locked The SCL Merger

George Eichelberger

Yet another major file(s) in the SRHA archives concern the Seaboard Coast Line merger in the mid 60s. In addition to competition from the ACL and SAL combination, the Southern was interested in improving their access to SCL traffic in Jacksonville (there was never any long haul interchange with the ACL there), Southern wanted to get to Tampa because of its port facilities and to have access to phosphate traffic out of Florida's "Bone Valley".

The courts quite consistently found in favor of ACL/SAL and ag ainst the Southern, FEC and GM&O (!). The various court battles, filings, local newspaper and editorial efforts make for a large file. Some findings by the ICC and courts against the Southern are inexplicable, it appears only one was overturned that allowed Southern to interchange cars with SCL in Jacksonville.

Giving up the trackage rights from Hardeeville to Jacksonville and to Portsmouth, VA are stories themselves. Why the Southern did not get the Tampa Northern to give it access to Tampa and the BV from the Palatka line are not explained except that SCL fought hard against it and the Florida courts appear to have been quite pro SCL.

A related file in the archives is on the little known plans for the Florida Phosphate Railroad that would have given the phosphate people their own line to Port Manatee. SCL would not allow a crossing at grade, a bridge over the Coast Line would have been too close to Tampa Bay to stop the heavy (!) phosphate trains.


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