By VISIT FLORIDA staff
Step back in time, sit back and ride historic vintage trains through Florida.
The passengers peer down the platform at Tampa's Union Station and wait for the Silver Star, Number 92, arriving from Miami to Jacksonville.
It is not only more relaxing to take the train, but it's cheaper than driving. (Some intra-Florida fares are as low as $10). Not only is this an affordable method of travel in Florida, but you always get to see a glimmer of that original streamliner -- the gleaming, stainless steel Silver Star.
That Old Romance
The cabin is dark blue and the chairs are wide and comfy, rather like first class in a jumbo jet. The seats have a 120-volt plug and footrest. There aren't any seat belts or restrictions on when you can get up or sit down; passengers freely walk through the cars by holding onto seats and bracing against walls.
You can find the Cafe Lounge, which is one of two eateries on the train. In the cafe, you may get lucky enough to run into the conductor, and get a chance to chat with him about all the adventures he’s had on the vintage trains in Florida.
The Cafe Lounge is the central spot for this historic train. With wide windows and big tables, passengers and crew gather there. It's as busy as a Starbucks, and far more sociable between strangers because of the confined space. Maybe one of the best ideas to have dinner in Florida.
Dinner is served in 12 sittings from about 5 to 9 p.m., of which you can pick the time you’d prefer to eat. Breakfast is always first-come, first-serve.
If you are booked in coach, ask at the terminal's ticket counter if any cabins are available. Sometimes you can get one for less than $200 for an in-state trip. Many diners seem well-tanned and rested as they are just off of cruise ships.
The train rocks with a regular click that makes sleeping easy, as it's more a vibration than a loud sound. Quick stops come about every 45 minutes (Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park, etc.), the train staying on time for the majority of trips.
Take the Star's sister train on your return south, the Silver Meteor, in order to stop in Orlando. While the train looks the same, the crew is entirely different. Reglardless of which route you take or what new crew you encounter, iconic vintage trains encompass affordability, comfortable travel and timelessness.