The Dinkey Line (spelled with an “e”) was Orlando’s first light-rail transit. It ran from Downtown Orlando to Winter Park, and eventually to the “picnic fields” in Oviedo.
It was a narrowly gauged railway that opened in 1889. It was championed by Orlando’s elite citizens and ran from Orlando’s Central Arcade to Ollie Avenue in Winter Park, in a time when Central Florida roads were few and far between. As seen in the map below, the six-mile route twisted along Lake Ivanhoe and Lake Highland, jumped between Lakes Formosa, Estelle, and Rowena, and along the shores of Lake Sue, then right through the marshes that stood in the current place of Mead Botanical Gardens, then along the western shores of Lake Virginia and out into the current location of the Dinky Dock Park.
Two wood burning locomotives carried the cars from station to station; the larger named Coffee Pot and the smaller named Tea Pot.
Trains often jumped the tracks, as they were built on sandy soil, forcing commuters to stand by the tracks and wait for the train to be righted before continuing on their way for at least a couple of miles before repeating the process again when the train would inevitably derail.
The train service lasted until 1967.
All images are courtesy of our friends at the Orange County Regional History Center (Website).