Seminole Gulf Railway

General Information

Seminole Gulf Railway

For two decades, Seminole Gulf Railway has delighted people of all ages with
comical murder mysteries, dinner train specials, educational daytime excursions,
festive holiday events, and of course, delicious food & outstanding service. We have also brought
personalized logistics services to fulfill the freight transportation needs of Southwest Florida.

2805 Colonial Blvd
Fort Myers, FL 33966

239-275-8487

www.semgulf.com

Dining and Entertainment

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Additional Information Seminole Gulf Railway owns and operates over 100 miles of track in Florida from a connection with the national rail system at Arcadia between North Naples and between Oneco (Bradenton) and Sarasota. Seminole Gulf is the only freight railroad in Southwest Florida, hauling much of the region's building materials, newsprint, LP gas, plastics, sugar, stone, recycled materials, steel, and other commodities.

After purchasing the lines from CSX Transportation, Seminole Gulf Railway began freight operations in November 1987. In January 1991, the railroad opened the Dinner Train and Daytime Excursion Trains, from Railhead Park in North Naples, Florida. Passenger service operations were soon moved to the new Colonial Station in Fort Myers.

In the fall of 1991, the Dinner Train began its first Murder Mystery Production, "Murder on the Seminole Express" which became an instant success. Other special trips followed, the most popular of which was the Christmas Rail/Boat Trips to Punta Gorda, which have become an annual event. Over the past seventeen years, The Dinner Train Theater, known to many as the Murder Mystery Train has hosted over 450,000 patrons and has premiered over 45 new murder mystery productions.

Operating year-round, The Dinner Train Theater seats up to 200 passengers in 4 reconditioned 1930's - 1940's vintage railcars, "Sanibel", "Marco", "Gasparilla" and "Captiva". All food is prepared on board the train in the "Marco" kitchen.

A Brief History of Southwest Florida Railroads

The Florida Southern Railroad began construction of the line from Arcadia to Punta Gorda in 1885. By March, 1886, the roadbed was finished, and the first train operated into Punta Gorda on July 24, 1886. This line was originally built as a three foot narrow gauge. The tracks were widened to standard gauge (four feet, eight and a half inches) on December 17, 1892.

The extension from Punta Gorda to Fort Myers was built by the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad. Construction began shortly after the ACL purchased the Plant System and Florida Southern Railroads in 1903. The first locomotive crossed the Caloosahatchee River on February 2, 1904. Nine days later the tracks reached Fort Myers city limits, and scheduled passenger service began May 10, 1904.

In order to construct a railroad to Naples, the Fort Myers Southern Railway was formed in 1922 as a joint venture of the ACL, Barron Collier, and other Fort Myers businessmen. The company reached Bonita Springs on October 8, 1924 and western Naples on January 7, 1927. Atlantic Coast Line's main competitor, the Seaboard Air Line Railway which had its own track through Fort Myers, also constructed a line to Naples. Their tracks reached Naples on December 7, 1926, beating the ACL to the finish. Determined to have the last word, the Atlantic Coast Line completed a line to Marco Island on June 27, 1927.

In 1967 the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line merged into one company, the Seaboard Coast Line (SCL). This effort proved beneficial to the region, especially with the elimination of duplicate tracks and stations. But as it happened, the Age of Railroad Passenger Service was over. Beaten out by improved airline service and new highways, the SCL decided to end passenger service in Southwest Florida in May of 1971.

In November of 1980, the Seaboard Coast Line merged with the Chessie System to form CSX, to become the second largest railroad in the U.S. (at that time) and among the top five largest transportation companies in the world.

Seminole Gulf Railway (SGLR) became Southwest Florida's regional railroad when it took over ownership and operations of 118 miles of CSX trackage in November 1987, bringing with it, a new high level of customer service and dedication.
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