Rail transportation has always had risks, both in terms of investment and safety. Florida railways have witnessed numerous train wrecks and other disasters, sometimes with tragic loss of life.
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The wreck occurred at McDonald, north of Plymouth in Orange County, Florida.
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The hurricane washed this eleven car special train off the track soon after reaching the stricken area. The train was trying to rescue 683 World War I veterans in a rehabilitation camp. More than 200 veterans died as a result of the hurricane.
The veterans, a remnant of the Bonus Army that marched on Washington, were employed for highway construction in the federal work relief project.
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Built in 1894 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, it was scrapped on May 1, 1934.
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The railroad was part of the Florida East Coast Railway line.
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Trains helped to establish new towns and cities in Florida. Trains connected distant areas of the state and were integral parts of Florida’s expanding industries such as lumber, phosphate, tourist, manufacturing and agriculture.
The diesel-electric locomotive had almost replaced steam engines entirely by the 1940s. Other forms of transportation—first automobiles, then aircraft—became popular alternatives to train travel. The era of frequent rail travel in Florida had already ended by the 1960s.
Beginning in the 1980s, Florida citizens, politicians, and business communities debated the development of high-speed railways to make travel between Florida's major cities easier and less expensive. Meanwhile, some Florida cities began planning light-rail systems to combat traffic congestion in downtown areas.
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The monorail system opened in 1971 with two routes and with Mark IV monorail trains, expanded to three lines in 1982, and switched to Mark VI trains in 1989.
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Accompanying note: "Robert Blanchette, President of TGV of Florida, Inc., gives the thumbs up sign at the end of his presentation Monday as he presented his bullet train proposal to the Florida High Speed Rail Transportation Commission. TGV was one of four who presented proposals. The chart at left shows TGV's route proposals."
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Accompanying note: "Florida Gov. Bob Martinez, left, along with Fla High Speed Rail Transportation Comission Chairman Malcolm Kirschenbaum, center right, accept a $500,000.00 check from Maglev's high speed train model. The one-half million investment by Maglev covers the commission's cost to review their application to begin the process toward Florida's irst high speed rail system, proposed first for the Orlando area."