Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad

Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad locomotive no. 69

In 1884 the Florida Central & Western Railroad was merged into a new Florida Railway and Navigation Company controlled by Sir Edward Reed, an English investor. In 1888 financier W. Bayard Cutting and others purchased the Florida Railway and Navigation Company and reorganized it the following year as The Florida Central and Peninsular Railway Company.Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad shield logo

The new company, which operated tracks between Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Chattahoochee, as well as in other areas of northern Florida, soon expanded south to Tampa and central Florida. It also began looking north to Georgia and beyond.

In 1892-93, the FC&P arranged a lease of the brand new South Bound Railroad, a 136-mile line between Savannah and Columbia, S.C. completed in 1891. To connect this railroad with its Florida system, the FC&P built a new 138-mile Savannah-Jacksonville line through Georgia’s coastal counties. When it opened in January 1894, a 274-mile line from Jacksonville to Columbia was created.

The new route generally paralleled the older Savannah, Florida & Western but was substantially closer to the coast. Running north from Yulee, Florida, it crossed the St. Marys River into Georgia and continued through Kingsland, Woodbine, and Riceboro before reaching Savannah. Other communities such as White Oak and Everett were established along the tracks, but all remained small.

In the 1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the FC&P reported operating 933 miles of railroad with 67 locomotives, 103 passenger cars, and 1,883 freight and miscellaneous cars. By this time it had reorganized and changed its name to Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad.

In 1899, the Williams and Middendorf group of Richmond and Baltimore purchased the FC&P and made it part of their Seaboard Air Line. It was merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railway Company in 1903.

Maps and Timetables:

1895 map, Georgia section (44K)

1895 map, entire system (428K)

1896 timetable, Georgia section (130K)

1897 map, competing steamship route (259K)

Engine no. 48, built in 1886. (State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad, trunk line logo

An ad in an 1892 magazine for railway agents promoted the FC&P 's connections to the Midwest by way of Thomasville and Monticello.

Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad logo

Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad locomotive

FC&P passenger engine. (From: Locomotive Engineering, March 1899, p. 131. Online at Internet Archive here.)

Suggested Reading:

Gregg M. Turner. A Journey into Florida Railroad History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008.

1895 advertisement for Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad

(State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, 917.59-I54 01.)

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(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

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