Jacksonville’s WJCT PBS-NPR station has announced that it will be the presenting station to PBS for the new program, "Selling Sunshine: The Florida Trains." This one-hour program, made for Trains Magazine, traces the history of Florida rail service from the late 19th century forward to the 21st century.
Program chapters will explore why railroads expanded to Florida and tell the story about two major Florida developers, Henry Flagler and Henry Plant. Another chapter goes on to describe the brightly-colored diesel streamliners that plied the rails in the late 1930s. Railroads, steamship lines, and resort hotels also play an important part in telling this story. The recently expanded rail services in Florida bring the story up to date with interviews of passengers and railroad employees who rode and operated the trains.
Florida-bound trains radiated from many parts of America. Passengers to the Sunshine State were eager to enjoy sandy beaches, tropical breezes and swaying palm trees. Actor Michael Gross (Family Ties) and rail historian Peter A. Hansen bring this exciting story to the screen.
Florida passenger service was rated top-notch right up to the advent of Amtrak in 1971.