Amtrak's Florida trains : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Hello, I was wondering if anybody could give me some info on a article I read in last month's Train's magazine.It detailed the discussions Amtrak was having with FEC about running one of the Silver Trains down their track to Miami.Does anybody know where these discussions stand,and is this something we could see sometime soon.

Also in the same article they talked about running a train to Tampa via a new line that I can't recall,does anyone know what Im talking about.And would they consider splitting trains again to serve both coasts.Right now there is only one Train the Silver Palm that runs to Tampa on it's way to Miami,Im currious to know if there are plans for more service to Tampa maybe a second train or a dedicated train to the West coast.Also is there another route they could take to Tampa from the North,and maybe another route they could take South maybe through Sarasota to Miami.

As someone who has traveled to Florida on both the Silver Star and Meteror many times,but not since they stopped splitting the trains in Jacksonville and Kissimmee Im curious as to any new routes or plans for Amtrak's Florida trains.Especially in regards to Tampa.

Also is it still possible if Amtrak wanted to or had funding to run trains through to Clearwater and St.Petersbug?I took the Silver Meteror to Clearwater in the very early Eighties.

-- Thomas Volpini (, February 05, 2000


Before the current Tampa -Miami service via the silver Palm, there was a state funded run Tampa-Miami and was also called Silver PAlm. It was 403(b) funded, was not advertised anywhere that I know of and only by word of mouth it seemed to survive, but only for a short time. It was a good run, I worked it many times: LV Tampa about 4pm, AR Miami about 11pm. We took rest and worked back LV Mia 8am, AR Tampa about 2pm. That gave enough time to turn the equipment back on the next south trip. However, it was plagued with short-comings: It was regularly shorted on equipment dut to the close lv time of the Mia-NY run of the Meteor. Consequently, right when the demand fr the service took off, Amtrak seemed to stifle it right back until there was so much dissention by the public to ride it, it was killed.

Since the last election, the state has been mandated to construct a high-speed train system to run between Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Studies are in the works now. There is hope yet...

-- walt rogers (, June 07, 2001.

Just to amplify Jim's answer, terminating the St. Pete leg of the west coast trains allowed the Silver service trains to be run with one less set of equipment per train--a cost saving that couldn't be ignored. Timewise, well I can best illustrate that by telling you that in the 70s I took the train to Clearwate and talked with the crew. One man's wife met too them to work at Tampa, did the grocery shopping, a load of laundry, and then went over to St. Pete to pick them up at the end of the run. It was a very picturesque round about trip, but one that modern technology and the automobile rendered unjustifiable.

-- Doug Riddell (, February 07, 2000.

The Silver Palm route was a pretty slick move on Amtrak's part. At first glance it seems crazy - Miami to NY via Tampa. The Palm eliminated the need for train servicing facility in Tampa, centerning all the south Fla facilities in Miami. The Palm also restored an important link between Miami and Tampa without having to establish another train (there was such a train years ago but it failed, I think). The Palm also eliminated the cumbersome split or join at Aburndale (not Kissimmee) which probably required special workers to separate and join the cars and locomotives. Of course, there isn't a need to do this in Jacksonville either. This straight through method also means no more delays from late connecting trains. Of course, it takes a little longer to jog over to Tampa but it really isn't that far from Lakeland. Since you traverse the same track both ways, I like to think of it as the longest lead track into stub-end station anywhere. While the old ACL station was being used it was probably the only place where a train passed through the same station twice going in the same direction! I have taken the Palm several times from NC to WPB and really enjoy it. The Lakeland/Tampa round trip is wierd but fun. I wouldn't hold out any hope for any trains to St. Pete. It is a whole lot quicker to take a Bus across the bay than to go around it on a train.

-- Jim Coviello (, February 06, 2000.

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