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Florida East Coast Railway

Streamliners to the Palms

F.E.C. E3A #1001

1939 F.E.C.'s first diesel locomotive, E3A #1001 of 1939, was assigned to the Jacksonville-Miami Henry M. Flagler. Florida East Coast Railway logo Partner #1002, along with two identical Atlantic Coast Line E3A's #500 & #501, was assigned to the daily New York-Miami Champion, which had its inaugural run on December 1, 1939. Each unit pulled an identical consist of seven passenger cars, with two sets owned by each railroad.

Henry M. Flagler streamliner of 1939 by Media by McCann

Original consists, winter 1939-40:
The ChampionHenry M. FlaglerCar Type
New SmyrnaStuart22-seat coach - baggage - dorm
Cocoa-RockledgeHollywood60-seat coach
PompanoHobe Sound60-seat coach
Fort PierceFort Lauderdale48-seat diner
Boca RatonMelbourne60-seat coach
Vero BeachDelray Beach52-seat coach - hostess rm
Bay BiscayneLake WorthTavern observation (round-end)

1941 In January 1941, in response to overwhelming demand, the Champion was doubled in size to 14 cars. The streamliner again received new equipment in the winter of 1949-50, which it operated until Amtrak in 1971.

1953 The east coast of Florida was well-served by the F.E.C. in the winter of 1953-54. The 10 trains each way on most days included five streamliners, three conventional through trains and two locals, as detailed in these extracts from the F.E.C. timetable, December 1953:

1956 For the winter of 1956-57, the all-coach East Coast Champion and all-sleeper Florida Special thundered along an hour apart on 24-hour schedules from New York to Miami, supplemented by the Miamian and Havana Special. The streamlined Dixieland, in its last season and formerly known as the Dixie Flagler, rolled from Chicago to Miami combined with the Royal Palm over the F.E.C., while the City of Miami and South Wind alternated every other day. Reproduced from the Official Railway Guide, December 1956:


1965 Florida East Coast Railway timetable, August 2, 1965 (during the strike)

1967 Watch a vintage 1½ minute 8mm film of a 1967 trip from North Miami to Fort Lauderdale on the local passenger train #2. This was the mini-streamliner that F.E.C. was required to operate daily except Sunday between North Miami and Jacksonville from 1965 to 1968. Their regular trains to the Northeast and Midwest like the East Coast Champion, Florida Special and City of Miami had all been rerouted off the F.E.C. because of the notorious strike that lasted from 1963 to 1977.

The consist on this date was pulled by E9A #1033, delivered to the F.E.C. in 1955, and included coach "Bunnell" and tavern observation "Saint Lucie Sound", both delivered in 1946. North Miami station opened in 1955 at about 13200 Arch Creek Road and Fort Lauderdale followed in 1956 at 1850 Park Lane. The train and the classic stations are but pleasant memories.

A 1967 trip from North Miami to Fort Lauderdale on the Florida East Coast RailwayCLICK FOR VIDEO

F.E.C. Railway in Miami, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection:

F.E.C. Buena Vista Yard in the 1920s
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1920s high aerial view of Buena Vista Yard looking N.W., bounded by 36th St. on the north.
F.E.C. Miami station SE view in the 1930s
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1930s S.E. view with F.E.C. station lower left. Tall building wearing hat is Dade County Courthouse.
F.E.C. Miami station NW view in the 1930s
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1930s N.W. view from courthouse with the humble F.E.C. station at center.
F.E.C. proposed new Miami station
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Proposed in 1940, this is a N.W. view of a Miami station under N.E. 14th St that was never built.
F.E.C. North Miami station opened in 1955
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This modern suburban North Miami station opened in 1955 on Arch Creek Road near N.E. 132 St.
F.E.C. station and mainline in downtown Miami, 1962
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The F.E.C. station and mainline are clearly visible at left in this 1962 view looking north at the Dade County Courthouse.

Original line drawing art by Stan Lytle, enhanced with road colors and other details by Jack Bleiberg. Henry M. Flagler streamliner GIF image by Media by McCann.

About color schemes: The colors on this page show Florida East Coast Railway's red, yellow and silver, used from 1939 to 1962.