• Menu
  • Menu
Jacksonville Terminal Passenger Tunnels | Photo © 2019 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Jacksonville Terminal Passenger Tunnels

Location Class:
Built: 1919 | Abandoned: ~1974
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: David Bulit

Jacksonville Terminal/Union Station

As early as 1890, Henry Flagler, owner of the Florida East Coast Railway began purchasing property, mostly marshland just west of Jacksonville. In 1894, Flagler organized the Jacksonville Terminal Company with ownership being split between five railroad companies: Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Florida East Coast Railway, and Seaboard Air Line Railway each with 25% ownership; Southern Railway, and Georgia Southern and Florida Railway each with 12.5% ownership. Its first Union Depot opened on February 4, 1895, and was completed on January 15, 1897. It later became known as Flagler Depot and Union Station.

Built on the site of the original one, a new Union Station opened in 1919. At the time, it was the largest railroad station in the South. At its peak, the terminal handled as many as 142 trains and 20,000 passengers a day. Some of the passenger trains handled in Jacksonville were 18 to 22 railcars long. The Jacksonville terminal had 32 tracks with 29 of those tracks being used as passenger tracks with platforms.

Several businesses operated with the terminal concourse, serving the thousands of daily visitors who passed through its doors. These businesses included confectionary stands, newsstands, a barbershop, a florist, a drug store, and a restaurant named the Terminal Café.

Webp.net resizeimage 2
Postcard depicting Jacksonville Terminal. Circa 1920s
Jacksonville Terminal railroad depot. August 16, 1926. State Library and Archives of Florida

Terminal Tunnels

The brick-walled pedestrian terminal tunnels served tracks sixteen through twenty-six and stretched three hundred feet from the south end of the concourse and stopped just short of McCoy’s Creek. Tonce meandering McCoy’s Creek was channelized and relocated south of the Jacksonville Terminal to facilitate the construction of the tunnels.

A small booth stood at the entrance for information and assistance, and in the final years, the booth was used by conductors to collect tickets for what was usually a single Amtrak train. Passengers would then be directed down into the terminal tunnels and told which ramp would take them up to the surface alongside the train. The entire ceiling was lit with fluorescent lights that ran the length of the tunnels.

Decorative metal signs with oval tops hung above the entrance to the subway, as well as on the giant wrought-iron gates to the stub track platforms. On these were painted the name of the train and the railroad name in a color scheme that matched the railroad.

MSC4934 1
Scene at the Union Terminal railroad depot concourse in Jacksonville. 1921. State Library and Archives of Florida

Closure and Renovation

The station was last used on January 3, 1974; Amtrak moved to a new Jacksonville station several miles north. The station was abandoned until 1982, when a public-private partnership was started, led by former CSX chairman Prime F. Osborn III. The building reopened on October 17, 1986, as the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center. For the most part, the terminal tunnels remain intact but are currently filled with 3-4 feet of water, roaches, rats, and various other critters. The entrances of the terminal tunnels have also been filled in with debris making entry incredibly difficult.

You can read about the Jacksonville Terminal Passenger Tunnels and many other abandoned places in my books, Abandoned Jacksonville: Remnants of the River City and Abandoned Jacksonville: Ruins of the First Coast.

Photo Gallery


David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

View Locations

Copyright © 2009- - Abandoned Atlas Foundation - board@AbandonedAtlas.com | Designed By Prairie Nation Creative, LLC - Disclaimer