Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

The Silver Rail Blog

  • 18 Jun 2020 7:51 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    While much has been in the news about Amtrak's plans to cut its long distance trains to operating only 3 days per week on October 1, the news for Florida is even worse.

    Service changes on the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor are taking place on July 6. Cities like Tampa, Okeechobee, Lakeland, and others around the state have been reduced to tri-weekly service with this change.

    Amtrak has stated that the trains are running empty. This is not true. Reports from the field indicate that our Silver trains are carrying more than any of the other trains in the national system. 

    Amtrak's management has stated that these cuts are "temporary". However, all of us remember that Amtrak service between New Orleans and Florida was "temporarily suspended" for Hurricane Katrina back in 2005--and has yet to return.

    And, in another surprise, earlier this year Amtrak quietly shut down Amtrak's ticket office in Pinellas County, forcing passengers from Largo, St. Petersburg and Clearwater to wait at the curb of a strip mall. There isn't even a shelter anymore.

    We strongly encourage you to contact your elected officials now to protest these moves. In addition to Florida's two U.S. Senators and your Member of Congress, please consider alerting your local Mayor, City Council, County Commission, Visitors and Convention Bureau, and Chamber of Commerce and encourage all of them to speak up for daily Amtrak service across the national network. 

    • To contact Senator Marco Rubio, click here. 
    • To contact Senator Rick Scott, click here.
    • To locate and contact your Member of Congress, click here.

    Do not accept Amtrak's "trojan horse" explanation that these cuts are temporary and that daily service will return after COVID-19 is eradicated. 

    Amtrak's senior managers, largely former airline executives these days, have been outwardly hostile to all but corridor trains in recent years.

    Some have even gone out of their ways to insult those of us who use the national network trains by referring to them in press interviews as, "not serious transportation", or "experiential trains", and their principal passengers as, "hobbyists".

    Let's show them just how wrong they are.

    --Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg


    From Amtrak:

    Beginning on July 6, 2020, the Silver Meteor and Silver Star will operate on alternating days—offering one daily train between New York and Miami

    For the Silver Meteor:
    Southbound Train #97 will depart New York on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
    Northbound Train #98 will depart Miami on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

    For the Silver Star:
    Southbound Train #91 will depart New York on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    Northbound Train #92 will depart Miami on Thursday, Friday and Saturday

    Both trains will offer expanded capacity for each departure:

    Five fully-refreshed Amfleet II Coach cars—offering new seating cushions, carpets, curtains, LED reading lights and ample space for physical distancing

    Three Viewliner Sleeping Cars—offering customers the option to book a private Bedroom or Roomette for their trip

    One Amfleet Café Car—offering meals, snacks and beverages for sale

    One Viewliner II Sleeper Lounge—an exclusive space for customers in private rooms, offering complimentary flexible dining service

    Daily service to Tampa will be offered via the Silver Star or the Amtrak Thruway bus connection to the Silver Meteor at Orlando

    Additional daily service will be offered between New York and Savanah, GA (and intermediate points) on the Palmetto, between New York and Raleigh, NC (and intermediate points) on the Carolinian and between the Washington, DC and Orlando areas on the Auto Train.

  • 15 Jun 2020 8:27 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Big cuts to Silver Star and Silver Meteor. Please contact Congress!

    From Texas Rail Advocates:

    http://texasrailadvocates.org/2020/06/15/amtrak-to-cut-national-trains-to-3-day-a-week-service/

    —Jackson McQuigg

  • 26 May 2020 7:10 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    From Business Insider:

    Of particular note is the letter to Congress from Amtrak's new President and CEO, William Flynn:

    https://www.businessinsider.com/us-passenger-railroad-amtrak-says-it-needs-new-15-billion-bailout-2020-5

    If the proposal stands, Amtrak would cut its long distance routes to tri-weekly train service and combine its Florida service trains.

    Also see this analysis from Trains magazine:

    https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2020/05/26-amtrak-asks-congress-for-more-money-plans-workforce-reductions-cuts-to-long-distance-service

    FCRP encourages you to speak up to your Member of Congress and Florida's two Senators to ensure that temporary service cuts do not become permanent. 

    It's always a good time to remind elected officials that Amtrak service is important to you and your community.

    --Jackson McQuigg

  • 15 May 2020 6:28 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    From Trains Magazine:

    Due to track work, the Silver Star is cut to a weekend train (Thursday-Sunday) only, depending on the direction. No connecting bus service to Tampa, either. The Meteor will run during the week, albeit its schedule has been impacted, as well.

    And forget about eating in the dining car for now, thanks to the coronavirus.

    From Trains Magazine:

    https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2020/05/14-amtrak-adds-to-anti-virus-measures-alters-rail-schedules-in-southeast

    —Jackson McQuigg

  • 04 May 2020 7:20 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Florida, unfortunately, isn’t included:

    https://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=DCD6C9C9-F7AB-46C1-A9EE-FFD8102EB185

    Contact your elected representatives today if you would like to see the resumption of full New Orleans-Florida service.

    —Jackson McQuigg


  • 20 Mar 2020 10:48 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Transit-oriented development.

    From the South Florida Business Journal:

    https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2020/02/27/brightline-completes-park-line-apartments.html

    --Jackson McQuigg

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