For a short time the Floridian and the Louisville section of the auto-train were combined. So some trains had Amtrak 8004 and auto-train 3 on the same train at times.
Photo by Nickolas Katz
Delivered new to the Florida East Coast Railway in December of 1939 the Fort Lauderdale was assigned the flagship train The Henry M. Flagler. The Henry M. Flagler was an intra-state daytime train between Jacksonville and Miami. However the Henry M. Flagler did not preform as the FEC had hoped and in 1941 the new streamliner became the Chicago to Miami Dixie Flagler, a service jointly operated by the C&EI, L&N, NC&StL, AB&C, ACL and FEC.
The one thing that the railroads took great pride in was the dinning car service. Never known for their ability to make a profit the dinners were used as a marketing tool for the passenger service. These restaurants on the rails were second to none. with uniformed staff serving the finest of meals with china and silver on the white table cloths dinner in the diner was a big part of the experience of traveling by rail.
In 1965 FEC sold the Fort Lauderdale to the Seaboard Air Line it was numbered 6115 then on 7/1/1967 Seaboard Airline merged with the Atlantic Coast line and the car was renumbered Seaboard Coast Line 5904. In 1971 with the forming of Amtrak the FortLauderdale was once again renumbered to AMTK 8004. Retired from Amtrak in 1983 the Fort Lauderdale was sold to Mainline Rail Passenger Services LTD acquiring the number of RPCX 8004.
In the above picture we see the Fort Lauderdale in storage at Rail Expo in Latonia, KY.
Here we see the stove vents through the roof of 8004. The stack closest to the camera has been leaking causing water damage to the wall between the stove and the hallway. This stack will be removed and the roof sealed. This stack is no longer necessary as the wood burning cook stove is being replaced with electric.
This cast iron pesto-log fired stove is to be removed. State of the art for 1939 this stove has cooked a many of meal. However the time has come to say goodbye to it and replace it with new modern commercial cooking equipment that is more efficient and better temperature control. This is the place that we can make the most improvement in the diner.
The Fort Lauderdale currently is in Versailles, KY waiting for R. J. Coreman to work out the details of the move. This is currently a sticking point and we remain optimistic that this will be resolved soon. Be sure to check back for new details as they emerge.
once the work is completed at Crossroads the Fort Lauderdale will be returning to Floridaand once again serve up dining on the rails.
photo by Nicholas Katz