Poinciana, Fla.

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We are seeking information on the Amtrak station stop at Poinciana, Fla., for use in a future issue of Lines South. Poinciana was a new station built and put into service some time between the May 1974 and September 1974 Amtrak timetables. It was billed as a closer stop for the then-new Disney World than Orlando. Poinciana was also added to the SCL employee timetables around this same time. It was on the "A line" main at MP 813.5, 5 ˝ miles south of Kissimmee and 23 miles south of Orlando. There was no Amtrak stop at Kissimmee at this time. Strangely, the SCL ETT showed Poinciana’s trackage as a “yard.”

Some time between the October 1975 and February 1976 Amtrak timetables, Poinciana disappeared and Kissimmee was substituted as the Amtrak stop for Disney World. Poinciana was still in the SCL ETT as of the Oct. 29, 1978, Jacksonville/Tampa Division issue, but was gone by the next ETT, Oct. 28, 1979. In the Oct. 1978 ETT, Poinciana was no longer shown as having a “yard” and had no siding or any other car capacity.

Supposedly few if any passengers ever got on or off at Poinciana. We’d like any information, photos, etc. that anyone can provide. Thanks.

-- Larry Goolsby (lgoolsby@aphsa.org), June 03, 2003


Larry, You weren't dreaming. I have the Poinciana Amtrak dater die. It doesn't look like it was used much, if any. If I remember correctly, didn't Amtrak run an "Auto Trak" exibit train to Tampa. Elvis (dah@svic.net)

-- Elvis (dah@svic.net), June 04, 2003.

Thanks Jim, now I know we aren't dreaming either! I forgot to say yesterday that another angle to all this is that Poinciana was apparently part of Amtrak's plan for a midwest-to-Florida auto-train service, which Amtrak said it would start up in 1974 as competition when the Auto-Train Corporation announced its own Louisville-Sanford auto-train service. Amtrak's service would have been called "Auto Trak," and Amtrak ran a test train for it with equipment lettered that way. The terminals would have been Indianapolis and "Kissimmee," but in fact I think the "yard" at Poinciana was going to be the actual southern terminal. Amtrak decided not to proceed with its auto- train service, although of course the A-T Corporation did so beginning in June 1974. (Doing so was the beginning of the A-T Corp's financial troubles and downfall - the full story is forthcoming in Lines South.)

Anyway, since Amtrak had by then already built the Poinciana station, it evidently decided to make the best of the situation and go ahead and use the facility as a station stop. The fact that it closed only a year and a half later must have meant it was unpopular with passengers - perhaps there were other problems too. The re-opening of Kissimmee as a station stop (for the first time since Amtrak took over) on Dec. 12, 1975 (Joe Oates found and pinpointed this date) may have also been the result of lobbying by the city of Kissimmee to restore their station stop - does anybody recall?

Joe also recalls rumors that once Amtrak took over the Washington- Florida auto-train service in the early 1980s, Amtrak was going to move the Sanford A-T shops to Poinciana. That didn't happen of course, and at some point in the 1980s the facility and trackage disappeared.

-- Larry Goolsby (lgoolsby@aphsa.org), June 04, 2003.

Wow! I thought It was a dream but it must be true! In August 1974 I made an Amtrak trip from Lakeland to Jacksonville. We quickly passed what looked like a new off line passenger station with several tracks on the west side. It was away from the right-of-way on it's own land like the Auto Train facility in Sanford. The conductor told me that it was a new Amtrak terminal for Disney World traffic including a possible extension of the Auto train. I did not think about this again for many years and then "remembered" it when on other trips on the A line. I realized that no such station then existed so I looked for evidence of it and found none. I concluded that I must have been snoozing in 1974 and just remembered a dream. After all - it was a crazy idea anyway - Amtrak building a terminal for Disney and then letting it go without a trace! Well, Larry, now you have me wondering again what I saw and what it was all about. I too would love pictures.

-- Jim Coviello (jcovi60516@aol.com), June 03, 2003.

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