Silver Meteor

Silver Meteor
Old 97, New Locomotive (14853558824).jpg
The Silver Meteor speeds through Odenton, Maryland.
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleEast Coast of the United States
First serviceFebruary 2, 1939
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Former operator(s)Seaboard Air Line Railroad(1939–1967)
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad(1967–1971)
Pennsylvania Railroad(1939–1968, haulage agreement)
Penn Central(1968–1971, haulage agreement)
Ridership1,023 daily
373,576 total (FY11)[1]
StartNew York City
EndMiami, Florida
Distance travelled1,389 miles (2,235 km)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)97–98
On-board services
Class(es)Reserved Coach and First-class Sleeper
Seating arrangementsAirline-style coach seating
Sleeping arrangementsViewliner Roomette (2 beds)
Viewliner Bedroom (2 beds)
Viewliner Bedroom Suite (4 beds)
Viewliner Accessible Bedroom (2 beds)
Catering facilitiesViewliner Dining car, Lounge car
Baggage facilitiesChecked baggage available at selected stations
Rolling stock
  • Amfleet II coaches
  • Viewliner sleepers
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Track owner(s)Amtrak, CSX, CFRC

The Silver Meteor is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between New York City and Miami, Florida. Introduced in 1939 as the first diesel-powered streamliner between New York and Florida, it was the flagship train of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and one of its flagship trains of its successor, the Seaboard Coast Line. It was handed to Amtrak when it took over intercity rail service in 1971.

The train is part of Amtrak's Silver Service along with the Silver Star, another former SAL streamliner. The two trains are the remnants of the numerous long-distance trains that operated between Florida and New York for most of the 20th century.

During fiscal year 2019, the Silver Meteor carried 353,466 passengers, an increase of 4.9% from FY2018. [2] In FY2016, The train had a total revenue of $36,652,426, a decrease of 4.7% from FY2015. [3]


Silver Meteor 1961 SAL timetable
SAL's shrouded 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive #865 with the Silver Meteor's St. Petersburg section, in the 1940s

The Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) inaugurated the Silver Meteor on February 2, 1939. The name was selected via contest, with 30 people among 76,000 entrants proposing the winning name. It was the first diesel-powered streamliner to Florida, and its introduction prompted its competitor, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to introduce its own New York-Florida streamliner, the Champion, in December 1939. The SAL emphasized the train's modernity, referring to it as the "Train of Tomorrow" and having its first trip to Florida begin not from New York Penn Station, but from the Long Island Rail Road station at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The train used seven new cars manufactured by the Budd Company. The original schedule took 25 hours.[4][5]

The Pennsylvania Railroad carried the train from New York to Washington along its main line–now the Northeast Corridor–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. 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, 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 in 1968 the new railroad reshuffled the Florida streamliners. The Silver Meteor lost its west coast section and began serving Miami only.[6] The Pennsy merged with the New York Central Railroad to form Penn Central, which inherited the longstanding haulage agreement for the Silver Meteor. Amtrak retained the train when it took over most intercity passenger trains on May 1, 1971.

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 November 14, 1971 and January 16, 1972, the Silver Meteor made the major shift in its route, shifting from its traditional path on the old SAL mainline through Columbia to the old ACL mainline through Florence and Charleston, South Carolina.[7][8] 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 several occasions during the 1970s, the Silver Meteor was combined with its old rival, the Champion. In the summer of 1972, Amtrak split the trains in Savannah, with the Champion continuing to St. Petersburg and the Meteor continuing to Miami. They were combined again for the summers of 1975, 1976 and 1977, splitting in Jacksonville. Finally, in 1979, the Champion was permanently folded into the Silver Meteor as a St. Petersburg section. Although the Champion name was preserved for a time,[9] it disappeared with the October 1, 1979 timetable.

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. By the mid-1990s the Silver Meteor made stops in Orlando.[10]

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, most often caused by freight delays.

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.[11]

As of 2019, the train's dining car no longer serves freshly cooked meals in a traditional setting. They have switched to the “flexible dining” system, which consists of pre-prepared meals which are then heated at the time of purchase.[12]

On July 6, 2020, Amtrak reduced the frequency of this train to four times per week as opposed to daily.[13] Southbound Silver Meteor trains departed New York Monday through Thursday, while Silver Star trains departed Friday through Sunday. Similarly, northbound Silver Meteor trains departed Miami Sunday through Wednesday, while Silver Star trains departed Miami on Thursday through Saturday.[14] Both trains resumed daily services on June 7, 2021, after additional Amtrak funding was included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[15]


Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) glass-roofed "Sun Lounge" Hollywood Beach, a 5-double-bedroom-buffet Pullman car introduced in 1956. Regular dome cars were too high for the tunnel clearances on the Northeast Corridor used by SAL trains north of Washington.
Interior of the "Sun Lounge"

The original Silver Meteor used lightweight cars built by the Budd Company. Three consists were needed for a daily train between New York and Miami; each had a baggage-dormitory-coach (22 seats), three 60-seat coaches, a tavern-lounge-coach (30 seats), a dining car, and a coach-observation-lounge (48 seats). Some of the coaches were owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Budd delivered more cars in November–December 1940, allowing daily service to St. Petersburg: three baggage-dormitory-coaches (18 seats), seven 56-seat coaches, two dining cars, and three coach-buffet-observation cars (30 seats).[16]

By the early 1960s, the SAL's Silver Meteor typically had 17 cars or more, consisting of nine Pullman sleeping cars including its highly touted glass-topped Sun Lounge introduced in 1956, several coaches, two dining cars, and an observation car with tavern.[17]

The Silver Meteor now uses Amtrak's standard long-distance single-level equipment: Viewliner baggage cars, Viewliner sleeping cars, Viewliner dining cars, Amfleet cafe-lounges and Amfleet coaches. An ACS-64 electric locomotive is used between New York City and Washington, D.C, while two GE P42DC diesel electric locomotives are used for power south of Washington, D.C.

A typical Silver Meteor includes:[18]

  • 2 GE P42DC Diesel Locomotives (or 1 ACS-64 Electric Locomotive on the Northeast Corridor)
  • 2-4 Amfleet II Coaches
  • 1 Amfleet II Cafe/Lounge
  • 1 Viewliner II Dining Car
  • 2-3 Viewliner II Sleeping cars
  • 1 Viewliner II baggage car or baggage-dorm

During the winter months, additional cars are added to meet demand. These longer trains forced delays in Amtrak's long-planned move to a larger station in Miami.[19]

Route details

Amtrak Silver Service (interactive map)

The Silver Meteor's route covers 1,389 miles (2,235 km) between New York City and Miami, Florida. The train originates at New York's Pennsylvania Station and travels south to Washington, D.C. via Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. From there the train operates entirely over CSX track via Richmond, Virginia, Fayetteville, North Carolina, North Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, Jesup, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. South of Jacksonville, the train follows the traditional Palatka route of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. After transferring to the Central Florida Rail Corridor from DeLand to Poinciana, it returns to CSX track between Orlando and West Palm Beach before using the South Florida Rail Corridor from West Palm Beach to Miami, using track historically of the Seaboard Air Line.[20]

The Silver Meteor shares much of its route with the Silver Star. However, the two trains diverge between their stops at Rocky Mount and Savannah. At Selma, North Carolina, the Silver Star turns inland to serve the Carolinas' two state capitals, Raleigh, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina. It also detours to serve Tampa, Florida. The daytime Palmetto uses the same route as the Silver Meteor but terminates in Savannah.[20]

In its present form, the southbound Silver Meteor leaves New York in mid-afternoon, arriving in Washington at dinner time and traveling overnight through Virginia and the Carolinas for arrival at breakfast time the following morning in Savannah, rush hour in Jacksonville, lunchtime in Orlando, and early evening in Miami. Northbound trains leave Miami just before rush hour, arriving in central Florida at lunchtime and Jacksonville in late afternoon and dinner time in Savannah, then passing through the Carolinas and Virginia overnight for arrival at breakfast time in Washington, mid-morning in Philadelphia and lunchtime in New York.

Like other long-distance trains, passengers are not allowed to travel only between stations on the Northeast Corridor on the Silver Meteor. Northbound trains only stop to discharge passengers from Fredericksburg northward, and southbound trains only stop to receive passengers from Newark to Washington. This policy is in place to make seats available for passengers making longer trips, and also due to the availability of the more frequent Northeast Regional service.

Additionally, the Silver Meteor, like the Silver Star, 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.

Station stops

New YorkNew York CityPenn StationAmtrak: Acela, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Vermonter
LIRR: Main Line, Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1, ​2, ​3, A, ​C, ​E, B, ​D, ​F, <F>, ​M​, N, ​Q, ​R, and ​W trains
NYC Transit buses: M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
PATH: Hoboken–33rd Street, Journal Square–33rd Street, Journal Square–33rd Street (via Hoboken)
New JerseyNewarkNewark Penn StationAmtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Newark City Subway, Newark Light Rail, North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Raritan Valley Line, 1, 5, 11*, 21, 25, 28*, 29*, 30*, 34, 39, 40, 41* 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78*, 79*, 108, 308*, 319, 361*, 375*, 378*, go25* *Limited service
PATH: Newark–World Trade Center
Coach USA: 31, 44
TrentonTrentonAmtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line, River Line, 409, 418, 600, 601, 604, 606, 608, 609, 611, 619
SEPTA Regional Rail: Trenton Line
SEPTA Suburban Transit Division: 127
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia30th Street StationAmtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Atlantic City Line
SEPTA City Transit Division: Market–Frankford Line, SEPTA Subway–Surface Trolley Lines (Route 10, Route 11, Route 13, Route 34, Route 36), 9, 12, 21, 30, 31, 42, 44, 49, 62, LUCY
SEPTA Suburban Transit Division: 124, 125
SEPTA Regional Rail: Airport Line, Warminster Line, Wilmington/Newark Line, West Trenton Line, Media/Elwyn Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Paoli/Thorndale Line, Manayunk/Norristown Line, Cynwyd Line, Trenton Line, Chestnut Hill East Line, Chestnut Hill West Line, Fox Chase Line
DelawareWilmingtonWilmingtonAmtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star, Vermonter
Greyhound Lines
DART First State: 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 28, 31, 33, 35, 37, 40, 47, 52, 301, 305 (seasonal)
SEPTA Regional Rail: Wilmington/Newark Line
MarylandBaltimorePenn StationAmtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star, Vermonter
MARC Train: Penn Line
MTA Maryland: Light RailLink, 3, 11, 61, 64
Charm City Circulator: Purple Route, Artscape Shuttle
District of ColumbiaWashingtonWashington Union StationAmtrak: Acela, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star, Vermonter, Thruway Motorcoach to Charlottesville, Virginia
MARC Train: Brunswick Line, Camden Line, Penn Line
VRE: Manassas Line, Fredericksburg Line
Metro: Red Line
Metrobus: D3, D6, D8, X1, X2, X8, X9, 80, 96, 97
DC Circulator: Georgetown, Navy Yard
DC Streetcar: H Street/Benning Road Line
MTA Maryland: 903, 922
Loudoun County Transit: Loudoun County
PRTC: Dale City
VirginiaAlexandriaAlexandriaAmtrak: Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star
VRE: Fredericksburg Line, Manassas Line
Metro: Blue Line, Yellow Line
Metrobus: REX, 28A, 29K, 29N
DASH: AT2, AT5, AT6, AT7, AT8, AT10
FredericksburgFredericksburgAmtrak: Carolinian, Northeast Regional
VRE: Fredericksburg Line
FRED D1, F2, F4, VF1, VS1
RichmondRichmond Staples Mill RoadAmtrak: Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star, Thruway Motorcoach to Charlottesville, Virginia
GRTC: Route 18
EttrickPetersburgAmtrak: Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star
North CarolinaRocky MountRocky MountAmtrak: Carolinian, Palmetto, Silver Star
Greyhound Lines
Tar River Transit: all routes
FayettevilleFayettevilleAmtrak: Palmetto
South CarolinaFlorenceFlorenceAmtrak: Palmetto
KingstreeKingstreeAmtrak: Palmetto
North CharlestonCharlestonAmtrak: Palmetto
Southeastern Stages
YemasseeYemasseeAmtrak: Palmetto
GeorgiaSavannahSavannahAmtrak: Palmetto, Silver Star
FloridaJacksonvilleJacksonvilleAmtrak: Silver Star, Thruway Motorcoach to Waldo, Ocala, Gainesville, The Villages, Wildwood, Dade City and Lakeland, Florida
JTA Bus: 3
PalatkaPalatkaAmtrak: Silver Star
The Ride Solution
DeLandDeLandAmtrak: Silver Star, Thruway Motorcoach to Daytona Beach, Florida
Winter ParkWinter ParkAmtrak: Silver Star
LYNX: 9, 102, 443
OrlandoOrlandoAmtrak: Silver Star, Thruway Motorcoach to Lakeland, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers, Florida
LYNX: 40
KissimmeeKissimmeeAmtrak: Silver Star
Greyhound Lines
LYNX: 10, 18, 26, 55, 56, 57, 108, 208, 407, 441, 632
Winter HavenWinter HavenAmtrak: Silver Star
SebringSebringAmtrak: Silver Star
West Palm BeachWest Palm BeachAmtrak: Silver Star
Palm Tran: 1, 2, 20, 31, 40, 41, 43, 44, 49, 60
Tri-Rail Commuter Connector: WBP-1
West Palm Beach Downtown Trolley: Green Trolley
Greyhound Lines
Delray BeachDelray BeachAmtrak: Silver Star
Palm Tran: 2, 70, 81, 88
Downtown Connector
Deerfield BeachDeerfield BeachAmtrak: Silver Star
Broward County Transit: 48, Deerfield Beach Express I
Tri-Rail Commuter Connector: DB-1, DB-2
Fort LauderdaleFort LauderdaleAmtrak: Silver Star
Broward County Transit: 9, 22, 81, Broward Breeze
Metrobus: 95
Sun Trolley: Neighborhood Link, NW Community Link
Tri-Rail Commuter Connector: FL-1, FL-2, FL-3
HollywoodHollywoodAmtrak: Silver Star
Broward County Transit: 7
Hallandale Beach Community Bus: 3
MiamiMiamiAmtrak: Silver Star
Metrobus: 42, 112

See also


  1. ^ "Amtrak Ridership Rolls Up Best-Ever Records" (PDF). Amtrak. October 13, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Amtrak FY19 Ridership
  3. ^ Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue
  4. ^ Wegman, Mark (2008). American Passenger Trains and Locomotives Illustrated. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. p. 90-91. ISBN 978-0-7603-3475-1.
  5. ^ "Seaboard's Silver Meteor Dedicated at World's Fair". Palm Beach Daily News. January 22, 1939.
  6. ^ "St. Petersburg Made West Coast Rail Hub". St. Petersburg Times. April 13, 1968.
  7. ^ Amtrak nationwide schedules, November 14, 1971, page 59
  8. ^ Amtrak nationwide schedules, January 16, 1972, page 59.
  9. ^ "Amtrak cuts Florida service". St. Petersburg Times. August 30, 1979. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Amtrak timetable, November 10, 1996, p. 29.
  11. ^ "Amtrak's Improvement Wish List", Trains, January 2011, 20-21.
  12. ^ "Amtrak Flexible Dining".
  13. ^ Tate, Curtis. "Amtrak to reduce New York-Florida trains starting July 6, with more cuts coming Oct. 1". USA TODAY. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  14. ^ "Silver Star and Silver Meteor Schedule Changes effective July 6, 2020". Amtrak. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  15. ^ "With Increased Demand and Congressional Funding, Amtrak Restores 12 Long Distance Routes to Daily Service". Amtrak. March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  16. ^ Wayner, Robert J., ed. (1972). Car Names, Numbers and Consists. New York: Wayner Publications. p. 80. OCLC 8848690.
  17. ^ "Equipment of Through Main Line and Local Trains", Seaboard Railroad Time Tables (December 16, 1961), p. 5.
  18. ^ "Amtrak - Silver Meteor". Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  19. ^ Chardy, Alfonso; Viglucci, Andres (October 31, 2013). "Long trains, short platforms at new Miami airport train station won't force permanent street closure". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Amtrak. "Silver Service / Palmetto". Retrieved November 23, 2013.

External links

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Amtrak Silver Service


  • ━━━  Common route of Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Palmetto (this applies to north
  • ━━━  Common route of Silver Meteor and Palmetto
  • ━━━ Route of Silver Star
  • ━━━ Common route of Silver Star, Silver Meteor (Palmetto finish route at Savannah)
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Amtrak's train 97 blows through Odenton, led by shiny new ACS-64 #607.
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Passenger train schedule of the deluxe New York City–Florida Silver Meteor streamlined passenger train of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, in 1961
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The Seaboard Air Line Railroad's Silver Meteor streamlined passenger train, with its uniquely shrouded 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive #865, parked at the St. Petersburg, Florida, station. Webb's City is in the background. Circa 1940.

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Author/Creator: jpmueller99 from Shenandoah Valley of VA, USA, Licence: CC BY 2.0
Pullman-Standard built #20 Hollywood Beach in January 1956 for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. As built it contained five double bedrooms and a buffet lounge. There were many private cars on this year's New River Train. This shot was taken during the three hour layover in Hinton, WV on October 21st.
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Postcard showing the interior of one of the Sun Lounge low-dome cars on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
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