21 June, 2008

NEW AMTRAK BILL - ALLOWS A DREAM






PHOTOS: Top-Last run of the Kansas City-Florida Special, Jacksonville-Birmingham-Memphis-Springfield-Kansas City

Middle: Map showing historic routes still viaable

Bottom: Typical Amtrak Medium-Short Distance Train



"Now leaving Jacksonville for St. Louis, Birmingham, New Orleans, Wilmington, Norfolk, Atlanta, Nashville, Louisville..." Just a dream? Not anymore. The age of bringing back the great trains and routes is upon us again. Will Jacksonville and her Southern sisters lead the Nation?

Now that Washington has finally gotten off of it's collective wallet and funded Amtrak, I thought it might be useful to take a look back across the years and select 20 star performers to return to Northeast Florida.

TO AND FROM THE EAST COAST - NORTH AND SOUTH :

THE CHAMPION - Ft. Myers-Tampa-Orlando-Jacksonville-Charleston-Richmond-Washington-New York-Boston

THE MIAMIAN - Miami-Ft Lauderdale-Daytona-Jacksonville-Charleston-Richmond-Washington-New York-Boston

THE PALMETTO - Venice-Sarasota-Tampa-Orlando-Jacksonville-Charleston-Richmond-Washington-New York (Connecting Section - Wilmington)

THE SILVER METEOR - Miami-Ft Lauderdale-Orlando-Jacksonville-Raleigh-Richmond-Washington-New York-Boston
THE SILVER STAR - Miami-Ft. Lauderdale - Orlando- -Raleigh-Richmond-Washington-New York
THE CAROLINA SPECIAL - Jacksonville-Columbia-Charlotte-Washington-New York
THE TIDEWATER - Jacksonville-Charleston-Portsmouth-Norfolk

TO AND FROM CHICAGO AND THE MIDWEST:

THE ROYAL PALM - Jacksonville-Macon-Atlanta-Chattanooga-Knoxville-Cincinnati-(Chicago) (Cleveland) (Detroit)
THE PONCE DE LEON - Jacksonville - Macon-Atlanta-Chattanooga-Knoxville-Cinninnati-
THE HUMMINGBIRD - Jacksonville - Atlanta - Nashville - St. Louis - Kansas City
THE CITY OF MIAMI - Miami-Ft.Lauderdale-Daytona-Jacksonville-Birmingham-Memphis-Chicago
THE DIXIE FLYER - Jacksonville - Waycross-Manchester-Atlanta

TO AND FROM THE WEST:

THE SUNSET LIMITED- Jacksonville-New Orleans-Houston-San Antonio-El Paso-Phoenix-Los Angeles
THE SUNBEAM - Jacksonville-New Orleans-Baton Rouge-Shreveport-Dallas-Ft.Worth
THE GULF WIND - Jacksonville - Tallahassee - Mobile - Gulfport - New Orleans

TAKE A FREE TOUR OF THE JACKSONVILLE SKYWAY

The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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