The purpose of the TampaBayTrains.com web site is to showcase the highlights of railroading in the Tampa Bay area through captivating vintage images and more recent photography, augmented by descriptions and maps. The coming of the earliest railroads to central Florida eventually led to the domination of the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad for over 50 years.

There was the usual freight business that mainly sustained profits, but the quality of the passenger service was outstanding, and even luxurious on the premium trains. The cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater enjoyed direct rail service with New York and other Northeast U.S. destinations, as well as with Chicago and other Midwest cities. Most passenger trains passed through the Florida gateway of Jacksonville, where additional connections could be made.

This business peaked in the 1920s, then gradually declined as air travel and improved highways began to seriously compete with the trains. Eventually, the remaining passenger services were merged into the Seaboard Coast Line company in 1967, then taken over by Amtrak a few years later. Although Amtrak passenger service to Tampa Union Station still continues, direct rail service for Pinellas County ended in 1984 (replaced by connecting bus service).

Meanwhile, the Seaboard Coast Line continued to provide Tampa Bay with freight service that eventually evolved into the operations of today's CSX Transportation.
 
 
 
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