Written by: Cody Wittenmyer

April 2016 Edition

Atlantic Coast Line

Dates of Operation: 1900-1967 (67 years)

The Atlantic Coast Line railroad, (Reporting Marks: ACL), was a former Class I railroad that merged with the Seaboard Air Line (SAL) to form the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) railroad. The Seaboard Coast Line merged with the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) railroad (See February's edition), which was later known as "SCL/L&N" or "The Family Lines System" which was later renamed Seaboard System. (See March's edition) The Seaboard System merged with the Chessie System in the forming of present-day CSX Transportation. The Atlantic Coast Line had over 50 predecessors, some of which included: Hartsville Railroad, Brunswick & Albany, Savannah & Charleston, Waycross Airline, Orange Belt Railway, Manchester & Augusta, East Florida Railway, and the Plant System.

The Atlantic Coast Line serviced most of the Southeast, much like its biggest competitor, Louisville & Nashville. Unfortunately because of this, ACL was not the most successful railroad. Although having one of the most beautiful and unique paint schemes, competition grew. In early October of 1958, another class I railroad was on the rise. Its other fierce competitor, Seaboard Air Line, had begun to discuss a possible merger. In 1967, the merger of the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line became official, thus creating the Seaboard Coast Line.

However, both railroads continued their rivalry with the Louisville & Nashville even after the name was changed to Seaboard Coast Line. The two had a long feud, but in the end, it was SCL that took over the remaining operations. The still prosperous L&N "Old Reliable" would be known as an equal, making the new railroad, "SCL/L&N" in 1971. However, multiple railroads had entered into the picture. Notable ones included the Clinchfield (CRR), Atlanta & West Point (A&WP), and the Georgia Railroad (GA). This became known as the "Family Lines System". Family Lines System changed their name to "Seaboard System" (SBD) in later years.

Locomotive Roster-
Atlantic Coast Line Diesel Locomotives
Atlantic Coast Line Photographic Roster

Atlantic Coast Line Passenger Trains-
  • Champion
  • Everglades
  • Florida Special
  • Gulf Coast Special
  • Havana Special
  • Miamian
  • Palmetto
  • Vacationer

Andy Fletcher's drawing of an ACL E7.

You can find more history of the ACL on:

Atlantic Coast Line Photos-

Both pictures from http://www.railpictures.net/.

Atlantic Coast Line Remembered-

CSX C40-8W #7889 wears the ACL logo. CSX had recently started putting its predecessor railroad's logos on their locomotives in 2015. Photo taken from heritageunits.com.

ACL's last surviving unit sits at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. ACL E6 #501 pulled what was argued as their most-famous passenger train, "The Champion". In 2014, it was one of the "Spencer Streamliners" at Spencer, North Carolina. **Not my photo.**