Our permanent signs have been made and should be mounted by September 9th. Marvis Champion took on this project and did the “leg work” – approval from the city, sign permit, and other arrangements.
Members clear your calendars for our upcoming RailFest, October 16th & 17th, Saturday & Sunday. We still have many things to accomplish before then – layout work, cleaning museum displays & floors. We will be doing these on Monday and Tuesday evenings each week, and Saturday, Oct. 9th.
Please invite family and friends to assist us as volunteers during the weekend. We can use them as greeters in the museum or in front of Railrodeo. Even if they are only available for an hour Saturday or Sunday, it would be helpful.
Elections for President, Treasurer, and Board Member will be held at the October meeting. Please contact one of the officers if you are interested. Nominations will also be taken from the floor at the October meeting.
Later this year we will have a joint meeting with the Northeast Florida Chapter of the Railway Locomotive and Historical Society. They will provide the program for our November meeting.
Howard Blasczyk, President
Did You Know?
Germany’s Deutsche Bahn railroad is Europe’s largest freight operator. Its companies operate in the Netherlands, Poland, France and Britain, as well as other countries.
Deutsche Bahn is expanding passenger operations in Europe. It now operates an ICE (inter-city express) passenger train from Frankfurt to Paris, France. Its ICE trains are more spacious than the French TGV, but not as fast. The French are also providing high-speed passenger service from France to Germany.
In October, Deutsche Bahn plans to test an ICE-3 high speed train through the “Chunnel”. They hope to be able to provide passenger service from Germany to London for the 2012 Olympics.
The David Browning Railroad Museum has a 1:20 scale Exhibition Model of Deutsche Bahn ICE, and also displays some early ICE souvenirs.
Current Officers for 2010
President: Howard Blasczyk
Vice-President: Jerry Iser
Treasurer: Ray Lucas
Secretary: Marie Blasczyk
Florida East Coast Railway:
~ mile posts 62 to 87
“FORGOTTEN EAST COAST”
Located west of the original mainline of Florida East Coast Railway between St. Augustine and Bunnell was the Palatka Branch. It connected East Palatka with Palatka via a bridge across the St. Johns River. Although the branch route was only 1.81 miles, it provided rail service to Palatka proper and connection with the Atlantic Coast Line.
In April of 1888, Palatka Bridge Co. incorporated for a period of 99 years. The bridge was completed by December 10th, after just seventy days of construction. In May of 1896, Henry Flagler acquired the property rights and franchises of Palatka Bridge Co.
Originally trains stopped at the Water Street passenger platform on the riverfront. However by 1908, FEC trains were stopping at Union Station, twelve blocks from the river. Union Station was constructed by the Atlantic Coast Line and jointly operated with the FEC. It had two telegrapher bays, one on the west side for ACL and one at the north end for the FEC.
After stopping at the platform on the north side of Union Station, FEC trains would back down Main St. to the river then across the bridge to East Palatka. This was not without problems. On February 11, 1913, train No. 37 backed off the open draw span, apparently left open by the bridge tender. The trailing Pullman was partially submerged, but the coupling held fast and there were no injuries - just a number of terrified passengers, according to the news paper account.
During June of 1917, a “gas-electric” motorcar was used on the branch. This service was short-lived as it is not listed in early 1918 schedules. In September of 1934, passenger, mail and express service ceased on the branch – it was transferred to the highway with ICC approval.
Freight service continued on the Palatka Branch until November of 1948. The FEC deemed the bridge unsafe and petitioned for abandonment. A year later the ICC gave approval. The draw span was opened for the last time in 1950.