The Royal Palm Railway Experience

We visited the newest incarnation of the Mt. Dora Florida Railway.  The new operator on these tracks is the Orlando & Northwestern Railway offering The Royal Palm Railway Experience on the Golden Triangle Route from Mt. Dora to Tavares to Eustis, Florida.  These three small cities are each about 8 miles apart and run on tracks first built by various railroads in the 1880s.  These railroads all became part of the Seaboard Coast Line RR in the 1960s.  When Seaboard became part of the huge CSX Railroad these small short lines were divested and became part of the Florida Central Railroad.  Many operators have run tourist trains in the area.  Among these were a doodlebug and a steam train before the current trains powered by diesel locomotives pulling wonderfully restored passenger cars.  The ride is smooth, quiet and air conditioned and slow.  On weekends there are lots of different offerings in addition to coach rides.  There are dinner trains, murder mystery trains, wine trains, rails and ales, etc.  Something for everyone and the week we went many were sold out.  We are always happy to see tourist trains and rail history supported by the public.

Tavares Depot

Mt. Dora’s Lakeside Inn

Lake Dora’s damaged pier

Lake Dora beach

Tavares’ Lake Harris


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