SAL line, Summerfield, FLgreenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread
Had a passenger on train 89 the other night asking if I knew about a track through his property. He has acreage east of Summerfield, FL between Ocala and Wildwood. He described the track as narrrow gauge, possibly 3 feet wide with small rails and small spikes. Adjacent to the track is the foundation of a small brick building. Evidently this track was discovered while clearing some of the land. Looking at a DeLorme computer atlas we had running on a laptop, the area in question is toward Lake Weir. On page 100 of the Prince SAL book, the map shows a small line breaking off east from Summerfield to South Lake Weir. Could this be part of the old line? Would it have been narrow gauge, or logging or mining? The map is dated 1929 and I see no other reference to the line in the book. Thanks, William Billy
-- William Billy (CRRGator@juno.com), June 22, 2004
The information provided about the former SAL spur line is correct. If the railbed that was discovered was narrow guage, then it most likely belonged to one the "hardrock" phosphate mines in the vicinity that used narrow guage tracks to haul the ore from the various mines to the processing facility. The mines were of the shallow variety (to depths only of 30 feet).
Also, I came across a note about an old terpentine/logging railroad line in the general vicinity of the the x SAL line. So, the narrow guage line could have been used for hauling phosphate ore or pine logs.
-- Aaron Dowling (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 29, 2004.
The initial construction of this branch was Summerfield Junction to Summerfield, 2 miles, about 1883. This was extended to South Lake Weir about 1895, 6 miles. Another 1.2 miles was added taking the branch into Weirsdale. Summerfield Jct had, by this time, become just Summerfield. Industries? There are three team tracks listed in the 1940's, Lehmans(mp 4.3)-12 car capacity, South Lake Weir(mp 6.1)-6 car capacity, and a siding in Weirsdale called Orange Siding - 3 car capacity. Lehmans is probably now Sunset Harbor, and South Lake Weir would be at about SE 180th Ave. Looking in the current DeLorme FLORIDA Atlas, shows that the area from Lehmans east is mostly citrus groves. Suspect this was the reason for the branch, since there were no "heavy industry" sidings listed among the team tracks.
-- Tom Underwood (email@example.com), June 28, 2004.
Was unaware of this branch, did some quick reearch but didn't turn up much (can't find it in the track profiles from the HS - anyone know what page#??) From a railroad atlas, am guestimating that it was only about 6 miles long.
Since this has piqued my curiosity, would be interested in knowing what industries were served by this line, or any other information.
-- Bill Parks (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2004.
I live in the Ocala, Marion County area. The line to Wiersdale, Fl from Summerfield, Fl was part of the old SAL. This line was abanded between 1956 and 1958. I have a map from the Marion County Property Appraiser Office which shows this line and the date of abandment. It is located at the Ocala Model Railroads Club House. I can find it exect date if you wish. This line was standard guage, and SCL had asked the property owners to send a from to get a clear title, after the track was removed. One owner sent a letter telling SCL, in Jacksonville, that the owners let the railroad "use" their property for the road bed, and the railraod did not own it. This was proved to be the case. Also the SAL line went within 100 feet of the ACL in Wiersdale, but did not conect, as the SAL and ACL interchanged rail traffic in Ocala. Allen L. Wiener, Ocala, FL
-- Allen L. Wiener (SouRwy@aol.co.), June 24, 2004.
About 1883 the Florida Central & Peninsular RR, the SAL pedecessor company south from Ocala, built a branch from Summerfield Junction, on the mainline, to Summerfield. This branch was extended about 1895 to South Lake Weir. Pobably at that time, Summerfield Junction became just Summerfield. This branch was standard gauge (4ft 8 1/2in). Holton does not list a common carrier narrow gauge RR in this area. There could have been an industrial RR somewhere near there. The Summerfield-South Lake Weir branch was abandoned by SAL about 1960.
-- Tom Underwood (email@example.com), June 23, 2004.