the early period of the growth of our country, the rail system became
the way to travel from point A to point B on land a bit faster than a
horse and buggy.
The first steam locomotive was built in the US by Peter Cooper and called the Tom Thumb. It was the first to be operated on common-carrier railroads. Our country was only about 50 yrs old when this occurred.
The first track did not cover a great distance; a mere 13 miles. From this meager beginning emerged rails which crisscrossed our great land many times over. The width of the rails is 8' apart. This distance is traced back to Roman chariots which used that width. Even our normal size cars today have the same wheelbase.
For a while a shorter width was used for small rails. When the cars were transferred to the main tracks, the wheels were changed to fit the regular tracks.
The first system was launched on Feb. 28, 1827 and carried both passengers and freight. Now the farmer had a faster way to get his crops and animals to larger towns and cities.
The advent of the train did not deter our early pioneers from using the more accepted mode of transportation, the covered wagon. As more railroad systems were built, people began to see the advantage of traveling by train.
The first train in Florida was in 1834 running between Tallahassee and St. Marks.
This shows many of the trains that operated in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. The passes are from 1886-1889.
During the same time period in Lake Co. there were a good number of lines as well.
According to the public records office these companies were in existence:
Tavares, Apopka & Gulf Railroad
Florida Railway & Navigation Company
Sanford & Lake Eustis Railway
Florida Southern Railway Company (Main Line)
Florida Southern Railway Company (St. Johns & Lake Eustis Dev)
Tavares, Orlando & "All" Railroad Company
JM&P Railroad Mayport to Arlington
Orange Belt Railroad Company
Starke Train Schedule, July 26, 1906
East Florida Banner Ocala, FlJan 11, 1870 Col. Robertson Topp, of Memphis, Tenn
Railroads- Polk Co. 1883 - 1979
Seaboard Coast Line, Rand Yard, Sanford
Alco RS3s in Florida