Florida East Coast Railway

Florida Rails: Famous Streamliners to the Palms

FEC E3A #1001


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Florida East Coast Railway logoFEC'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 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)

Henry M. Flagler streamliner of 1939 by Media by McCann

  • 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.

    Henry M. Flagler streamlinerClick for full size (56kb/600x376)

  • The southbound Henry M. Flagler streamliner pauses at the Spanish-style Hollywood Florida station, post card, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection

    Southbound FEC Henry M. Flagler streamliner at Hollywood FloridaClick for full size (64kb/600x378)

  • The northbound FEC Champion streamliner boards passengers at Miami, post card, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection

    Northbound FEC Champion streamliner at Miami FloridaClick for full size (57kb/600x383)

  • 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 an FEC timetable:


  • 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.


  • 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.

    A 1967 trip from North Miami to Fort Lauderdale on the Florida East Coast RailwayClick for video

  • FEC Railway in Miami, Florida State Archives Photographic Collection:

    FEC 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.
    FEC Miami station SE view in the 1930s
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    1930s S.E. view with FEC station lower left. Tall building wearing hat is Dade County Courthouse.
    FEC Miami station NW view in the 1930s
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    1930s N.W. view from courthouse with the humble FEC station at center.
    FEC 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.
    FEC 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.
    FEC station and mainline in downtown Miami, 1962
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    The FEC station and mainline are clearly visible at left in this 1962 view looking north at the Dade County Courthouse.

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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.