Orlando Station, November 1999.

Letting Classic Railway Architecture Tell a Story.

On a visit to Florida in mid-November 1999, I made this detailed view of Amtrak’s Orlando passenger station.

Spanish Revival Style railway station.
Orlando, Florida passenger station photographed in November 1999 on Fujichrome with a Nikkor 24 mm lens. Metered manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell with incident light dome attachment.

Built by CSX predecessor Atlantic Coast Line in a Spanish revival style, this busy station offers a variety of angles. I opted to make this symmetrical view with my Nikkor 24mm lens. The trick was exposing for the white station against the blue sky and retaining detail while not allowing the station to appear too dark

Although a simple image, it tells a story: “Atlantic” has been imperfectly replaced by “Seaboard,”—reflecting the 1967 merger between Atlantic Coast Line with its long time rival Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Amtrak assumed SCL’s passenger service on May 1, 1971, and Amtrak’s classic ‘pointless arrow’ logo meekly identifies the structure.

As evidence in this image, between the 1960s and 1990s American railroad scene underwent a bewildering series of mergers, transfers of service and rebranding. This is the topic of my upcoming book North American Railroad Family Trees , published by Voyageur Press, which aims to unravel some of the mysteries behind the myriad changes to North American railway operations.

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