Florida's Lost Transportation

October 9, 2013 6 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The lost urban railroads of Florida. A brief photo album of the lost rail transit systems in Florida.

Pensacola: Pensacola Electric Terminal Railway

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/146217

Streetcar service in Pensacola dates back to 1884 when the Pensacola Street Car Company began operations utilizing mule drawn cars. The Pensacola Electric Terminal Railway converted the mule draw service to an electric trolley system in November 1897. Streetcar operations peaked in 1918, at which time the system consisted of 21.4 miles of track and 45 passenger cars. In 1932, streetcar operations were replaced by seven buses.

St. Augustine: St. Johns Electric Company

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/147950

Streetcar service in St. Augustine ceased operations in 1926.

St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Municipal Railways

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/8089

The City of St. Petersburg operated the St. Petersburg Municipal Railway streetcar service between 1919 AND 1949. Since the system was publicly owned and could not be bought outright, according to FBI files, GM bought city officials instead by providing complimentary Cadillacs for converting the transit system to buses.

Sanford: Sanford Traction Company

Courtesy of http://vivafl500.org/cities/sanford/

In 1909, the Sanford Traction Company completed their streetcar line between downtown Sanford and Cameron City. Service ceased in 1911.

Sopchoppy-Panacea Streetcar at the Depot

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/26213

This horse drawn streetcar connected the Panhandle communities of Sopchoppy and Panacea.

South Jacksonville: South Jacksonville Municipal Railway

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/10990

Operations began on Prudential - Hendricks - San Jose, as well as San Marco on Atlantic to Saint Nicholas in 1924. The Muni, met the Florida East Coast Railway's 'gas-electric' doodlebug car in Times-Square, Saint Nicholas which offered a direct link to Spring Glen and Hogan and the Beaches. The railroad was 'wildly successful' and a surplus of cash after construction allowed the company to extend lines to San Jose terminating near San Jose and London Road. The FEC RY abandoned the Mayport Branchline in 1932, but only from Mayport to Hogan, on the west bank of Pottsburg Creek, lending credence to the streetcar-steam railroad connection which may have continued running  from San Marco to Hogan.

Tallahassee: Tallahassee Railroad Company

Financed by cotton planters, the Tallahassee Railroad Company was one of the country's earliest railroads. The street railway may have been under the same corporate umbrella or under it's own name with the words 'street railway' tacked on. The 22-mile mule drawn Tallahassee railroad was completed in 1837 to connect Tallahassee with St. Marks. In 1856, mules were replaced by locomotives.  This rail line eventually became a part of the Seaboard Coastline system before being abandoned in 1983.

Tampa: Tampa Electric Company (TECO)

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/25978

Tampa's first streetcar era dates back to 1886. In 1892, the city's first electric streetcars went into service. Tampa Electric Company's (TECO) streetcar system ceased operations in August 1946.  In 2002, a new streetcar line (TECO Line Streetcar) began operations between downtown and Ybor City. Today, the TECO Line streetcar system is Florida's only operational streetcar service.

Winter Park: Seminole Hotel Horse Car

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/11747

Florida state law chapter 3669, approved February 6, 1885, incorporated the Winter Park Company. The company built a mule-drawn streetcar line, known as the Seminole Hotel Horse Car. After operations ceased, tracks were removed in 1903.

Article by Robert Mann and Ennis Davis, AICP

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