Future Amtrak/FEC plams

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I just read in TRAINS that Amtrak plans on routing two Miami trains daily in each direction over FEC's Jax-West Palm Beach segment slated for a late 2002 startup. Since there are currently only three Amtrak trains to Florida (excluding Auto-Train) it seems to me this will leave a gap in existing Miami routes. Either the ex-SAL via Wildwood or the ex-ACL via Orlando will lose it's service, and I seriously doubt Orlando will get dropped. Does anyone have info on what the plans are? Thanks.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), June 19, 2001


I feel it has been almost 40 years since the last Florida East Coast Passenger train rolled out of Jacksonville and it is going to be nice seeing Amtrak service run on the Florida East Coast for the first time since 1963 when the FEC stopped rolling their passenger trains and the passenger car fleet was picked up by the Seaboard Air Line and the Atlantic Coast Line. It would be nice if Amtrak were to add more New York to Florida trains to the schedule plus I would like to see the Sunset Limited go all the way down to Miami again, like it did when it started running from Los Angeles all the way to Miami when Amtrak expanded service back in 1991. It is going to be something to see when Amtrak rolls down the tracks of the Florida East Coast for the first time since 1963 with stops for those who want to go to Daytona Beach or St. Augustine even Cape Canaveral formally known as Cape Kennedy.

-- Bradford Paulson (bpaulson909@msn.com), August 11, 2002.

An interesting addendum to these postings: The Florida Legislature voted to cut funding for the FEC route. Seeing as Amtrak has no money the project would have died. Governor Jeb however vetoed the funding cut and now the talk is trains will run in 2003.

By the way, he DID approve the cuts to school programs.

-- Roy P. Bower (RoyPBower@juno.com), January 13, 2002.

There was an article in the Wednesday Tampa Tribune stating the upcoming Amtrak-FEC startup in the spring of 2002. Two roundtrips daily. A demo train ran this past Tuesday consisting of FEC GP-40 442, Amtrak Genesis loco, Superliner car, several Heritage Coaches, and looks like an office car on the rear. Might be a diner and a sleeper.

Potential stops with new stations will be: St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cocoa/Port Canaveral, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce and Stuart. It will take about $8 million for construction, and $60 million to upgrade the main line to build more track, signals, and sidings.

-- Walt Rogers (wjriii@gte.net), June 22, 2001.

Bob, As I understand it, the Meteor and Star would split at Jacksonville and the Palm will continue to run via Wildwood, Tampa, Sebring. While one side of the split trains would run via FEC, it wasn't made clear where the other split would go after Orlando. (Tampa, possibly?) Now, that said, while Amtrak and FEC have come to an agreement, everything is contengent upon the State of Florida coming up with about $64-million (I believe the news story said today) for track and station work. But Florida says it has no money, so don't go rushing out to buy those tickets to Daytona yet.

-- doug riddell (railroaddoug@erols.com), June 20, 2001.

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