My introduction to Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line began when my stepfather (a Florida native) moved my mother and stepbrothers and sister from Dallas, Texas, to Tampa in June 1959.  Born in Dallas on July 4, 1946, I turned 13 in 59.  We lived with my stepfather's parents in Tampa on B Street until we found suitable housing.  The ACL's Rome Avenue spur off the Port Tampa branch crossed B Street where a switcher, usually an assigned SW7, switched the many industries on Rome as well as a few team tracks as well.  We took the train from Big D to Tampa.  T&P-L&N-SAL.  Indeed, a grand trip which included a daylight layover in New Orleans, where I got to see streetcars again, as Dallas had converted to busses by 59.

By 59 Purple Diesels were becoming rare as the railroad had switched to black although buildings, baggage cars, and CN&L GP7s (a South Carolina subsidery of ACL) remained for several years into the 60s, a reminder of a proud past.  

Soon after our second move back to Tampa from Texas (we relocated back to Texas briefly in 61) I met Robert Taff at a hobby shop in north Tampa and we became best friends until his untimely passin g in April 2006.  (RIP Robert).  Tampa Union Station became our regular hangout.  We met a veteran engineer who permitted us to visit him in the cab of E units when he was on duty.  Oh to return to those carefree pre-9/11 days with no "armed" security forces...!!!  LOL  After TR 92, the northbound West Coast Champion left TUS at 12:01 PM we'd hike down the Port Tampa line to spend the afternoon with Chester "The Most" Holley* in his hobby shop in the Palma Ceia area of south Tampa.

*Item: Chester and his wife Margo were instramental in organizing the Southern Division of the TCA.  "The Most" was used in ads Chester placed in MR and Railroad Model Craftsman.  It meant he maintained a well stocked inventory of trains in all gauges.  Note that O Gauge Railroading ran a three part series on Chester in the 1980s.

ACL freights to and from the port hauling outbound loaded phosphate dumps and inbound loaded tank cars would pass by the rear of Chester's shop, usually behind F units with red painted wood cabooses bringing up the rear.  A large lift up garage door in the back of the shop was always open with a fine view of the track putting on a real neat show for two teenage boys who dreamed to go railroading after high school.  We did too!

Though apartment living here in Germany leaves little space for a layout, other than perhaps a small compact S scale shelf layout in my basement, after it receives a facelift.  Any smaller scale is out of the question!  It would be freelanced, with a brick red painted depot, perhaps Plasticville?  Nothing close to Tampa Union Station of course, but to qoute an old Model Railroader magazine slogan, "Model Railroading IS Fun!"

You bet it is!

Joe Toth 

     

Joe, great memories!  Have you ever thought about doing an article?  The ACL/SAL Historical Society puts out a quarterly magazine LINES SOUTH, and could probably use a couple.

http://www.aclsal.org/

The ACL line coming into Portsmouth VA was a bit over a stones throw behind my house, but I was so scared of those huge things back then I can't recall if I saw any purple engines or not.  There was a small trestle between my house and the little league baseball fields that I would walk on sometimes but it was scary to look down between the ties and see nothing but water.  Within eyesight of my house there was an ACL swing bridge over the southern branch of the Elizabeth River, back in 1905 an excursion train plunged into the river due to the bridge being open, killing between 15-27 people depending on the reports.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

I got permission - Jim DeBruin took the photo and owns the model.  It is a bronze cast GP7 or 9 - ( I personally don't know the difference).

Jim thinks the model was cast by Bill Lenoir, a reasonably famous custom builder with an ACL affinity.  The model was owned by the late David Eslick.  Both are from the Tampa area.  David was well liked in the O Scale community.

I have one of these, ACL decals, and purple spray paint.  Just haven't taken the time to tape the stripes - she sits in orange-yellow, waiting . . .imageimage

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Bob Delbridge posted:

Thought I'd dredge this up again.

Anyone got the Lionel 21" ACL passenger cars?  How are they?  Are they still available?

has anyone contacted GGD about making an ACL set?  Better yet, has GGD made any similar cars that ACL owned/used?

Bob,

I took a look at the Lionel 21" cars and decided not to buy them for a couple of reasons:

1.  I have some K-Line NYC Empire State Express 21" Budd cars and a K-Line California Zephyr 21" Budd sleeper relettered for ACL and in my opinion they look nicer than the painted plastic Lionel cars.  As you know, the K-Line cars are aluminum.

2.  The Lionel cars are generic, and thus are at best a representative approximation of the ACL cars, just like my relettered K-Line cars.

3.  The Lionel cars use the short purple letterboards, which I believe date from the mid-1950's, as opposed to the full-length purple painted letterboards used prior to that, which I have on my relettered K-Line cars.  I think the full-length purple painted boards look much nicer, particularly the wrap-around on the boat tail of the observation.

For about the same cost as the Lionel cars, you could get some K-Line aluminum cars and end up with a much nicer looking set, in my opinion.  The Lionel painted plastic on the ACL cars just looks cheap to me.

 

Thanks for the update!

I'll pass, I have enough generic stuff.

I don't know enough about ACL passenger cars to even think about contacting GGD to do a set.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

bob2,

The number 146 puts it in the GP7 category (100-253), I'm not sure if ACL even had any GP9s.  All of the louvered doors look right for an ACL GP7 as do the lights and horn.

Bronze...isn't that a bit on the heavy side?

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Yes.  We are doorstop collectors - almost all of my Diesels and electrics are cast brass or bronze.

I was making a joke.  I cannot tell the difference between a GP7 and 9 because it does not rise to any discernible level of interest for me.

Some of you may know I am an aviator - I feel the same way about forward and side slips.  Even more esoteric - I refuse to memorize the difference between wash-in and wash-out.

bob2 posted:

Yes.  We are doorstop collectors - almost all of my Diesels and electrics are cast brass or bronze.

I was making a joke.  I cannot tell the difference between a GP7 and 9 because it does not rise to any discernible level of interest for me.

Some of you may know I am an aviator - I feel the same way about forward and side slips.  Even more esoteric - I refuse to memorize the difference between wash-in and wash-out.

Your model is a GP-7, based on the 3 louvers under the cab and on battery box doors. ACL did not own any GP-9s, just a whole bunch of GP-7s. 

Larry Neal TCA, LCCA Fan of the ACL, SAL, SOU, Clinchfield

Just a note - 3rd Rail still has the ACL GP-7 shown for order on their site. This would be the only prototypical ACL GP-7 made in O scale with the safety light attachment above the headlights. They will be purple/silver with the silver colored herald by the nose. Fixed pilots, O54 curves. He had them removed a few days ago, but added them back to the mix. Depending on the numbers may be steam generator equipped. 

MTH has just released their Rail King version of an ACL GP-7 as well, but will not be near as detailed as the 3rd Rail version. 

Larry Neal TCA, LCCA Fan of the ACL, SAL, SOU, Clinchfield

Bob Delbridge posted:

Thanks for the update!

I'll pass, I have enough generic stuff.

I don't know enough about ACL passenger cars to even think about contacting GGD to do a set.

Bob,

GGD may be interested in a Champion train set since they had good results with the Silver Meteor. They are also exploring 18" versions of the 21" cars, so people can have the same detail but on smaller cars. I am sure the ACL/SAL Historical Society can help with proper car diagrams, and I have all the red covered Pullman diagram books for southeast cars from years ago.

They are more generic cars, but a company called Phoenix Rail Ways made nice 18" cars lettered for the ACL and FEC back in the 90s. I happened upon a set a few years ago, and they are nice, but have silhouettes instead of figures inside.  

Larry Neal TCA, LCCA Fan of the ACL, SAL, SOU, Clinchfield

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