Track 2 - Atlantic Seaboard and Florida Service

To a railfan the title of this section has a clear double meaning: The Seaboard Air Line and the Atlantic Coast Line; one of the fiercest rivalries during the entire streamliner era. Beginning with the Silver Meteor and Champion of 1939, the respective lines fought like tigers for their shares of the lucrative market in passenger traffic from the Northeast to Florida. Also in this section you will find trains which offered through service from the Midwest to southern Florida (Miami/Tampa/St. Petersburg). This section now includes trains which served northern Florida and Jacksonville.


The Trains:

The Champion

Atlantic Coast Line management initially scoffed at Seaboard's Silver Meteor, believing that the conservative Florida traffic would never embrace such new and radical innovation. When the Meteor turned out to be more of a success than even Seaboard had hoped, the A. C. L. management pulled one of the fastest about-faces in the history of railroading. New streamlined equipment was ordered, built, and placed in service within that same year. Throughout most of its life, the Champion operated in both East Coast (Miami) and West Coast (Tampa/St. Petersburg) variants.
Tamiami Champion (East Coast) - June, 1941
Tamiami Champion (West Coast) - June, 1941
Champion - April, 1971

The City of Miami

One of a trio (after 1957, a duo) of streamliners placed in service in December 1940 which, combined, provided daily service between Chicago and Florida.
City of Miami - June, 1941
City of Miami - April, 1971

The Del-Mar-Va Express

The Pennsylvania Railroad operated this service through the Eastern Shore of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia between Philadelphia and Cape Charles, Virginia, with connecting steamer service for Norfolk.
Del-Mar-Va Express - October, 1943

The Dixie Flagler

The Dixie Flagler was the second of the Chicago-Florida streamliner trio, operating every third day via Nashville and Atlanta. Late in its life it would, briefly, be renamed the Dixieland.
Dixie Flagler - June 1941

The Florida Special

This winter-season-only train was Atlantic Coast Line's answer to the Orange Blossom Special. Upgraded with streamlined equipment in 1949, it would continue operating during the winter seasons into the Amtrak era.
Florida Special - December 1949

The Gulf Wind

This overnight train, a joint venture of the Louisville & Nashville and the Seaboard Air Line (later S.C.L.) completed the southern transcontinental link between Jacksonville and New Orleans.
Gulf Wind - December, 1949
Gulf Wind - April, 1971

The Havana Special

Following completion of the Florida East Coast's Key West Extension, this through train between New York and Key West became the flagship of Atlantic Coast Line and FEC, with help from partners Pennsylvania and R. F. & P. north of Richmond. After the line to Key West was damaged and abandoned in the wake of the 1935 hurricane, it continued to operate as a premium train from New York to Miami.
Havana Special - February 1933

The Kansas City-Florida Special

Through service between Kansas City and Jacksonville via Memphis, Birmingham and Atlanta. Operated jointly by the Frisco and Southern Railway.
Kansas City-Florida Special - April, 1961

The New Royal Palm

A winter-season-only streamlined sibling of the Royal Palm, which offered two-night-out through service between the Great Lakes region and Miami from 1949 to 1955. Operated by the New York Central, the Southern Railway, and Florida East Coast.
New Royal Palm - March 1951

The Orange Blossom Special

The heavyweight train which inspired the classic bluegrass tune carried vacationers from New York and the Northeast to Florida resorts in the winter seasons between 1925 and 1953.
Orange Blossom Special - December, 1941
Orange Blossom Special - December, 1952

The Silver Star

When you re-equip your railroad's flagship train, what do you do with the old but still serviceable equipment? If you're the Seaboard Air Line, you inaugurate a whole new streamliner with it. Initially christened in December 1947 as a winter season running mate to the Silver Meteor, by late 1948 the Silver Star was operating year-round.
Silver Star - April, 1971

The South Wind

Third of the Chicago-Florida triplets, the South Wind, operating via Louisville and Nashville, would become the only one of the three to survive the coming of Amtrak - for eight years, at least.
South Wind - June, 1941
South Wind - April, 1971

See Also:

Track 5:  The Silver Meteor
All comments, original material and page design copyright 2006-2014 by Eric H. Bowen. Page updated 2014-11-18.