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Did You Know-town: The Orlando Urban Trail was built on an old railway?

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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).

 

2009-001-0687_2 2009-001-0687_1 Railroad Depots, Winter Park #4

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12 COMMENTS

  1. My uncle sent me this, “Your great grandmother’s sister, Annie Lee Carter, while she was attending Rollins College took the line to school the first of the week and then came home to Lake Charm on the weekend. Or she sent her laundry home on the train to have it done and then back to Rollins. When I was small it wasn’t used as a passenger tian any more. It just took the produce out of Oviedo and Slavia to Orlando and the main line.”

  2. Unfortunately, she passed 6 years ago. She did record a lot of Oviedo’s History with many different people. Some of them have passed too. I’ll check with my fam and see if anyone remembers. I think she took it out the “May picnics” or maybe from Lake Charm to Oviedo. I could be mixing up the stories.

  3. I remember reading this puppy would often derail every now and then (it was not that heavy) so everyone would have to get off the train and help put it back on the tracks or be late and walk into town. Lets just say people back then lived in very interesting times.

  4. The line from Balwin Park to Oviedo was in tact into the early 00s as was the part from downtown to Loch Haven. It would have taken just sommeone with vision in the late 70s early 80s to have gone with it.

  5. the pedestrian trail is great, but I agree – a train from Oviedo through Winter Park to Downtown on the same line would be incredible.

  6. I was researching the old footprint of that line and it really could have been the rail link that would have solved the traffic problems between Oviedo/UCF and downtown Orlando.

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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).

 

2009-001-0687_2 2009-001-0687_1 Railroad Depots, Winter Park #4