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.

Cities Which Lose Daily Train Service July 6 Due To Amtrak Cutbacks

23 Jun 2020 4:34 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

Amtrak management's short-sided decision to cut the Silver Star from daily operation to just 3 times per week leaves a surprising number of cities in the Southeast without daily train service and harpoons key markets.

The cities left without daily train service on July 6 are: 

  1. Tampa, FL 
  2. Okeechobee, FL
  3. Lakeland, FL 
  4. Jesup, GA (served by Silver Meteor only, 4 days per week)
  5. Columbia, SC (capital of South Carolina)
  6. Denmark, SC
  7. Camden, SC
  8. Hamlet, NC
  9. Southern Pines, NC
  10. Raleigh, NC (capital of North Carolina; loses daily service to Florida)

All of these stations are places where train service is vital, needed and well-patronized. Why are they being treated as "flyover territory" by Amtrak's management?

If this weren't incredible enough, Amtrak is walking away from regularly serving the Silver Star's largest market: Tampa to Southeast Florida. Click here for data from the Rail Passengers Association for more.

It's been proven time and time again that scaling back daily trains to tri-weekly train service costs Amtrak more than it saves by driving away revenue needed to cover fixed costs. That will definitely happen with the intrastate Florida market.

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. 

But it is not just the Southeast and the Silver Star. Amtrak's management is planning to cut all of its national network trains from daily to three times per week on October 1.

Enough is enough! Contact our elected officials today!

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

--Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg

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