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.

Former Ocala Resident: Bring Back Amtrak

26 Nov 2021 9:49 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)


  • 02 Dec 2021 5:47 AM | Anonymous member
    I doubt very seriously Amtrak trains will return to Ocala anytime soon. Commuter rail to Tampa appears to be a more real possibility. the Thruway buses are likely to stay for the long term, as the former Silver service trains did not go through The Villages or Gainesville, which are also growing communities, and likely to have a toll road built before any thought of rail service restoration will come to mind.
    Even if train service were restored through Ocala, Amtrak should consider running split sections of its Silver service trains south of Jacksonville, instead of busing passengers to/from west coast locations at Orlando or making the so-called "dog leg" to/from Tampa at Auburndale.
    Amtrak is not making proper use of its platform space availability at neither Tampa or Miami. Tampa and Orlando are turning out much higher passenger numbers than Miami and Ocala. In restoring such split operations, the new longer platform at Tampa can handle longer train consists, as where the platform at the new MIC is restricted to shorter trains, so it would make sense to reverse thought as well by running longer consists to Tampa, and shorter consists to Miami.
    For example, a split consist of the Silver Meteor south of Jacksonville serving Ocala and Miami could run with a couple of coaches, a lounge car, a single sleeper, and maybe a baggage car. The longer Tampa section could operate with two sleepers, the diner car, three or four coaches, and possibly be assigned the baggage-dormitory Viewliners to house most of the train crew, but that could leave the baggage space cramped between Jacksonville and Orlando. The above would not be so bad if trains were split at Orlando instead of Jacksonville. The other thing would be to just send the baggage car to/from Tampa only and run no baggage car to Miami; that will help get those silver service trains to fit in the MIC after all!
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