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 Post subject: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 113
Location: www.easttroyrr.org
On trips to Miami, Florida, I am always looking for vestiges of railroad tracks which stretched south. I know that the South Miami-Dade busway was built on abandoned FEC right of way.

According to Google Maps, the furthest south a railroad track extends is to the intersection of SW 10th Ave and SW 6th Street in Homestead, FL. Google identifies it as a SCL line.

Any further info?


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8397
Location: Baltimore, MD
I drove down that way myself the last time I was in Florida, almost eight years ago. The wye you can see just to the north of that end-of-track is indeed pretty much the official end-of-track. It's former SAL trackage. In past years, the wye's eastern leg extended to a connection to the now-long-gone FEC main between Miami and Key West at Homestead, over at Railroad Avenue..

The reality is that the CSX local out of Hialeah only worked down as far as the lumber yard a couple miles to the north (around 260th St.) and some places on that stretch that runs NE-SW to the north. I was told by the CSX crew I found working the line that all the businesses at the south end were pretty well obliterated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and that after a spate of delivering relief supplies and equipment and then lumber and building supplies post-storm, the line just pretty well died. Look at the track along 10th Avenue on Street View; it's nearly all in Penn Central-like condition.

If you haven't seen it, it's perhaps the most anti-climactic ending to a rail line you've ever seen, for a "superlative" (southernmost) line--it literally just peters out into the gravel and sand in two directions, like many an abandoned rail line anywhere else.


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
Posts: 178
I was thinking Brownsville, TX; but it's on the same latitude as Hialeah, FL (North of Miami).

CD


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:01 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5262
Location: southeastern USA
Actually, some remnants of the old Key west line do still exist, under sand and under water, along the old FEC route. When I lived in Miami back in the '60s, you could see a section of track emerging from the water off the highway.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:39 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8397
Location: Baltimore, MD
True that "fossilized" rail may still exist en route to Key West, but I think my standard would be "how far could I run a Fairmount motor car down the rails before there are trees to big to bend over, cars, or buildings in my way?" By that standard, depending on whether cars are parking legally or not, your "hard stop" is 6th St. SW in Homestead--the rails end on the south side of that crossing, and you are left with biological remnants of the ties south of there, with about another half-block of rail remnants (possibly stolen for scrap since the Google Camera Car went by, I'm betting) a half-block to the south. Note that this was all the south leg of a wye, and even the old SAL right-of-way ends two or three blocks further south.

All of this is actually academic, however, because there are indeed railroad tracks in (tourist) use in our southernmost state--Hawaii......... But the original poster did say "continental" in his title.... >:-]


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5262
Location: southeastern USA
Yes, and posited existance rather than usefulness. Use the right words.

davee

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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:19 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:53 pm
Posts: 131
Dave wrote:
Actually, some remnants of the old Key west line do still exist
dave
.

Dave wrote:
posited existance rather than usefulness
davee


A boxcar still exists on Key West, next to the depot / museum. There might be "tracks" underneath the car, but I cannot recall for certain.

JR


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8397
Location: Baltimore, MD
Update:

Discussion at the Abandoned Rails Facebook page produced a guy that has confirmed that, as of late, the CSX local (O721) only operates as far south as an industrial park on the other (north) side of 152nd St. from the Gold Coast RR Museum, meaning the Gold Coast RR Museum may technically be the southernmost point still seeing service provided that any trackage south of their interchange (which faces south) has not been removed from service or embargoed.

Further examination reveals that this location's latitude is technically about eight miles south of the latitude of the Brownsville-Matamoros international rail bridge at Brownsville, Texas.


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 Post subject: Re: Southernmost existing railroad track in continental US?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:33 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 570
The car at Key West is lettered FEC 3588. It looks to be a bunk car and has track under it.


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