Tag Archives: Florida East Coast Railway

Let’s Talk About Florida East Coast Railway and the Obama Cuba Policy


The new U.S. policy that may open up trade opportunities with Cuba would make FEC a very attractive stock, because the 351-mile railroad that starts in Jacksonville is the only rail line that connects to the port of Miami. Actually, it makes FEC attractive as a buyout candidate even if it doesn’t go public.
Back when Florida East Coast Industries Inc. was a public company, its stock was always sensitive to hints that trade may be opening up with Cuba. Of course, that never panned out.

Port of Miami Port of Miami

One investment manager who constantly talked up FEC was Thomas Herzfeld of Miami Beach, who runs a mutual fund called the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund.
The Herzfeld fund invests in companies with economic ties throughout the Caribbean, but its particular focus is Cuba. The fund’s ticker symbol is “CUBA.”
Herzfeld began buying shares of FEC in the early 1990s and its…

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Florida East Coast Railway Runs Inaugural Of New GE Tier 3 ES44C4 locomotives

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.,  Nov. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On  Friday, November 21 st, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) completed the inaugural run of its first two new GE ES44C4 locomotives.  Locomotives FEC 803 and FEC 804 provided state-of-the-art Tier 3 locomotive power to FECR Train 101; the company’s most expedited through-freight train, transporting automotive, carload and intermodal freight from    Jacksonville to Miami.


FECR team members worked to prepare the locomotives for the first run, ensuring smooth operations for the historic inaugural trip.  According to   David Kobryn, FECR Locomotive Superintendent, “Within days of these units arriving in    Jacksonville, our Mechanical Team had completed standard service procedures, equipped the units with WiTonix, and they were ready for service.”


The new locomotives also got positive reviews from the FECR operations team.”The new locomotives are quiet and comfortable in the cab.  Overall I was impressed by the way they handled,” said   Donald Wolff, FECR Locomotive Engineer.


Mark Baker, FECR Conductor, similarly said, “The new GE locomotives are quieter with a comfortable ride and loud horn.  The radio on the conductor side of the cab is a definite plus and good to have for emergencies.”


“What a thrill it was to be able to be part of the crew for this historic event with the new GE additions to the FECR fleet,” said   Eric Usina, FECR Road Foreman of Engines.  “These new GE locomotives exceeded my expectations in every way on this first run.”


Fran Chinnici, Senior Vice President of Mechanical, Engineering and Purchasing was onboard this inaugural run with his key staff members and GE personnel.  He said, “I am extremely pleased with the initial performance of these new locomotives and look forward to the many benefits these units provide, including fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.  This exciting time for FECR was made even more special by all the FECR rail fans waving and taking pictures up and down the route.”


Part of GE’s Evolution Series, the ES44C4 locomotives are designed using advanced engine technology that lowers fuel consumption while also controlling NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions. The company will receive a total of 24 ES44C4 locomotives from GE Transportation before the end of the year.


“As we continue to grow and expand, it is critical that we have dependable and efficient horsepower to support the transportation of intermodal, carload, auto and port business.  With these new Tier 3 locomotives, we are well positioned to handle current and future customer needs,” said   James R. Hertwig, FECR President and CEO.


  About Florida East Coast Railway

 The Florida East Coast Railway (“FEC”) is a 351-mile freight rail line located along the east coast of Florida.  It is the exclusive rail provider for    Port Miami, Port Everglades, and Port of    Palm Beach.  FEC connects to the national railroad network in Jacksonville,    Florida, and provides carload and door-to-door intermodal solutions across    North America to customers who demand cost-effective and premium quality service. 


I’m sure  FEC founder Mr.Flagler is proud to see this.

As  a  former GE employee, I am glad too



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Florida East Coast: Some not even Nasty

Flagler railway connected the Oldest City to key points in Florida

What some Flagler College students may see as an opportunity to reside in a lap of luxury is really one of St. Augustine’s biggest and most important industries.

Today, the three-building complex on Malaga Street with beautiful marble flooring and loft bedding is dedicated to housing upperclassmen at Flagler College.

Years ago, it was the headquarters for the Florida East Coast Railway.

When Henry Flagler got to St. Augustine in 1878, it was to visit with his wife, Ida Alice Shourds, for their belated honeymoon. He had been to other parts of Florida like Orange Park and Jacksonville but he hadn’t fallen in love with them like he had with the historic city.

Being that Flagler was of a more refined ilk, when he came to St. Augustine, he was looking for a more upscale place to stay and development in the city.

So, in 1885 Flagler returned with his sights set on developing the area around St. Augustine and began building the Hotel Ponce de Leon. It was at this time that he noticed that the city was also missing a solid method of transportation in order to develop Florida.

Henry Flagler’s vision

St. Augustine had St. Johns Railway as its main transportation method. It was 15 miles long and used mules for power. Built 1859, the original track of the railway was made up of wood and iron strap.

When Flagler started developing the old city and began using the railway to transport, his crew alerted him that the railway couldn’t handle the tasks at hand.

So, Flagler built himself a railway. Immediately, upgrades were made and the railroad went from running on wood and iron tracks to standard gauge.

By 1889, Flagler’s system offered service from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach with hotel facilities along the way to encourage tourism.

In 1892, landowners south of Daytona wanted the railroad extended causing Flagler to obtain a charter from the state of Florida authorizing him to build a railroad along the Indian River all the way to Miami allowing for new cities like New Smyrna and Titusville to develop.

Two years later, the railroad system reached West Palm Beach and that area began to develop.

In April of 1896, Flagler celebrated a very big day because now, the railroad extended and ran from St. Augustine to Miami, and further down to Key West.

The final link of the Florida East Coast Railway was completed on January 22, 1912 just weeks after Flagler’s, 82nd birthday.

Read more of this great story by Kimeko McCoy

Seacrest Hotel once dominated Delray skyline

Built in 1925, a year before the Colony, the old Seacrest  Hotel, which stood at the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and State Road A1A, where the Delray Beach Marriott now stands.

d the city’s skyline well into the early 1960s.» BEFORE AND AFTER: Check out The Seacrest Hotel then and what it is now 

E.H. Scott, a depot agent for the Florida East Coast Railway, bought the original lot for all of $60. With cathedral ceilings and arches that lit in sunlight, the 57-room hotel sported the Spanish architecture that came to symbolize the burgeoning Palm Beach County in the early 20th century. Movie stars, celebrities and the wealthy held court around its pool.

“There were Rolls-Royces all over the place,” longtime resident Robert Ian McLaren, then 69, told the Palm Beach Daily News — the “Shiny Sheet” — in 1982.

The hotel survived the great 1928 hurricane and underwent a renovation in 1933, in the heart of the Depression. During World War II, volunteers and Boy Scouts looked out a turret at the top of its 57-foot tower and scanned the oceans in search of German U-Boats.

But the post-war boom led to new hotels that drew tourists away from the Seacrest.

In 1978, developer Bill Walsh bought the 2.26-acre site. Walsh rewired the hotel and applied a new paint job. But the electrical grid couldn’t accommodate the newfangled, and now mandatory, air conditioning. That was that.

The place just wasn’t viable any more, Walsh said. For two years, he and city commissioners wrestled with its future. In August 1981 the city approved Walsh’s plans to build a new hotel. The Seacrest closed.

For a while, it housed workers building the Holiday Inn on Glades Road, west of Interstate 95, in Boca Raton. They included Jim Graham, now director of sales and marketing for the Marriott, the current hotel.

“It was a little rustic,” Graham said. “They had the old-fashioned switchboards where the operator pulled a plug. It did have good cross-ventilation but I don’t think you could stay there in the summertime.”

After that, salvageable furniture and fixtures were sold or donated. Vandals broke windows and cracked pillars. Wreckers finally brought down the building in February 1982.

The following year, the five-floor, 277-room Holiday Inn Camino Real opened on the spot. In 1998, it expanded and became the Marriott.

With the Seacrest long gone, now only the Colony stands among the great old Delray Beach ocean hotels.

Read more and see some great pictures


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