• Winter Park, Florida - Military Railroad

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

http://members.tripod.com/airfields_fre ... landoN.htm

Along with being a rail buff I'm also a private pilot and old airport buff. A few years ago I came across the "Abandoned and Little Know Airfields" website at the url above, which had a little write-up on the Showalter Airport in Winter Park, Florida. What is interesting is not so much the airport, but the map showing the US Government - Military Railroad running theough the area.

I used to live in that area and was aware that the Navy had an Underwater Lab on one of the lakes in Winter Park, but I did not know anything about a Military Railroad down there (and I explored the area extensively on my motorcycle). Does anyone know about this railroad and the history of the line?
  by RailVet
Given the railroad's proximity to Orlando, the line might have been part of the military railway at Naval Training Center Orlando (ex-Pinecastle AFB, McCoy AFB and Orlando AFB; turned over in part from the USAF to the USN to become a naval training center in the late 1960s). The base closed in 1999. I'll need to check older topo maps for details but I don't think the line has been active for a very long time.

RailVet, thanks for the reply. Please let me know if you find anything on the old topos. I have explored that area extensively on my motorcycle, but didn't find a trace. However, I once wnet on a lake tour of Winter Park where the guide explained that the area used to have an expensive logging industry which used a narrow gauge railroad to get the trees to the mill and to the main line. That was in the early 1900s, but I suppose the line could have benn used by the military in WWII before they puilled it up.
  by RailVet
I checked some old topographical maps of the area and the one issued in 1956 shows a rail line going south from the wye, along the east perimeter of the base, then turning west at Lake Susannah. It then went straight west, splitting into several tracks alongside about a dozen warehouses on the southeast side of Druid Lake. A very large building, probably the largest in the area by far, sits on a site where another spur terminated. Comparing the 1956 map to one issued in 1994, very little of the old right-of-way remains. The line south from the wye appears to have become the Cady Way Bike Path, but when it reaches the old base perimeter, the path takes a 90-degree eastward turn, then quickly turns south, closely paralleling the perimeter from the outside. The original right-of-way was just inside the fence line. Where the original line turned west by Lake Susannah, the path appears to follow the rail route once again, terminating at what the map identifies as a sub station and a sewage disposal facility. At that point you would be looking directly at the large building sitting on what was one the rail line.