||This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
A Florida-bound Silver Meteor at
Elizabeth, New Jersey with AEM-7 924.
The AEM-7 will be replaced by a diesel P42
in Washington, D.C..
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|First service||May 1, 1971|
|Former operator(s)||Seaboard Air Line Railroad|
|Average ridership||1,023 daily
373,576 total (FY11)
|Start||New York City|
|Distance travelled||1,389 miles (2,235 km)|
|Track owner(s)||Amtrak, CSX|
The Silver Meteor is a 1389-mile (2235 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Silver Service, running from New York City, New York, south to Miami, Florida, via the Northeast Corridor to Washington, D.C., thence via Richmond, Virginia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; North Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jesup, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
The Silver Meteor shares much of its route with the Silver Star, which runs further west through North Carolina and South Carolina and detours to serve Tampa, Florida. The Palmetto uses the same route as the Silver Meteor but terminates in Savannah.
The Silver Meteor started as a train of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) on February 2, 1939. "Silver Meteor" was the winning entry of a young African American named James Harvey Talley from La Crosse, Virginia. The train ran between New York, NY, and Washington, DC on the Pennsylvania Railroad under a haulage agreement. Between Washington and Richmond it used the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, jointly owned by the SAL and five other railroads for the use of all. From Richmond south SAL's own track was used via Raleigh, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, Jacksonville, Florida and Ocala, Florida. Until the late 1960s the Silver Meteor split at Wildwood, Florida, with one section continuing to Miami, Florida, and the other to St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Venice on Florida's west coast.
The SAL merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1967, and on May 28, 1968 the Silver Meteor began serving only Miami (the similarly-routed Silver Star then served only St. Petersburg). Amtrak continued to operate the Silver Meteor when it took over operations on May 1, 1971; on November 14, numbers 83 (southbound) and 84 (northbound) were assigned.
From December 17, 1971, to April 15, 1972 and September 10, 1972 to April 27, 1973, the Silver Meteor bypassed Jacksonville, running over the track between the Georgia state line and Baldwin, Florida. Between June 11 and September 10, 1972 the Silver Meteor was extended to Boston and called the Meteor. Service to St. Petersburg returned with the train splitting at Auburndale.
On September 30, 1979 the Silver Meteor was rerouted between Savannah and Jacksonville over the former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad route, due to the abandonment of the old SAL route. On January 31, 1984 the Silver Meteor's Florida west coast terminus was cut back from St. Petersburg to Tampa, ending almost 100 years of rail passenger service to St. Petersburg. By October 26, 1986 the Silver Meteor had shifted to the old ACL route north of Savannah, as the abandonment of the SAL route north of Raleigh affected only the Silver Star. On June 11, 1988 the tracks between Coleman and Auburndale, Florida were abandoned, then removed to create the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail, shifting the Miami section west to Lakeland.
By the end of 1988 train numbers were 87 and 88 (to Tampa) and 97 and 98 (to Miami). The Tampa trips were later dropped and 97 and 98 are still used.
The best timing for Amtrak's Silver Meteor between Miami and New York City was 27 hours in 2008; SAL's first edition took 25 hours in 1939. Late trains often add more hours to today's schedules.
In the January 2011 issue of Trains Magazine this route was listed as one of five routes to be looked at by Amtrak in FY 2011 as the previous five routes (Sunset, Eagle, Zephyr, Capitol, and Cardinal) were examined in FY 2010.
Route details 
The Silver Meteor operates over Amtrak and CSX Transportation trackage:
- Amtrak Northeast Corridor, New York to Washington
- CSX (Washington to Miami)
- RF&P Subdivision
- Richmond Terminal Subdivision
- North End Subdivision
- South End Subdivision
- Charleston Subdivision
- Savannah Subdivision
- Nahunta Subdivision
- Jacksonville Terminal Subdivision
- Sanford Subdivision
- Orlando Subdivision
- Carters Subdivision
- Auburndale Subdivision
- Miami Subdivision
|March 13, 2008|
The Silver Meteor uses a variety of different locomotives. On the Northeast Corridor north of Washington, it uses one of Amtrak's electric locomotives, the EMD AEM-7 and the HHP-8. South of Washington, it uses two P42DC diesel electric locomotives.
A typical Silver Meteor train consists of the following cars:
See also 
- "Amtrak Ridership Rolls Up Best-Ever Records" (PDF). Amtrak. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Stainless Steel Passenger Car, ex-Seaboard, Silver Meteor #6200
- "Amtrak's Improvement Wish List", Trains, January 2011, 20-21.
- "Amtrak - Silver Meteor". Retrieved 2012-12-31.
- Mike Schafer, Amtrak's atlas, Trains June 1991
- PRR Chronology
- Amtrak's First Trains and Routes
- Amtrak timetable, November 14, 1971
- Amtrak timetable, late 1988 (Northeast Corridor only)
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