Florida Northern Railroad (current)
|Dates of operation||1988–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Florida Northern Railroad (reporting mark FNOR) is one of several short line railroads run by the Pinsly Railroad Company. It has connections to CSX at Ocala, Florida, running north to Lowell, Florida and south to Candler, Florida. It was formerly run by CSX as their Ocala Subdivision.
The railroad also operates lines connecting to CSX in Newberry, Florida, running south to the Crystal River Energy Complex in Red Level, Florida, just north of Crystal River. This line was formerly CSX's West Coast Subdivision and Red Level Subdivision. Long coal trains are still pulled by CSX locomotives on this branch while local traffic still uses the Pinsly Red with Yellow locomotives.
Lowell to Candler Line
Florida Northern Railroad
Lowell to Candler
The main track of the line from Lowell to Candler via Ocala was originally built by the Florida Southern Railway, which was part of the Plant System of railroads. It was built from Rochelle (south of Gainesville) to Ocala in 1881. In 1883, it was extended south to Leesburg. The track connecting the Florida Northern main track with the CSX track and the industrial spur from Ocala west was originally part of the Silver Springs, Ocala and Gulf Railroad, which was built in 1887 and historically extended west to Dunnellon and Homosassa. The Silver Springs, Ocala and Gulf Railroad also became part of the Plant System.
The Plant System became part of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902. The Atlantic Coast line used this line for passenger service and in 1917, they jointly built Ocala Union Station with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad where the two railroads crossed. Ocala Union Station no longer serves passenger trains but continues to stand where the Florida Northern crosses the CSX S Line (the former Seaboard Air Line).
The Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line merged in 1967 with the merged company becoming the CSX Transportation in 1986. The former Atlantic Coast Line route was abandoned north of Lowell and south of Candler around 1982, creating the line that exists today. CSX leased the line to the Pinsly Railroad Company in 1988 who now operates the Florida Northern Railroad.
Newberry to Red Level Line
Florida Northern Railroad
Newberry to Red Level
The line from Newberry to Red Level was built by Henry Plant's Savannah, Florida & Western Railway. It was built from High Springs to Archer in 1893. The Savannah, Florida & Western Railway became part of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902, who then extended the line from Archer to Morriston in 1913 and to Dunnellon a year later to connect with the former Silver Springs, Ocala and Gulf Railroad, which built the track between Dunnellon and Homosassa. In the 1960s, a spur was built to the Crystal River Energy Complex.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad eventually evolved into CSX in 1986, with the Florida Northern taking over the line in 1988. The track from Red Level Junction to Crystal River was removed by 1982. The spur to High Springs was removed in 2014.
- Turner, Gregg (2003). A Short History of Florida Railroads. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-2421-4.
- Mulligan, M. (2008). Railroad Depots of Central Florida. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 40, 84, 117–119.
- Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Jacksonville Division and Tampa Division Timetable (1977)
- Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Jacksonville Division and Tampa Division Timetable (1982)
- Murawski, John (2011-01-10). "Merger means uncertainty for Raleigh utility's workers". News & Observer. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- "The High Springs Railroad". Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical. Retrieved 12 March 2018.