Ponce de Leon (train)

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Ponce de Leon
Service type Inter-city rail
First service 1924
Last service 1960s
Former operator(s) Southern Railway
Start Cincinnati, Ohio
End Jacksonville, Florida

The Ponce de Leon was a named train of the Southern Railway which ran from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Jacksonville, Florida, from 1924 to the mid-1960s.


The Ponce de Leon (Train #4) departed Jacksonville at midday going north via subsidiary Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad to Macon and Atlanta, Georgia, then on Southern's former East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad line to Chattanooga, Tennessee, traveling overnight to Cincinnati via Southern subsidiary Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway. The train provided connections with the New York Central Railroad at Cincinnati for passengers headed to Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

The Royal Palm alternated with the Ponce de Leon on a reverse schedule between Cincinnati and Jacksonville, operating during daylight hours south from Cincinnati and then overnight between Atlanta and Jacksonville.

Train accident[edit]

The Ponce de Leon and Royal Palm collided on December 23, 1926 in Rockmart, Georgia. The northbound Ponce de Leon struck the Royal Palm with the result that 19 people were killed and 113 were injured, most on the Ponce de Leon.[1]

The accident was also the subject of a song: "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" by Vernon Dalhart.[2]


  1. ^ Mintz, Duane "Cowboy", Train Collision: Tragedy of Christmas 1926, Rockmart Journal, December 24, 1997 [1]
  2. ^ The Wreck of the Royal Palm by Vernon Dalhart, [2]