Vacationer (train)

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The Vacationer at Columbia, South Carolina in 1972.

The Vacationer was a seasonal passenger train operated by Amtrak between New York City and Miami, Florida. The Vacationer, like its predecessor the Florida Special, was designed to supplement regular Northeast—Florida service during the winter months. It made its first run on December 15, 1972.

History[edit]

The Florida Special was a popular service, earning a reputation for luxury during its 84-year history. While desiring to continue the tradition of expanded seasonal service, Amtrak could not continue to maintain the same high standards which the name demanded and adopted the name Vacationer, while retaining the same route and schedule. Some of the luxuries previously found aboard the Special migrated to the Silver Meteor.[1][2]

The new Vacationer departed New York's Penn Station at 6:35 pm, which permitted a same-day connection for passengers coming from Boston. The Vacationer carried both coaches and sleepers New York—Miami; in Washington it exchanged a Miami—Montreal sleeper with the Montrealer. Sleeping accommodations included bedrooms and roomettes, plus single and double rooms in a slumbercoach. The train carried a lounge and full diner.[3] Seasonal service ended April 28, 1973.

The Vacationer returned on December 14, 1973, with a slightly earlier departure from New York. It no longer handled a Miami—Montreal sleeping car; such service was taken over by the Silver Star. The 1973 oil crisis led to a surge in patronage; the Vacationer ran with a total of 18 cars.[4] Amtrak later added a second dining car to the train to meet the increased demand.[5] Seasonal service ended March 31, 1974.[6]

The Vacationer did not return for the 1974—1975 season; Amtrak instead introduced the Miamian over the same route but with a slightly different schedule and different numbers, but canceled it after three weeks because of equipment shortages.[7] In 1975 Amtrak dropped the special seasonal trains altogether when it returned the Champion, which had been combined with the Silver Meteor New York—Jacksonville, to independent operation for the winter season.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amtrak adding to N.Y.-Florida train service". The Bulletin. October 28, 1972. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Florida Special Canceled". St. Petersburg Times. October 28, 1972. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  3. ^ Amtrak (October 29, 1972). "Nationwide Schedules of Intercity Passenger service". Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  4. ^ Cowan, Allen (December 23, 1973). "Any Place but Home for the Holidays". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  5. ^ Douthat, Bill (February 2, 1974). "Winners and losers in fuel crisis". Miami News. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  6. ^ Failey, Fred (1977). Zephyrs, Chiefs, and other Orphans-The First Five Years of Amtrak. RPC. 
  7. ^ Frailey, Fred W. (1977). The First Five Years of Amtrak: Zephyrs, Chiefs & Other Orphans. Godfrey, IL: RPC Publications. ; 104.
  8. ^ Amtrak (November 30, 1975). "All-America Schedules". Retrieved 2010-09-06.