USRJ S3 Ep04 From Sebring to Tampa

From Sebring to Tampa – US Rail Journeys Series 3 Episode 4

As ‘From Sebring to Tampa’ begins we hear that we are 40 minutes from our next stop. At least the scenery has started to improve! Our route takes us past fields…..

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We stop at Sebring Station which was constructed in 1924 by the Seaboard Air Line Railway. It is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Sebring International Raceway is a road car race track near Sebring, Florida. It is one of the oldest continuously operating race tracks in the U.S. as its first race was in 1950. It is one of North America’s classic race tracks and  hosts the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The dining car:

This train doesn’t have an observation car because the carriages are single deck. I have positioned myself in the Dining Car because that means I see both people passing through and those having their meals. It is amazing how many sleeping car passengers have their meals delivered to their rooms. The excellent staff are very busy!

Winter Haven:

The Seaboard Air Line Railway station dates from 1925 and was rebuilt in 1947. A freight depot was demolished in 1983. Abandoned tracks still cross the platform on the south side of the station.

Winter Haven is the second largest city in Polk County. It is part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven area and is 51 miles east of Tampa.


The station, served by the Silver Star, is on the northern shore of Lake Mirror.

Lakeland is unique because it has two separate Amtrak station codes; one for passengers travelling to and from the north and the other for passengers travelling to and from the south. This means that passengers joining or leaving the train at Lakeland do not need to take the round trip to Tampa!


As we travel towards Tampa the train turns round using a ‘wye’ junction. It then reverses for the last part of the 40 mile journey from Lakeland to Tampa.

Tampa Union Station opened on May 15, 1912 combining the passenger operations of the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line and the Tampa Northern Railroad.

In 1974 Tampa Union Station was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It closed in 1984, because of its condition, and Amtrak passengers used a temporary prefabricated station building (nicknamed an “Amshack”). Following restoration the station reopened in 1998. 

We say goodbye to some passengers and meet a large number of new ones here.

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in a couple of weeks for the next part of my journey on the Silver Star to New York.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

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© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2023

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.