Train Talk Blog

Jun 18, 2015

All Aboard Florida Following in Henry Flagler’s Tracks

Forging Into Florida

Henry-Flagler-TrainWhen he built his Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) the length of Florida, from Jacksonville to Key West, in the late 19th century, Henry Flagler essentially opened the Sunshine State to visitors and tourism. After a few visits himself, Flagler quickly realized that Florida’s warm weather and beaches made it the perfect playground during the Gilded Age, as well as the ideal destination for the sick and infirmed to rest and recover. Not only that, but Florida was new territory for most – it became a state in 1845 when its population was less than 60,000 and Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in all of America. For comparison, the census estimated Florida’s population in 2014 at 19.9 million.

Expanding Flagler’s Vision

Flash forward more than a century since Flagler’s pioneering days and All Aboard Florida is following in his tracks, opening the Sunshine State once again to travelers who want to explore more of Florida without having to get behind the wheel of a personal vehicle.

Once completed, the All Aboard Florida Route will connect downtown Miami to the Orlando International Airport using nearly 200 miles of Flagler’s existing, active FEC railways along Florida’s East Coast. Once in Central Florida, 40 new miles of rails will be laid parallel to State Road 528, also known as the Beachline Expressway, connecting Cocoa Beach west into Orlando.

Unlike the trains of Flagler’s day and age, which topped out at around 40 mph, the Florida higher-speed rail will whisk passengers up to 125 mph from Miami to Orlando, or Orlando to Miami, the one-way trip will take about three hours. Stops between the two end points will be made in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Stay tuned for more reasons why All Aboard Florida is following in Henry Flagler's footsteps.