SAL in Miami, FL : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Can anyone give me answers to the following? 1. Exactly what year did the SAL begin passenger service to Miami, FL?

2. Where was the original depot? Was it the one located at N.W. 7th Avenue and N.W. 23 Street?

-- Frank C. Davis (, August 11, 2000


As an addition to Bob Venditti's answer, the SAL station in Miami was built just after the Florida Real estate bubble of the mid 1920's burst. Steps were taken to reduce the cost of the building and underneath the stucco surfaces, the structure was wood. Needless to say, wood was not the best material to use for longevity in the Miami climate and by the time AMTRAK arrived, the building was showing structural problems. These structural problems would have cost a lot to resolve and they contributed to the demise of the depot. I remember that the interior was always rather gloomy, and never seemed to be "clean". Not that it was dirty, it just did not seem to be as spotless as the trains parked outside.

Other factors which contributed to the demise of the station were the high costs involved in backing up the trains to the Hialeah yards as well as the inconvenient grade crossing just west of the end of the canopies. Trains which were long enough to block the crossing were required to be cut, thus increasing switching costs. The City fathers were unkind to the railroad when they felt that the access to the areas adjacent to the station were blocked by trains, especially when fire and police were required and had to detour.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, August 15, 2000.

Question #2- Yes, that was the original and only passenger station built in Miami by the Seaboard. I believe it was opened in 1927. It served Amtrak until they built a new station further north in Hialeah within the yard's balloon track, opened around 1977.

There was a cursory effort made in the mid-'70's to keep Amtrak at the 7th Ave station and upgrade the facility in order to "bring up the surrounding neighborhood". But the station was very lackluster when compared to other SAL Mediteranean Revival stations throughout southern Florida, and thus it didn't have many friends eager to preserve it for its preceived archetectural worth. If the surrounding blight wasn't enough of a problem, Amtrak no longer wanted to endure the long switching runs needed to pull consists to and from Hialeah Yard which was aprox. six miles north.

A high-rise womens' detention facility now stands where the SAL passenger station once stood. To someone's credit, the stations only significant archetectural flourish- the stucco entrance portico- still stands, its base blocked off by a chain link fence. The SAL freight station was located about a block to the south on 7th Ave. When I last saw it around 1998, it was partially burnt and plastered with grafitti. It was razed shortly thereafter.

Other original SAL depots nearby: Hialeah (restored, used to house a farmers market, now closed). Opa Locka ( the object of countless aborted restoration projects, partially restored, but looks like this last effort- like all the others before it- has been abandoned also. Currently has no roof, but is fenced off to discourage vandalism)

-- Bob Venditti (, August 15, 2000.

The Seaboard ran passenger trains into Miami over the FEC many years before the extention was opened.

-- J.Oates (jlosal@, August 13, 2000.

The answer to your first question is: The 70 miles from West Palm Beach to Miami, Florida, was opened by the Seaboard Air Line on January 8, 1927.

-- Tom Underwood (, August 11, 2000.

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