Author Topic: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal  (Read 4783 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« on: June 18, 2014, 03:00:01 AM »
History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal



For decades, it was the gateway to Florida and the largest passenger rail station south of Washington, DC.  With over 2,000 employees, it was also one of Jacksonville's largest employers. Unfortunately, they say good things must come to an end. Today, Metro Jacksonville shares a visual timeline of the rise and fall of downtown's train station: The Jacksonville Terminal

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2014-jun-history-in-pictures-the-jacksonville-terminal

Noone

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 03:44:53 AM »
Thanks for the history.

acme54321

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 06:54:05 AM »
Seaboard 3004 looks a little worse for wear!  The caption for this picture and the #30 switcher a couple below are swapped.

Ocklawaha

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2014, 11:03:02 AM »


This engine is standing on the Atlantic and East Coast Terminal Trackage, between Bay and Forsyth, another historic terminal that we've wrecked.



This photo shows passengers coming out of the 'wildcat door' of the terminal. I was actually ILLEGAL for the traction company to pick up or discharge passengers here until the citizenry threatened to march on city hall.

For those that have not heard the story: A group of baggage bandit would race up to this door and snatch bags then take off down Bay in their hot car. Legend has it that a Terminal Company employee got tired of the BS and living far out in the country showed up at work one day with a bobcat in a suitcase. The police had not been able to snare the crooks but the employees later swore that the cat-in-the-bag didn't sit on the walk more then a few seconds when these boys came screeching around the corner, grabbed the bag and flew off down Bay. The car hit a light pole around Cleveland Street (I-95 today) and those who were able gladly surrendered! Thus ended the vanishing bags.



Needing more motive power the ACL and the Baldwin mechanical engineers designed a dual purpose "Pacific" or 4-6-2 wheel arrangement locomotive to take over freight service or heavy passenger runs. Between 1922 and 1926 Baldwin built 165 of these main line locomotives. They were designated as Class P-5B and assigned road numbers 1600 through 1764. The Class P-5A locomotives had 25x28 cylinders, 69" drivers, a 210 psi boiler pressure, exerted 45,275 lbs of tractive effort and each weighed bout 285,000 pounds. The engines were retired between 1951-1954. Unless the Florida Memory Project has some extra information (such as a wreck) I doubt their scrap date.


This photo was taken in the final year of the 'citrus pain scheme' so any fender benders with someones Chevy hadn't been polished out yet. Don't let appearances fool you, typically the 3004 would be found on the point of 'The Camellia' whipping the train out of Miami through Oleta at 75 mph.




Lake, this is a rare photo of the interior of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, 'Tallahassee Flyer' gas car. (See below) These cars often called 'doodlebugs' with a little effort on the part of the States and Federal Government in the form of regulation and tax relief could have saved the private passenger rail industry, feeding into the larger faster trains. Across my ancestral grounds of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas, there must have been a thousand of them, many on hundreds of miles long branchlines tapping endless prairie towns. In my own little prairie town where I was City Councilman, we once had two railroads (Santa Fe and Rock Island) and both operated daily doodlebugs on those branchlines. Today, there is nothing but a high berm where the rails once ran. Anyway, traditionally the finest seats on a passenger train are in the last seats of the last car... 'Tavern Lounge-Observation Cars' were the kings roost. In the photo of the last FEC train, that last seat in that 'first class' car is where I was sitting. I always thought it comical that the Black citizens were made to sit there on the doodlebugs... a sort of railroad poetic justice. The gas cars served until about 1940 when a horrendous accident in Ohio ended with one of them consumed in a ball of fire...The were immediately withdrawn from service nation-wide. I believe this is when the SAL dumped these little Flyers. Many of the larger cars were simply converted to diesel or diesel-electric power or new ones ordered with the new power plants. (How odd that we figured out that gas rail cars could be dangerous in 1940, then went to war in 1941 with an army backed by gas powered Sherman Tanks. The M4A3E8 76 mm armed Sherman tank made during the Second World War... The British took to calling it the "Ronson"; the Ronson cigarette lighter was popular at the time. Such a tank crew had little chance against the German Panthers or Mark IV panzers).



I really should have had a better camera! My 'private car' was on the end of the train, the little FEC RY was a class act right up until the end, insisting on running both coach and a first class car, when all they needed to do by law was provide a 'basic accommodation.' Hardly anyone knew that car was back there, and even fewer bought those tickets, thus whenever I would ride, I'd generally find I had it, the conductor and lounge attendant all to myself. 'Say boys, wanna chat?'

Ocklawaha

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2014, 11:26:37 AM »

Just for the record, the Seaboard... which became the Seaboard Coast Line... which became The Family Lines... which became CSX, continued to use the unique, larger doodlebugs in Florida. They held down the schedules between Lakeland and Naples and between Tampa and Venice right up until that fateful day in 1971, when the government stepped in to make it all better and wiped out ¾ of all passenger trains in the USA under Amtrak.

mbwright

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 08:46:20 AM »
Are any of the doodlebugs still surviving, or were they all scrapped?

Ocklawaha

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 09:28:32 AM »
Ours (as in Florida or SCL) were all scrapped. Right before or just after Amtrak stepped in to destroy passenger service one of our doodlebugs was wrecked. SCL held onto the other for a time hoping for a buyer (you know, like a rich museum) then threw in the towel and scrapped it. This was something that CERTAINLY should have been donated to a museum.

Otherwise, several of the older style doodlebugs as well as various other models do survive in museums across the land. As these were largely a Granger-Southwest phenomenon most of the survivors are in Museums stretching from around Milwaukee to El Paso, or Billings to Lake Charles. A few are displayed at depots on the prairie. The Oklahoma City Railroad Museum which owns a chunk of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas (KATY) OKC Subdivision has a small one. Age of Steam in Dallas has a couple, Illinois Railroad Museum has one or two, etc.

Finally, Florida's surviving Doodlebug was still sitting in the shops of 'The Bay Line Railroad' out in Panama City last I checked, it was for sale @ $165,000... Hey JTA wouldn't this be cool... Ah, there I go again, using imagination to fill seats. 

"Interurbans Without Wires" "Doodlebug Country" "The Short Line Doodlebug" and "The Doodlebugs" are all great books on the subject.

SightseerLounge

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 02:57:38 AM »
Ours (as in Florida or SCL) were all scrapped. Right before or just after Amtrak stepped in to destroy passenger service one of our doodlebugs was wrecked. SCL held onto the other for a time hoping for a buyer (you know, like a rich museum) then threw in the towel and scrapped it. This was something that CERTAINLY should have been donated to a museum.

Otherwise, several of the older style doodlebugs as well as various other models do survive in museums across the land. As these were largely a Granger-Southwest phenomenon most of the survivors are in Museums stretching from around Milwaukee to El Paso, or Billings to Lake Charles. A few are displayed at depots on the prairie. The Oklahoma City Railroad Museum which owns a chunk of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas (KATY) OKC Subdivision has a small one. Age of Steam in Dallas has a couple, Illinois Railroad Museum has one or two, etc.

Finally, Florida's surviving Doodlebug was still sitting in the shops of 'The Bay Line Railroad' out in Panama City last I checked, it was for sale @ $165,000... Hey JTA wouldn't this be cool... Ah, there I go again, using imagination to fill seats. 

"Interurbans Without Wires" "Doodlebug Country" "The Short Line Doodlebug" and "The Doodlebugs" are all great books on the subject.

Ock, as usual, amazing history! (Just like the gauntlet track out west and the manual roundtables)  I would have saved all of the Doodlebugs, but they were destroyed before my time! It does present an opportunity to explore what worked with that technology, and see if we can use that today.

It's the same with the RDC's. Colorado Railcar tried, and we can see their mistakes and improve the trains!

As for Union Terminal, if it were up to me, I would set up a "temporary" platform! It would be something like what Amtrak & Texas have done at Alpine, TX! Ok, maybe it could just be a smaller version of that with some coverings! It would just be one track with a side platform! There would be room for trucks to come in and service any "special" trains that might want to use the former terminal!



Amtrak could make a few "special" stops downtown! I would be hooked! I wouldn't even get off at Clifford Lane! Jacksonville ain't ready for that! I believe the Tri-Rail Double Decker DMU's made a special stop at the terminal a few years ago! That's what I mean by "special" stop.

I will say that a weakness of this terminal was, and will be, a lack of a through run from the FEC to the north, west & southwest! That has to be addressed. Of course, the backing in and out worked for a long time. Backing in won't hurt for a little while longer! Chicago & L.A. have the same problem. Maybe, that land that JTA wants to waste next to the Terminal could be used for some sort of elevated loop track back under I-95! They can do it now while they still have a chance!

Still, I'll take a simple concrete (even asphalt) platform with one track right now! Its a foot in the door to getting people used to going downtown on a train again!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 03:20:50 AM by SightseerLounge »

Ocklawaha

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 12:26:17 AM »
I will say that a weakness of this terminal was, and will be, a lack of a through run from the FEC to the north, west & southwest!

SightseerLounge, This is not a weakness at Jacksonville Union Terminal. Florida East Coast from day one in 1919 and even before in the 1890's, straight run through ability. In fact until 1971 when Amtrak trashed the passenger trains, the FEC RY trackage was the only route a train could run through on, and it would be no different today.

Quote
That has to be addressed. Of course, the backing in and out worked for a long time. Backing in won't hurt for a little while longer! Chicago & L.A. have the same problem. Maybe, that land that JTA wants to waste next to the Terminal could be used for some sort of elevated loop track back under I-95! They can do it now while they still have a chance!

There are a few reasons why this doesn't need to be addressed, but the biggest of them is the fairly new ability to run trains in 'PUSH-PULL' mode, with an engine at either end. Certainly not as classy as the tavern lounge observation cars, 'St. Lucie Sound,' or 'Lake Okeechobee,' but it works just as good for regional trains as for commuter runs.

That brings up LONG-DISTANCE trains, such as the Silver Meteor and Silver Star, with the likely addition of passenger trains on the FEC RY both Amtrak and AAF by 2020, there is no reason not to back in. This is because these trains will be pulled apart in Jacksonville, just as they always have, a single southbound train arriving here will leave in two sections, with an engine and 5 cars going towards Palatka-Deland-Orlando-Lakeland-Tampa, and the other engine and 5 cars going towards St. Augustine-Daytona-Cocoa-Fort Pierce-West Palm-Miami.


In this scene the Carbondale IL Station switcher is cutting out the 'St. Louis Section' of one of the Illinois Central's crack named trains, IE: City of New Orleans, Panama Limited, Seminole or the City of Miami. These trains all ran from Chicago to Miami (via Jax) or Chicago to New Orleans. But if you left Chicago at 11pm, on a 12 car train, you might awaken in Memphis on a 22 car train. While you slept those St. Louis passengers boarded a 10 car train with the same name, headed to Miami or New Orleans, and when they opened their window shade, they too are on a 22 car train. That nighttime magic? A station like Jacksonville that exists to bust up and remake trains for different destinations, without waking the passengers or spilling the soup!

The unknowns are?
 
Will Amtrak survive the coming Republican reckoning?
If it's privatized along the lines of AAF and other companies jumped in, our chances of a hub are much greater.
If either happens, then what about Gainesville, and/or the line from Baldwin-Waldo-Ocala-Dade City-Tampa? (Which could deliver a third section to each train and they could go right on from Tampa to Sarasota as they once did).
And the route to New Orleans, will it return? I doubt as the Sunset Limited (which is a bad idea) but more likely as a regional 'Gulf Wind' all daylight reincarnation. 
Will Amtrak ever re-re-reexpand the Palmetto Train from Savannah to Jax? No political pressure, no will, deadbeat city hall...etc... But there is only 149 miles between us and a single daylight train trip to NYC. This train turning in Savannah and missing 1.4 million people is simply AMSTUPID.
Commuter rail would operate in PUSH-PULL mode and even with something as light as 6-8 trains on each route daily we still only need modest space.  These are never going to be big trains and more likely will be simply RDC/variant rail cars.


Quote
Still, I'll take a simple concrete (even asphalt) platform with one track right now! Its a foot in the door to getting people used to going downtown on a train again!


I'll bring the picnic basket!

spuwho

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Re: History in Pictures: The Jacksonville Terminal
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 01:23:46 AM »
I rode the City of New Orleans in 1968.

The seat was rattan and falling apart with hay sticking out. The snack bar consisted of a milk crate full of ice with candy bars and sodas sticking out on a single seat. My mom asked me to quit pulling the hay out because the next person was going to need a working seat.  The AC wasn't working very well in the afternoon so the conductor had come through and opened the windows in the car after leaving Effingham.



The train rocked back and forth so bad between Sigel and Mattoon Illinois, we slowed down to 10mph to keep from tipping over. After we cleared Mattoon it sped back up to around 45-50mph.

I tried to wander down to the Pullman's but the staff stopped me from crossing into the car. Probably a good thing because the walkway from our car to the Pullman was not exactly fluid, especially with all of the rocking back and forth.

I remember watching the cars on US 45 going faster than we were. We got off at IC Terminal in Champaign. My dad had to pick us up to go to Urbana because even though the tracks were still in the brick streets, the Illinois Terminal had stopped service 10 years prior.

Later I rode the Lincoln from 1979-1982 after it became Amtrak. The cars were more comfortable by then but the rocking on the ROW was still pretty bad. Especially between Joliet and CUS. I loved boarding through those cool GM&O stations that Amtrak took over from IC. (It's UP now). They have all been torn down and replaced with Amshacks.