The Golden Age of Florida Train Travel

In the early decades of the 20th century, trains such as the Florida Special and the Orange Blossom Express brought tourists all the way to Miami and beyond. Commercial lines transported Florida's produce and other products to northern markets.

Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Marshall arrive for the conference: Palm Beach, Florida (1948)
Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Marshall arrive for the conference: Palm Beach, Florida (1948)

Image Number: C008916

Accompanying note: "Mr. & Mrs. W.S. Marshall of Cleveland, Ohio, getting off the train at F.E.C. station. "NACDS" SPECIAL- representing Cunningham Drug Co. of Detroit."

Trains pulling lumber: Copeland, Florida (ca. 1948)
Trains pulling lumber: Copeland, Florida (ca. 1948)

Image Number: C009410

Latin band greeting visitor: Miami, Florida (1936)
Latin band greeting visitor: Miami, Florida (1936)

Image Number: N038732

Dixie Flagler: Hollywood, Florida (1941)
Dixie Flagler: Hollywood, Florida (1941)

Image Number: N038725

Unidentified woman boarding the Orange Blossom Special train: Sebring, Florida (ca. 1930)
Unidentified woman boarding the Orange Blossom Special train: Sebring, Florida (ca. 1930)

Image Number: PHA165

Trains helped to establish new towns and cities in Florida, and served integral roles in the lumber, phosphate, tourist, manufacturing and agricultural industries. Passenger travel and commerce began to decline in 1920s, after dominating for more than 40 years.

Streamliner on the Florida East Coast (ca. 1945)
Streamliner on the Florida East Coast (ca. 1945)

Image Number: PC2949

The kind we raise in our state (ca. 1912)
The kind we raise in our state (ca. 1912)

Image Number: PC2951

Produce being loaded into refrigerated cars (195_)
Produce being loaded into refrigerated cars (195_)

Image Number: N038717

Moving the tomato crop (1921)
Moving the tomato crop (1921)

Image Number: N048843

The Moore Haven and Clewiston Railway (M.H. & C. Ry) was acquired by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company (ACL) on July 1, 1925.

Planes flying over new streamliner (1939)
Planes flying over new streamliner (1939)

Image Number: PR09204

Trains began to change drastically, with improvements in car design and railroad construction. The diesel-electric locomotive almost replaced steam engines by the 1940s. Other forms of transportation-first automobiles, then aircraft-became popular alternatives to train travel.

Station opening: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1956)
Station opening: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1956)

Image Number: PR09206

President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard train: Jacksonville, Florida (ca. 1943)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard train: Jacksonville, Florida (ca. 1943)

Image Number: RC09089

Arrival of the Orange Blossom Special train: Plant City, Florida (1938)
This was the arrival of the first diesel-powered passenger train in the Southeast.

Image Number: RC10733

Florida East Coast Railway steam engine #153: Miami, Florida (19__)
Florida East Coast Railway steam engine #153: Miami, Florida (19__)

Image Number: RC07782

56 Carloads of new 1958 Ramblers (1958)
56 Carloads of new 1958 Ramblers (1958)

Image Number: PR09162

Cars belonged to Olin's Avis Rent-A-Car.