One of the most famous Florida train rides today is the Disney World Railroad located near Orlando with four steam locomotives.
The most popular scenic train ride in Florida is the Seminole Gulf Railway, located in Ft Myers. A favorite themed train ride includes the ever entertaining “who done it?”, the hilarious Murder Mystery Dinner Train. Additional themed train rides run year round. The newest train ride can be found in central Florida aboard the Royal Palm Railway Experience.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami and the Florida Railroad Museum offer popular scenic train ride excursions, as well as a “hands on” experience to actually ride in the cab of a locomotive.
Lakes Park & Gulf Railroad is located just across from the Railroad Museum of South Florida.
Did you know?
The states first railroad was the mule-powered Tallahassee Railroad completed in 1834. Industrialist Henry Flagler was responsible for the development of the Florida East Coast Railroad and Florida’s famous “Railroad to Nowhere”. Key West passenger service from Miami began with the completion of the Overseas Railway in 1912. Today, the state is served mainly by the Florida East Coast Railroad and the CSX, transporting goods over the more than 2800 miles of the railways. Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Baileys “Greatest Show On Earth” trains are repaired in Palmetto.
The Amtrak passenger trains, the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor, terminate their routes in Miami. Amtrak’s Auto Train terminal is located in Sanford.
Enjoy a nostalgic look at the glamorous days of train travel via a guided interior tour of two 1947 Seaboard Air Line streamlined rail cars. Historically restored to their original splendor, the unique Budd dining and lounge rail cars are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Boca Express Train Museum includes a 1930 restored Florida East Coast depot(also listed on the National Register)as well as a 1940s Atlantic Coast Line caboose and a Baldwin steam engine. The tour includes railroad safety info for kids.
Located on Florida’s west coast, the 22 mile Seminole Gulf Railway excursion train rides offer both dinner train and murder mystery train excursions with 5 course meals. Special themed train rides include Valentines, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The Seminole Gulf Railroad train rides travel north through Fort Myers and across the historic Caloosahatchee Trestle and Drawbridge to Bayshore, with views only accessible by rail. A special narration is given during the trip with information on the history and the environment of the area over the original Atlantic Coast Line Railroad route which opened up the development of Southwest Florida during the early 1900’s. Shorter duration afternoon train rides are also available. Directions
The Railroad Museum of South Florida Train Village operates the 1/8th scale Lakes Park & Gulf Railroad. The tracks are 7.5″ wide and the route is approx 1.4 miles long. The trip takes roughly 15 minutes to ride through woods, lakes, small villages, and scenes. Baldwin Locomotive #143, an Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 0-6-0, is on display. Directions.
Housed in the former Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot, the Southwest Florida Museum is home to the history of Southwest Florida. Paleo Indians, the Calusa, the Seminoles, Spanish explorers, and early settlers are just a few of the people you will meet as you view the exhibits. Displays include a pioneer “cracker” house, a 1926 La France fire pumper, and the beautifully preserved 1929 private Pullman rail car, Esperanza. Directions
Have you ever wanted to ride at the controls of a real locomotive? Well, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is the place for you. It is located on 2,100 acres in southern Dade County on the former property of the Naval Air Station Richmond (NASR) – A WWII airship base. The museum offers classroom instruction as well as strict supervision on running an actual locomotive to make your dream come true. It is home to a inventory of some of the most prestigious rail cars and engines still in existence, including the Florida East Coast 4-6-0, #153 which ran to Key West until the hurricane of 1935 and the Presidential Pullman Ferdinand Magellan, unique among Pullman railroad cars in that it is the only car ever custom built for the President of the United States in the 20th century. A 20 minute excursion train ride is also available.
If you venture into the Magic Kingdom® before the Park opens, you can accompany the Disney World Railroad engineers as they ready the massive steam trains for another day of service. Walk the backstage roundhouse where the trains are stored and serviced, and ride the rails as you explore how Walt Disney’s lifetime love of steam trains led to their becoming an integral part of the Magic Kingdom. All aboard! Tour the two 4-6-0s (Walter E. Disney and Roger Broggie) a 2-6-0 (Lilly Belle) and a 4-4-0 (Roy Disney). The engines were repatriated from Mexico and were built between 1916 and 1928.
Henry M. Flagler was the developer of the Florida East Coast Railroad and luxury hotels on Florida’s east coast, starting in 1885. With the completion of the “railroad that went to sea”, the Florida Keys Overseas Railway opened in 1912 and rail travel to Key West was now made possible. Admission to the Flagler Museum is free to organized school groups from K through 12, with advance reservations. Flagler was inducted into the National Railroad Hall of Fame in 2010. Directions
Rent a locomotive for an hour at the Florida Railroad Museum. After a brief instruction session, you can take the controls and run a locomotive with an engineer. Special services include train charters, entire car charters, cab rides and birthday specials. Weekend train rides are scheduled year round. Museum is the rolling stock with historical items on display. A twenty five minute, full size “Thomas the Tank Engine” train rides run on weekends. Directions.
Electric streetcars are back in Tampa, supporting continued growth in downtown, Channelside and Ybor City. TECO Line Streetcar System is a 2.4 mile section that connects these three areas, improving transportation capacity, supporting Tampa’s thriving cruise industry and transporting workers to and from their jobs. Group tours available Monday through Friday, appropriate for all ages from pre-school to adult. Directions.
Florida’s newest tourist operation the Royal Palm Railway Experience, is operated by the Orlando & Northwestern Railway and travels the “Golden Triangle”, making station stops at Eustis, Tavares & Mount Dora.
2017 Up date: The Orange Blossom Cannonball ended operations Jan. 28, 2017.
The Central Florida Railroad Museum, opened in 1983, is located in the former Tavares and Gulf Railroad depot. One of Florida’s virtually undiscovered gems, the museum has the finest collection of Florida railroad memorabilia anywhere — including a collection of fine dining car china. Museum includes a Clinchfield caboose and a 1938 Fairmont motorcar.