of the Carolina Division converge and form a junction with the main line from the Alabama Division. The Island Junction office is not a yard office in the sense that term is generally given. It merely houses a radio and telephone, and affords space in which yard crews and carmen eat their meals during inclement weather. The area immediately east of the Island Junction office, between it and the yard office, is used for receiving, breaking up, making up and dispatching trains.

Savannah Yard's main business is the handling of perishable shipments moving from Florida to eastern and western markets, and returning empty cars to Florida. The volumne of perishable shipments fluctuates seasonally, and these fluctuations largely determine and control the number of yardmasters, yard crews, carmen, shopmen, etc. employed there.

On June 26, 1947, two way radios (receiving - sending sets) were installed in the yard office, the Island Junction office, and on the yard switch engines. The radio made it possible for the first time for yardmasters stationed in the yard office to communicate directly with the various yard engine crews. Prior to that time the yardmaster in the yard office had no direct means of communicating with the crews. Instructions from the yard office to a particular crew were telephoned to the yardmaster of assistant yardmaster at Island Junction, and the latter then went to the location at which the desired crew was working and gave them verbal instructions.

-- William E. Griffin, Jr. (, September 11, 2003.

I also forgot to add that SAL had another crossing over ACL about a mile south of Alabama Junction. I've seen it called S-A-M (Sav'h, Americus & Montgomery) Junction but that doesn't make much sense since the line was the original FC&P main from old Savannah Yard to Jacksonville. There was no interchange here either. I want to do a "steam era" article on the SAL in Savannah for Lines someday...all I have to do is talk Ye Maximus Editor into it!

-- John Golden (, September 09, 2003.

John modestly omitted mention of his fine 2-part series on Savannah in the 4th quarter 98 and 1st quarter 99 issues of Lines South. These articles have a lot of great general Savannah history in them, and both issues have maps showing all the old junctions. The Society's Orange Blossom Special book also has some information on 2 more SAL junctions, Orange and Blossom. To say the old Savannah trackage network was complicated would be an understatement.

-- Larry Goolsby (, September 09, 2003.

Mr. Kearns,

Alabama Junction was, and still is, in the center of SAL's operations in the Savannah area. It was originally the crossing of the SAL Alabama Division line over the ACL's double track main. In the late 1930s, SAL built a passenger cutoff around Savannah to better serve the Meteor and the O-B-S trains. This "passenger main" connected to the SAL line just south of Alabama Junction. Alabama Junction still exists, but is now part of the Ga Central. For the record, SAL and ACL did not interchange cars at Alabama Junction.

Union Junction was on the ACL near Derst Bakery, about a mile north of North Tower and Southover Yard. Union Junction was used to gain access to Savannah Union Station track.

Hope this helps! John Golden O'Fallon, IL

-- John Golden (, September 09, 2003.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ