Florida Central Railroad (current)
|Florida Central Railroad|
|Locale||northwest and west from Orlando, Florida|
|Dates of operation||1986–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Florida Central Railroad (reporting mark FCEN) is one of several short line railroads run by the Pinsly Railroad Company. Its only interchange point is with CSX in downtown Orlando, Florida; it has trackage rights from there south to Taft Yard. The railroad is based out of the Plymouth freight station.
On November 21, 1986, the newly formed Florida Central Railroad Company, Incorporated leased the following lines from CSX Transportation (in three separate lease agreements):
- milepost ASD-821.69 in Tavares to ASD-818.15 in Eustis Umatilla Subdivision
- milepost ATA-786.39 in Tavares to ATA-797.4 in Sorrento Umatilla Subdivision
- milepost ST-797.5 in Tavares to ST-806.3 in Toronto Orlando Subdivision
- milepost AT-785.0 in Forest City to milepost AT-799.43 in Winter Garden Groveland Subdivision and DR Subdivision (the short track south from downtown Ocoee)
- milepost AT-799.43 in Winter Garden to valuation station 1501+24 in the lead to "Diamond R Fertilizer" (east of the Hennis Road crossing on the line north of Plant Street) Groveland Subdivision?
- milepost ASD-818.15 in Eustis to milepost ASD-815.66 Umatilla Subdivision
- milepost ASC-815.82 to milepost 819.05 in Umatilla Umatilla Subdivision
This gave them railroads going from Toronto northeast to Forest City, northwest to Tavares, where the line splits to Sorrento and Umatilla, and southwest to Winter Garden, plus a line northeast from Winter Garden to Diamond R Fertilizer. The line from Toronto southeast to Orlando was still run by CSX.
On September 28, 1990, the Florida Central Railroad leased the following line from CSX:
On October 1, 1998, an agreement was signed between the railroad and other affected parties to abandon the line between Ocoee and Winter Garden west of Boyd Street, and the line to Diamond R Fertilizer west of 9th St, and build a new connector east of Winter Garden. This would eliminate grade crossings in downtown Winter Garden; trains had to go to the west end of downtown and then reverse direction along the other track to reach Diamond R Fertilizer. As the West Orange Trail was built before this, there is a fence separating it from the former railroad east of downtown Winter Garden.
On November 24, 2003, the Florida Central Railroad was granted an easement for a new connector track in the northwest corner at Toronto. Once this was built, the track crossing the mainline was removed, in preparation for abandoning the Forest City Branch.
Renovations to 57 miles between the CSX connection in Orlando, and the terminus in Umatilla, Florida, began in September, 2013. The $18.4 million project received funding from various counties, the Florida Department of Transportation, FCEN itself, as well as a $2.2 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Rail Line Relocation program. The upgrades, which include replacing the current track with continuously welded rail, improving the bridge over the Dora Canal, improving grade crossings and tie replacement, as well as increase the speed limit of the line, from 10 mph to 25 mph. Upgrades to the line are in hopes of future commuter rail use, connecting Apopka, Tavares, and Orlando along FCEN track.