|Amtrak inter-city rail station|
|Location||600 Lake Mirror Drive|
Lakeland, Florida 33801
|Owned by||City of Lakeland|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Connections|| Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach|
|Parking||28 short term spaces|
|Station code||Both LAK and LKL[Note 1]|
Lakeland station is a train station in Lakeland, Florida, that is served by Amtrak, the national passenger rail system of the United States. It is served by the Silver Star train, which runs daily between New York City and Miami.[Note 2] The station is located on the northern shore of Lake Mirror.
Lakeland is unique among all Amtrak stations in that it has two separate Amtrak station codes; one for passengers traveling to and from points north and the other for passengers traveling to and from points south. Since 2004, when the Silver Star initially arrives in Lakeland from either New York or Miami, it heads west to Tampa, then returns to Lakeland over the same route. After its second stop in Lakeland, the train continues on a bit further east along its previous route and then finally turns north toward New York or south toward Miami. Passengers disembarking at Lakeland station do so before the train heads to Tampa and passengers boarding at Lakeland only do so after the train returns from Tampa.[Note 1] This logical arrangement allows passengers boarding or debarking at the Lakeland station to avoid having to make an unnecessary trip to Tampa before continuing on their way. (Excluding Tampa, the next southbound stop on the Silver Star is in Winter Haven and the next northbound station is in Kissimmee.)
The original Lakeland station's structure was opened by the South Florida Railroad in 1886 as a two-story wooden edifice that burned down in 1901. The replacement proved to be inadequate for contemporary railroad needs and was replaced in 1910 by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) with a one-story brick building. This too would be hit by a fire on January 1, 1918 that caused $25,000 worth of damage. The building was given a second story and reopened on January 31, 1919.
The current station's structure was built in 1998 as a replacement for the 1960-built ACL station located about 1.1 miles (1.8 km) west of the current station. That station became a Seaboard Coast Line Railroad station when the ACL and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad merged July 1, 1967. The former station building was demolished in 2008, but the passenger platforms and canopies would remain for around a decade before the canopies were demolished in January of 2021. The platforms are currently the only things that remain. In addition to the Silver Star the previous station was also served by the Champion until 1979.
On April 15, 2009, the Lakeland station made news headlines when a decomposed female body was discovered by a passenger waiting for a late-running train. The body was identified as 34-year-old Shawn Hazel Turk and in August 2011 Reginald Riggins was arrested in connection with her death. It is believed that Mr. Riggins had never met the victim prior to April 9, 2009 (the night of her death). Riggins was later convicted of murdering of Turk and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Historically, Lakeland was a junction for Atlantic Coast Line, for a north-south line, and for an east-west line. North, trains went to Chicago and New York City. South, trains went to Naples. West, trains went to Tampa and Venice; east, trains went to Orlando, en route to New York City.
Besides the Silver Star, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach (with connection service by Martz First Class) is provided to the following: Orlando (train station), Tampa (train station), Pinellas Park (Clearwater and St. Petersburg), Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, and Fort Myers. Thruway Motorcoach service is also provided (with connection service by Amtrak) to Dade City (train station), Wildwood (train station), The Villages (Spanish Springs Shuttle Station), Ocala (train station), Gainesville (Rosa Parks Region Transportation System Downtown Station), Waldo (train station), and Jacksonville (train station) since train service by the Palmetto was discontinued south of Savannah, Georgia in 2004.
- The station code LAK is used for arrivals from and departures to points north and the station code LKL is used for arrivals from and departures to points south. Therefore, the proper order of the station codes used for a southbound train (Route 91) is as follows: ...KIS (Kissimmee), LAK, TPA (Tampa), LKL, and WTH (Winter Haven).... The order of the station codes for the northbound train (Route 92) is just the reverse: ...WTH, LKL, TPA, LAK, and KIS.... Essentially, with regards to station codes, LAK functions as though the Lakeland Station is located north of Tampa and LKL functions as though the Lakeland Station is located south of Tampa.
- As of 15 July 2013, the southbound train (Route 91) is scheduled to stop (LAK) at 11:40 am to discharge passengers and again (LKL) at 1:21 pm to receive passengers. The northbound train (Route 92) is scheduled to stop (LKL) at 4:04 pm to discharge passengers and again (LAK) at 5:53 pm to receive passengers.
- "Great American Stations: Lakeland, FL (LAK/LKL)". Amtrak. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2012, State of Florida" (PDF). Amtrak. Dec 2012. Retrieved 27 Dec 2012.
- "STATION CODES: L". Amtrak. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
- Walter, Shoshana (15 Apr 2009). "Woman's Death Considered a Homicide". The Ledger. Lakeland, Florida: Halifax Media Group. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
- "Fugitive from Lakeland Busted in Amtrak Body Dump". West Orlando News Online. 12 Aug 2011. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
- "Reginald Riggins sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Shawn Turk in Lakeland". wptv.com. West Palm Beach, Florida: E. W. Scripps Company. 26 Jun 2013. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013.
- Media related to Lakeland (Amtrak station) at Wikimedia Commons
- Lakeland, FL (southbound) – Amtrak
- March 2004 Photographs(Unofficial Amtrak Photo Gallery)
- Lakeland Amtrak Station, and former Seaborad Air Line Station (USA Rail Guide – TrainWeb)
- Lakeland Amtrak's Great American Stations Lakeland, FL (LAK/LKL)