Silver Star (Amtrak train)

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Silver Star
The Silver Star at Southern Pines, North Carolina in 2009
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleEast Coast of the United States
First serviceDecember 12, 1947
Current operator(s)Amtrak (May 1, 1971 – present)
Former operator(s)Seaboard Air Line Railroad (December 12, 1947 - June 30, 1967)
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (July 1, 1967 - April 30, 1971)
Pennsylvania Railroad (December 12, 1947 - January 31, 1968, haulage agreement)
Penn Central Transportation (February 1, 1968 - April 30, 1971, haulage agreement)
Annual ridership351,732 (FY23) Decrease -19.1%[a][1]
TerminiNew York City
Distance travelled1,522 miles (2,449 km)
Average journey time31h 33m
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)91, 92
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class
Sleeper Service
Disabled accessAll train cars, all stations
Sleeping arrangements
  • Roomette (2 beds)
  • Bedroom (2 beds)
  • Bedroom Suite (4 beds)
  • Accessible Bedroom (2 beds)
Catering facilitiesDining car, Café
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks, checked baggage available at selected stations
Rolling stockAmfleet, Viewliner, GE Genesis, ACS-64, GE Dash 8-32BWH
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed125 mph (201 km/h) (top, NEC) 79 mph (127 km/h) (top)
Track owner(s)Amtrak, CSXT, NS, CFRC, SFRTA

The Silver Star is a long-distance passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 1,522-mile (2,449 km) route between New York City and Miami via Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, Jacksonville, Florida, and Tampa, Florida.[2] The Silver Star and its sister train in the Silver Service brand, the Silver Meteor, are the descendants of numerous long-distance trains that operated between Florida and New York for most of the 20th century.

During fiscal year 2023, the Silver Star carried 351,732 passengers, a decrease of 19.1% from FY2022.[3] In November 2023, the train had a total revenue of $8.7 million.[4]


The northbound Silver Star passing through Seabrook, Maryland in 1969

The Silver Star was originally a service of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), running from New York to Miami and later also St. Petersburg (beyond Tampa). It was previously known as the Advance Silver Meteor, and was renamed on December 12, 1947, after the name was chosen by SAL in a contest.[citation needed] From 1947 to 1948, it was winter-only and did not appear in summer timetables.[5] By 1949, however, it was a year-round train.[6] Its main Miami-bound route went through the interior of Florida, via Ocala and Winter Haven. In peak winter service in the mid-1950s it had a section that went to St. Petersburg via Tampa. Another section went to Port Boca Grande via Tampa.[7] The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) carried the train between New York and Washington, D.C. under a haulage agreement, similar to the arrangement with its sister train, the Silver Meteor. The agreement was maintained when the PRR was folded into Penn Central Transportation in 1968, a year after SAL merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (SCL). Between Washington and Richmond, Virginia, the train operated on RF&P rails. Amtrak took over the train in 1971.

Amtrak era[edit]

A Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad locomotive pulls the Silver Star at Alexandria, VA on March 23, 1969

Except for a brief period from 1994 to 1995 and from 1996 to 2004, when service to Tampa was provided by the Palmetto (known as the Silver Palm from 1996 to 2002), the Silver Star has served both Tampa and Miami during the Amtrak era. Originally, Amtrak operated the Silver Star with Tampa and Miami sections that split in Jacksonville, with the Tampa section continuing on the old Atlantic Coast Line route through Orlando, and the Miami section traveling through Ocala and Wildwood over most of what was the original Seaboard route to Miami. After November 1, 2004, the Silver Star resumed service to Tampa, and now travels intact all of the way, backing out of Tampa and retracing its route 40 miles (64 km) east to Auburndale, where it heads south to Miami or north to New York.[8][9] The detour occurs at Lakeland; the train stops there to discharge passengers before going to Tampa and to receive passengers after it returns from Tampa.

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 (the Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, and Cardinal) were examined in FY 2010.[10] With the discontinuation of the Silver Meteor's former Tampa section (a descendant of the Champion, a longtime rival of the Silver Star and Silver Meteor) in 1988, the Silver Star is now the only passenger train serving Tampa.

On July 1, 2015, the Silver Star's dining car was completely removed from the train's consist, a controversial decision that Amtrak rationalized with the idea that sleeping car passengers could obtain meals from the train's café-lounge car.[11] However, on May 1, 2020, the Silver Star's dining car was returned, and Amtrak introduced the “flexible dining” system to the train, which consists of pre-prepared meals which are then heated in either a convection oven or a microwave oven at the time of purchase.[12][13] In a Rail Passengers Association webinar that took place on November 16, 2022, Amtrak's vice president of long-distance service revealed that traditional dining service was planned to be reintroduced on the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star "in early 2023."[14] Following this announcement, beginning on northbound train 92 on March 15, 2023, traditional dining was reintroduced to the Silver Star for the first time since 2015. However, this was not a permanent rollout and was instead in the form of a 3-month pilot program gauged to test the success of the service. Southbound train 91 received the pilot on March 17. On June 24, 2023, traditional dining service was formally launched on the Silver Star, as well as on northbound Silver Meteor train 98, and the Silver Star pilot program was replaced by permanent service.[15][16] Southbound train 97 received traditional dining on June 26. However, coach passengers were not allowed access to the dining car on either the Silver Meteor or Silver Star, unlike on Amtrak's western long-distance trains. Shortly after the formal rollout in another interview with the Rail Passengers Association, Amtrak's vice president of long-distance service stated that Coach Class access to the dining car was planned to be allowed by the end of 2023,[17] however by January 2024 coach passengers still did not have access. On March 4, 2024, dining car access was finally expanded to coach passengers, mirroring service on Amtrak's western long-distance trains. [18]

On February 4, 2018, Silver Star train number 91 collided with a CSX freight train in Cayce, South Carolina; the engineer and a conductor of the Silver Star were killed, and 116 passengers were injured.[19][20]

Since 2012, issues have prevented Amtrak from moving from their current station to the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC), primarily regarding the length of the platforms and lease agreements. Amtrak argued that the platforms were insufficient in length, as extra cars are normally added to the Silver Meteor and Silver Star during the winter season to accommodate increased demand.[21] Tri-Rail began serving the MIC on April 5, 2015,[22] and Greyhound began using the station on June 24, 2015.[23] Amtrak had been expected to move to the MIC by the Fall of 2016, but in 2018 Amtrak rejected the terms of a lease agreement with FDOT and said it had no plans to move to the MIC.[24] In 2021, Amtrak reached out to FDOT to begin negotiations again for utilization of the MIC, and in February 2022, negotiations officially restarted.[25] Later in March 2022, a test train operated into and out of the station and proved that the platforms are sufficient in length to hold a standard 10 car train.[26] However, the platforms are not long enough to accommodate an 11 to 12 car train, which could be possible in the winter months. In September 2022, Amtrak management announced that it had restarted lease negotiations with FDOT regarding use and maintenance of the terminal. One issue however, is the deadheading move that will need to take place between the MIC and Hialeah. Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner has stated that "the company is evaluating technical and operational aspects of the move."[27] In an Amtrak Public Board Meeting Q&A on December 1, 2022, it was revealed that Amtrak was in the final stages of its preparations for relocating from their current Miami station, and had planned to relocate to the MIC in 2023.[28] However, additional track area would need to be constructed for the Amtrak trains to turn back north,[29] and as of 2024, Amtrak has no date indicated for when service will start at the MIC.[30]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

On July 6, 2020, Amtrak reduced the frequency of this train to three times per week as opposed to daily.[31] Southbound Silver Star trains departed New York Friday through Sunday, while Silver Meteor trains departed Monday through Thursday. Similarly, northbound Silver Star trains departed Miami on Thursday through Saturday, while Silver Meteor trains departed Sunday through Wednesday.[32] Both trains resumed daily services on June 7, 2021, after additional Amtrak funding was included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[33]

Between January 24 and October 14, 2022, the Silver Star temporarily added a station stop in Jesup, Georgia due to the suspension of its sister train, the Silver Meteor, which is normally the only train that stops at that station. This was due to a resurgence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as well as a further delay caused by Hurricane Ian.[34] During this period the Silver Star provided a single once daily service between New York and Miami.


Ridership by Fiscal Year (October–September)
Ridership Change over previous year Notes
2010[35] 393,586 - -
2011[35] 424,394 Increase07.82% -
2012[36] 425,794 Increase00.37% -
2013[36] 414,077 Decrease02.79% -
2014[37] 405,695 Decrease02.02% -
2015[37] 383,347 Decrease05.50% -
2016[38] 364,271 Decrease04.97% -
2017[39] 373,372 Increase02.49% -
2018[40] 368,518 Decrease01.30% -
2019[40] 377,342 Increase02.39% -
2020[41] 218,514 Decrease042.09% -
2021[42] 187,152 Decrease014.35% Tri-weekly October 2020 - June 2021
2022[43] 434,779 Increase0132.31% -
2023[44] 351,732 Decrease019.1% -

Rolling stock[edit]

Southbound Silver Star passing Martin State Airport station at 100 mph, June 15, 2019

Under SAL operation, the Silver Star utilized passenger cars built by the Budd Company and Pullman Standard built either just before or after World War II, and diesel-electric locomotives from the EMD E-unit series. These cars utilized steam heating provided by a steam generator in the locomotive. This equipment continued to operate when Amtrak took over in 1971. E-units were replaced by newer power, such as the steam generator-equipped EMD SDP40F by the mid 1970's. Amtrak began rebuilding their inherited passenger cars in the late 1970's to utilize Head-end power (HEP); these rebuilt cars were known as the "Heritage Fleet." The train began using Heritage Fleet equipment on March 10, 1982,[45]: 78  and subsequently HEP-equipped EMD F40PH locomotives.

Today the Silver Star uses Amtrak's standard long-distance single-level equipment: Viewliner baggage, sleeping, and dining cars, and Amfleet coach and café-lounge cars. An ACS-64 electric locomotive is used between New York City and Washington, D.C, while two diesel-electric locomotives, either GE P42DC or Siemens ALC-42 locomotives, are used for power south of Washington, D.C. Amtrak began replacing the older P42DC locomotives with ALC-42 locomotives in 2023.[46]

A typical Silver Star consist as of January 2024 is made up of:

  • ACS-64 locomotive (New York–Washington)
  • P42DC or ALC-42 locomotive (Washington–Miami)
  • P42DC or ALC-42 locomotive (Washington–Miami)
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Café/Lounge Car
  • Viewliner II Dining Car
  • Viewliner I Sleeping Car
  • Viewliner II Sleeping Car
  • Viewliner II Baggage Car

During the 2022 suspension of the Silver Meteor, some coach and sleeping cars usually on the Silver Meteor were combined into the Silver Star, creating a train with up to six coaches and five sleepers, in addition to the café-lounge, diner, and baggage car.

Route details[edit]

Amtrak Silver Service route map

The Silver Star operates over a combination of Amtrak, CSX Transportation (CSXT), and Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) trackage:[citation needed]

The Silver Star uses the same route as the Silver Meteor – the other train in the Silver Service brand – excluding two segments: Selma, North CarolinaSavannah, Georgia, and Kissimmee, FloridaWinter Haven, Florida.[47][2] Between Selma and Savannah, the Silver Star takes an inland route over the CSX S-Line to serve the Carolinas' state capitals of Raleigh and Columbia, while the Silver Meteor stays closer to the coast on the CSX A-Line and serves Fayetteville, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina. Between Kissimmee and Winter Haven, the Silver Meteor turns south to go directly to Miami at Auburndale, Florida, while the Silver Star continues west to Lakeland, Florida and Tampa, before coming back to Auburndale and turning south to Miami. In addition to these diversions, between Sebring, Florida and West Palm Beach, Florida, the Silver Meteor makes no intermediate stops, while the Silver Star makes an additional stop at Okeechobee, Florida. Inversely, between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida, the Silver Meteor makes an additional stop at Jesup, Georgia, while the Silver Star makes no intermediate stops. However, during the 2022 suspension of the Silver Meteor, the Silver Star temporarily served Jesup.[47][2]

Prior to October 1986, the Silver Star operated between Petersburg, Virginia, and Raleigh via the CSX Norlina Subdivision, stopping only in Henderson, North Carolina.[48] CSX abandoned the Norlina Subdivision between Norlina, North Carolina and Collier Yard (just south of Petersburg) in October 1986, which required the Silver Star to be rerouted over the CSX A-Line between Petersburg and Selma, then over the North Carolina Railroad between Selma and Raleigh. The Silver Star is to be rerouted via its former routing when tracks between Petersburg and Norlina are rebuilt as part of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor project, and reinstate its stop at Henderson, as well as adding a stop in La Crosse, Virginia.[49]

Like other long-distance trains operating on the Northeast Corridor, local travel between NEC stations is not allowed on the Silver Star. Northbound trains only stop to discharge passengers from Alexandria, Virginia northward, and southbound trains only stop to receive passengers from Newark, New Jersey to Washington.[2] This policy is in place to keep seats available for passengers making longer trips. Passengers wanting to travel locally must use the more frequent Northeast Regional or Acela trains. Additionally, the Silver Star, like the Silver Meteor, does not allow local travel between West Palm Beach and Miami. Southbound trains only stop to discharge passengers, while northbound trains only stop to receive passengers bound for points beyond West Palm Beach. This is due to the availability of Tri-Rail, South Florida's commuter rail system.

Since Amtrak ended passenger rail service over the CSX Clearwater Subdivision between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida in February 1984,[50]Amtrak Thruway bus service has been provided at Tampa Union Station for trainside transfer of passengers and their baggage to and from Clearwater, Florida and St. Petersburg. Other points on Florida's west coast, such as Bradenton, Florida, Sarasota, Florida, Port Charlotte, Florida and Fort Myers, Florida, are also served by Amtrak Thruway service connecting with the Silver Star at Tampa.[51] Similarly, Amtrak has provided Amtrak Thruway bus service between the former stations along the CSX Wildwood Subdivision in North-Central Florida since November 2004 after passenger rail service ended, as well as Gainesville, Florida and The Villages-Lady Lake, Florida. The former stations that are now served by Amtrak Thruway buses are: Waldo, Florida, Ocala, Florida, Wildwood, Florida, and Dade City, Florida. These buses connect with the Silver Star at Jacksonville and Lakeland.

Station stops[edit]

State Town/City Station Connections
NY New York City Penn Station Amtrak Amtrak (long-distance): Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor
Amtrak Amtrak (intercity): Acela, Adirondack, Berkshire Flyer, Carolinian, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter
LIRR:  Main Line,  Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit NJ Transit:  North Jersey Coast Line,  Northeast Corridor Line,  Gladstone Branch,  Montclair-Boonton Line,  Morristown Line
NYC Subway: "1" train"2" train"3" train"A" train"C" train"E" train
Port Authority Trans-Hudson PATH: HOB-33 JSQ-33 JSQ-33 (via HOB)
Bus interchange NYC Transit Bus
NJ Newark Newark Penn Station Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
NJ Transit NJ Transit:  North Jersey Coast Line,  Northeast Corridor Line,  Raritan Valley Line
Port Authority Trans-Hudson PATH: NWK-WTC
Newark Light Rail Newark Light Rail
Bus interchange NJ Transit Bus
Trenton Trenton Amtrak Amtrak: Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
NJ Transit NJ Transit:  Northeast Corridor Line,  River Line
SEPTA Regional Rail:  Trenton Line
Bus interchange NJ Transit Bus, SEPTA Suburban Bus
PA Philadelphia 30th Street Station Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
SEPTA Regional Rail: all routes
NJ Transit NJ Transit:  Atlantic City Line
SEPTA City Transit: Market-Frankford Subway-Surface
Bus interchange SEPTA City Bus, SEPTA Suburban Bus
DE Wilmington Wilmington Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
SEPTA Regional Rail:  Wilmington/​Newark Line
Bus interchange DART First State
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
MD Baltimore Penn Station Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
MARC:  Penn Line
Light RailLink
Bus interchange MTA Maryland, Charm City Circulator
DC Washington Washington Union Station Amtrak Amtrak: Acela, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Vermonter, Amtrak Thruway to Charlottesville, Virginia
MARC:  Brunswick Line,  Camden Line,  Penn Line
Virginia Railway Express VRE:  Manassas Line,  Fredericksburg Line
Metro: Red Line
DC Streetcar: H Street/Benning Road Line
Bus interchange Metrobus, DC Circulator, MTA Maryland, Loudoun County Transit, OmniRide
Bus interchange Intercity bus: Greyhound Lines Greyhound, Megabus (North America) Megabus, BoltBus, BestBus, Peter Pan, OurBus
VA Alexandria Alexandria Amtrak Amtrak: Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor
Virginia Railway Express VRE:  Manassas Line,  Fredericksburg Line
Metro: Blue Line, Yellow Line
Bus interchange Metrobus, DASH
Richmond Richmond Staples Mill Road Amtrak Amtrak: Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Amtrak Thruway to Charlottesville, Virginia
Bus interchange Greater Richmond Transit Company
Ettrick Petersburg Amtrak Amtrak: Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor
Bus interchange Petersburg Area Transit
NC Rocky Mount Rocky Mount Amtrak Amtrak: Carolinian, Palmetto, Silver Meteor
Bus interchange Tar River Transit
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Raleigh Raleigh Union Station Amtrak Amtrak: Carolinian, Piedmont
Bus interchange GoRaleigh, GoTriangle
Cary Cary Amtrak Amtrak: Carolinian, Piedmont
Bus interchange GoCary, GoTriangle
Southern Pines Southern Pines
Hamlet Hamlet
SC Camden Camden
Columbia Columbia Bus interchange The Comet
Denmark Denmark
GA Savannah Savannah Amtrak Amtrak: Palmetto, Silver Meteor
FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor, Amtrak Thruway to Waldo, Ocala, Gainesville, The Villages, Wildwood, Dade City, Lakeland
Bus interchange Jacksonville Transportation Authority
Palatka Palatka Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Bus interchange The Ride Solution
DeLand DeLand Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor, Amtrak Thruway to Daytona Beach
Winter Park Winter Park Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
SunRail SunRail
Lynx (Orlando) LYNX Bus
Orlando Orlando Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor, Amtrak Thruway to Lakeland, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers
SunRail SunRail
Lynx (Orlando) LYNX Bus
Kissimmee Kissimmee Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
SunRail SunRail
Lynx (Orlando) LYNX Bus
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Lakeland Lakeland Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Dade City, Wildwood, The Villages, Gainesville, Ocala, Waldo Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers
Bus interchange Citrus Connection
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Tampa Tampa Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Dade City, Wildwood, The Villages, Gainesville, Ocala, Waldo, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers
Bus interchange Hillsborough Area Regional Transit
Winter Haven Winter Haven Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Sebring Sebring Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Okeechobee Okeechobee
West Palm Beach West Palm Beach Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
Brightline Brightline (at West Palm Beach)
Bus interchange Palm Tran, Tri-Rail Commuter Connector, West Palm Beach Downtown Trolley
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Delray Beach Delray Beach Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
Bus interchange Palm Tran, Downtown Connector
Deerfield Beach Deerfield Beach Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
Bus interchange Broward County Transit, Tri-Rail Commuter Connector
Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
Bus interchange Broward County Transit, Metrobus, Sun Trolley, Tri-Rail Commuter Connector
Hollywood Hollywood Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
Bus interchange Broward County Transit, Hallandale Beach Community Bus
Miami Miami Amtrak Amtrak: Silver Meteor
Bus interchange Metrobus


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  31. ^ Tate, Curtis. "Amtrak to reduce New York-Florida trains starting July 6, with more cuts coming Oct. 1". USA TODAY. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
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  33. ^ "With Increased Demand and Congressional Funding, Amtrak Restores 12 Long Distance Routes to Daily Service". Amtrak. March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
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  51. ^ Amtrak Website


  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.

External links[edit]