Author Topic: The Myrtle Avenue Subway  (Read 9155 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« on: March 24, 2009, 05:00:00 AM »
The Myrtle Avenue Subway



Many years have passed since the last streetcar ran down Jacksonville's streets.  Although most of the infrastructure associated with Jacksonville's streetcar system no longer exists, if one looks hard enough, a little history can be found.

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http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/1025

fsujax

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2009, 07:54:00 AM »
Nice historical perspective.

billy

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 08:08:01 AM »
Very similar in appearance and structure to the Krog Street tunnel between Cabbagetown and
Inman Park/Old Fourth Ward  in Atlanta.

No graffiti though.

Deuce

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 09:04:12 AM »
Love that last image. It makes me want to dance in the street! If only the rest of the city had vision of that scale. Sigh...

YellowBluffRoad

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 10:20:55 AM »
Interesting. Growing up here in the 70s, I always heard it called the Myrtle Avenue Viaduct. Never knew it was part of a former subway. My father used to work at a company on Jefferson and when we'd pick him up from work, I'd beg my parents to drive through there. Often they'd humor me and put the car in neutral and rev the engine and honk the horn through there (if there wasn't too much traffic). At one point it was threatened to be closed permanently, and I am glad they've kept it open all these years.

stjr

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 12:06:15 PM »
What?!  No pictures of the hundreds of cars that have been submerged under there after heavy summer rains?  That is its modern day claim to fame  ;D

P.S. As seen in one of your pictures, there was also an overhead track around the corner on Bay Street at one time.  I also recall that Railway Express was where JTA HQ's is now currently.  Any pictures of their operations?
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

mtraininjax

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 06:09:28 PM »
Quote
P.S. As seen in one of your pictures, there was also an overhead track around the corner on Bay Street at one time.  I also recall that Railway Express was where JTA HQ's is now currently.  Any pictures of their operations?

Actually, according to my details I picked up from the Railroadiana show in February, where the JTA sits now used to be a roundhouse for the Atlantic Coast Line. Seaboard was out in Baldwin.
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stjr

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 10:48:32 PM »
Here is a 1962 track diagram of the tracks over the Myrtle Avenue Subway which is clearly marked on the drawing.  (Go to the web link below for a zoom in of the area.):

Quote
1962 Track diagram of the Jacksonville Terminal on left and Myrtle Avenue Tower and yard on right.
View from above and from Northerly direction, South is top of diagram.



See more including a roundhouse diagram at:
  http://www.flarr.com/jtc4.htm
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

Ocklawaha

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 11:39:26 PM »
Quote
P.S. As seen in one of your pictures, there was also an overhead track around the corner on Bay Street at one time.  I also recall that Railway Express was where JTA HQ's is now currently.  Any pictures of their operations?

Actually, according to my details I picked up from the Railroadiana show in February, where the JTA sits now used to be a roundhouse for the Atlantic Coast Line. Seaboard was out in Baldwin.

Y'all are BOTH RIGHT. The Roundhouse was back between the end of Bay and TTX. The LARGEST RAILWAY EXPRESS TERMINAL IN THE WORLD, was situated about where the center office building in the JTA complex is. This is not the office directly on Myrtle, but the one farther back. It was a HEAD Station with a Head House and all stub tracks backed in from the "S" line, they trailed off to the north toward Beaver Street.

I've got photos of both someplace, when I'm going through my stuff again, I'll scan and post a few. BTW the passenger station had 29 tracks and the Express Station had 32. The Terminal Company and Express Company wrote about a million letters back and forth with regards to the quicker breakdown of Express cars in and out of trains. I've got a handfull of those old letters. I also recall that Mercury Outboards was a MAJOR customer at REA. There was also a firm that shipped lots of florescent light bulbs in huge boxes with a sort of honey comb pattern.

The Jacksonville Terminal Company also switched the ATLANTIC AND EAST COAST TERMINAL COMPANY tracks up to the old Freight station North of Jacksonville Terminal. This is what the Bay street underpass was all about. The A&EC was all over a number of downtown streets in La Villa. The JTCO switchers were EMD products (GM) and were painted Orange with Green and Gold on them.


OCKLAWAHA
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 11:40:58 PM by Ocklawaha »

stjr

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 11:50:05 PM »
Ock, here is a bit more from: http://www.jacksonvilleterminal.com/history.htm

Quote
The US Post Office had a large complex with loading platforms just north of the Terminal. Around the curve towards the Seaboard, REA had a very massive yard area with office buildings and loading platforms. Freight operations included feed mills, icehouses, A&P, Florida Machine, Florida Rag and others over the years. The Terminal also had a very large coach yard and roundhouse facility.

The following from: 
http://www.jacksonvilleterminal.com/railway_express_agency.htm

Quote
Railway Express Agency

     In 1929 69 railroads created the Railway Express Agency. It was formed from famous companies such as the Wells Fargo Inc, American Express Co., and Southern Express Co. just to name a few. These latter companies were formed into the American Railway Express Co. during WWI while under federal government control. In 1920 its was deemed to split this company back to its original companies. It was then approved by the ICC to continue operation as the American Railway Express but urged the railroads to begin operating their own express business.

    Railway Express was much like today’s UPS. Virtually everything was shipped by REA as “LCL” (less than car load) or a full carload. Fruit, fish, flowers, bicycles, coffins, zoo animals, pets, racehorse’s motion picture film, anything and everything.  Most all passenger trains carried same form of Express. Most all-secondary trains were for the purpose of express service while the 1st class trains ran through, and they too may have some express business.

    Jacksonville had a big roll with Railway Express. It is believed that Jacksonville’s facility was the largest in the country with a capacity for 250 cars. Equipped with a modern covered loading / unloading platform with multiple tracks, office space and loading/ unloading docks for trucks in front. A large storage yard was needed with around the clock terminal crews pulling and spotting express baggage, express box and express reefers.

    REA as it later became to be known, was not limited to railroads. Air Service and Trucks also played part in their service. In the early 1960’s Southern was the first railroad in our area to discontinue using REA. An attempt was made to replace Southern’s system wide traffic by using trucks. In 1962 REA opened its last but modern terminal in Savannah Georgia served by the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line Railroads.  REA also attempted using express containerized vans on flat cars. To compete with other modes of transportation REALCO was formed as a trailer leasing pool. Railway traffic had reduced system wide and by the early 1970’s terminals were closed, Jacksonville was no exception and by 1975 REA was history. 
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

riverside_mail

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2009, 07:13:15 AM »
I'm assuming the streetcars went through the middle arch of the subway. Any reason they put the big concrete barrier down the middle where the tracks used to be?

thelakelander

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2009, 08:56:58 AM »
Here is an aerial showing the old A&EC tracks heading into LaVilla.
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thelakelander

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2009, 09:02:33 AM »
The A&EC terminal on the corner of Forysth & Jefferson in 1950.  If we would not have been so tear down happy in the 1970s, this would have been a perfect facility for a farmer's market or marketplace.



A few remaining warehouses along Houston Street will old rail siding loading docks.





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Ocklawaha

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2009, 10:18:59 AM »
I'm assuming the streetcars went through the middle arch of the subway. Any reason they put the big concrete barrier down the middle where the tracks used to be?

You are correct. The streetcars went through the center of the subway. Keep in mind the streetcar is generally a much larger vehicle then the city bus, and it needs an overhead clearence of at least 16' min.. The clearence from the pavement to the top of the streetcar tunnel is only 10' feet today. This suggests that the car tracks were 6' feet below the pavement level. I have a book of engineering notes for the subway which has a short statement about depressing Bay and Myrtle at the intersection so the streetcar could line up with the short steep downgrade.

Also all you flooding tunnel buffs out there might want to consider that as the tracks were much deeper then the current pavement, guess where the original drains and pumps were? Had to be about 10' under the concrete barrier in the center.


OCKLAWAHA

leahfu

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Re: The Myrtle Avenue Subway
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2009, 11:57:56 PM »
After the privilege of riding through the tunnel(if it could be called that) last year I wondered what the history of it was. I didn't think it was this neat :)

I just remember when we went through it, I was like "Woah this is awesome!". I know it might sound a little cheesy or something. But it was just something I never expected to be there.