Skip to main content

Florida Friday; Pinola Train Wreck Site

In far eastern Citrus County along the Withlacoochee River there is a small ghost town known Pineola along former Florida State Road 39/County Route 39.  Pineola once was a siding of a Atlantic Coast Railroad line which as the sight of the "Great Train Wreck of 1956."


The former Atlantic Coast Railroad line is now part of the Withlacoochee State Trail which details the Great Train Wreck of 1956.  The Great Train Wreck of 1956 was a head-on collision between two trains; one heading south from Dunnellon and the other heading north from Croom.  Both trains were heading towards each other with a full payload of freight at speeds close to 50 MPH.  The wreck was blamed on foggy conditions leading to a failure to notice that both trains on the same track until was too late.  Apparently both trains had just been fitted with radios which the engineered involved refused to use until they were given pay as radio operators.  Apparently one of Croom Station agents attempted in vein to intercept the northbound train along what was FL 39.  The actual historic marker on the Withlacoochee State Trail can be observed:

hmbd.org on the Great Train Wreck of 1956

The site of the Great Train Wreck of 1956 can be observed from CR 39 in Pineola.


FL 39 originally ran from Hopewell at FL 60 north to FL 48 in Floral City.  FL 39 was a hidden designation of US 98 Zephrhills north to Ridge Manor where it split north along the Withlacoochee River to FL 48.  This 1956 State Highway Map shows the alignment of FL 39 north of US 98 as a Secondary State Road.

1956 Florida State Road Map

Pineola was originally the site of a Limestone Mine in the Pineola Grotto.  The Pineola Grotto apparently hosts various unique plant species and may have hosted more in the past.  Pineola first appears on the 1895 Citrus County Map.

1895 Citrus County Map

The Withlacoochee State Trail is a 46 mile bike route which was part of Atlantic Coast Railroad track between Citrus Springs and Lacoochee.  The line had been active in the 1880s before it was acquired by the Atlantic Coast Railroad in 1893.  In the second half of the 20th Century the Atlantic Coast Railroad was gradually merged into the CSX Railroad.  The Citrus Springs to Lacoochee Line was shuttered in 1987 and was taken over by the State of Florida to build the Withlacoochee State Trail in 1989.



Comments

Jim Grey said…
What an incredibly thorough treatment. You put a lot of work in here and it shows.

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 238; the Interstate numbering abomination carved out of an otherwise mundane State Highway

How does one make an otherwise unremarkable stretch of State Highway the absolute bane of the road community?  Make a small portion of said State Highway into a Interstate Highway but one that retains it's completely out of grid State Highway number.  One such route does exist; California State Route 238 and it's better known segment Interstate 238.


CA 238/I-238 (I'll be referring to this highway frequently as Highway 238 for simplicity) including a relinquished segment in Hayward is a 16 mile "highway" starting at I-680 in Fremont which heads northwest to I-880 in San Leandro.  Only an approximately 2.1 mile segment of Highway 238 between I-580 and I-880 is part of the Interstate system.

The numbering oddity behind I-238 stems from the fact that California Legislatively does not allow numbering duplication.  In the eyes of the Legislature there is no difference between a State Highway, US Route and Interstate Highway.  That being the said all highways maintained…

Interstate 380

This past weekend I drove over twenty Californian highways with a good chunk of them being around the San Francisco Bay Area.   The first highway I attempted was Interstate 380 from San Francisco International Airport west to I-280.


I-380 is an approximately 1.7 mile freeway connecting from US 101 at San Francisco International Airport west to I-280.  The entire routing of I-380 is within San Mateo County and despite it's small size was conceived as a much larger route.

According to CAhighways.org the path of I-380 was first conceived as Legislative Route Number 229 in 1947 between US 101 Bypass west to US 101 in San Bruno.

CAhighways.org on LRN 229

LRN 229 was extended to CA 1 Pacifica in 1959 by the Legislature.  While LRN 229 in it's original form was too small display on State Highway Maps it does appear in full scope by the 1960 addition.

1960 State Highway Map

During the 1964 State Highway renumbering LRN 229 was reassigned as LRN 186 which is reflective on the State Hig…

The Cemetery inside the Interstate 85 Median

Near Gaffney, South Carolina between exits 95 and 96, Interstate 85 separates to allow for a wider median.  The reason - a small family cemetery that dates to the mid-1800s.  The Lipscomb-Sarratt or  Ross-Lipscomb cemetery is an example of the numerous small family burial plots that were found within many rural farms and plantations throughout the South during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The cemetery consists of at least 13 gravestones with six that still have legible markings.  Most of those buried passed away between 1850-1880.   The cemetery is also one of the oldest in Cherokee County.



How the cemetery came to exist in the middle of an increasingly busy Interstate 85 is an interesting story.  In the early 1950s, South Carolina moved US 29 onto a newly built a two lane express highway from the North Carolina State Line near Grover to northwest of Spartanburg.  At the time, the cemetery sat just to the new highway's south.  What is now the Southbound lanes of Interstate 85 car…