FEC's first diesel locomotive, E3A #1001 of 1939, was assigned to the Jacksonville-Miami Henry M. Flagler. Partner #1002, along with 2 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 7 passenger cars, with 2 sets owned by each railroad.
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.
|Original consists, winter 1939-40:|
|The Champion||Henry M. Flagler||Car Type|
|New Smyrna||Stuart||22-seat coach - baggage - dorm|
|Pompano||Hobe Sound||60-seat coach|
|Fort Pierce||Fort Lauderdale||48-seat diner|
|Boca Raton||Melbourne||60-seat coach|
|Vero Beach||Delray Beach||52-seat coach - hostess rm|
|Bay Biscayne||Lake Worth||Tavern observation (round-end)|
- The original Henry M. Flagler "Streamliner on the Florida East Coast" post card, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection. Operating for only one year, the train departed Jacksonville daily at 8:00 am, arrived in Miami at 1:59 pm, was turned and departed Miami at 3:00 pm, arriving back in Jacksonville at 8:59 pm. Starting in 1940, the consist next became the Dixie Flagler running between Chicago and Miami every third day.
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- The southbound Henry M. Flagler streamliner pauses at the Spanish-style Hollywood Florida station, post card, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection
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- The northbound FEC Champion streamliner boards passengers at Miami, post card, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection
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- The east coast of Florida was well-served by the FEC in the winter of 1953-54. The 10 trains each way on most days included 5 streamliners, 3 conventional through trains and 2 locals, as detailed in these extracts from the FEC timetable, December 1953:
- 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 FEC, while the City of Miami and South Wind alternated every other day. Reproduced from the Official Railway Guide, December 1956:
- Don't miss the FEC Online Timetable, Winter 1957-58 including every station, all trains, equipment rosters and authentic advertisements!
- Florida East Coast Railway timetable, August 2, 1965 (during the strike)
- 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 FEC 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 and City of Miami had all been rerouted off the FEC because of the notorious strike that lasted from 1963 to 1977. The consist pulled by E9A #1033 on this date included coach "Bunnell" and tavern observation "Saint Lucie Sound", both delivered in 1946. The train and the 1950s era stations are but pleasant memories.
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FEC Railway in Miami, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection: