The railroad did its best to market the Vacationer. One particular piece from the era noted the following: "Between the east and Florida, coach passengers prefer all-coach service. Vacationer, America's greatest Super de Luxe coach train. Preferred by many because of its comfortable super de luxe coaches and earlier schedule. Vacationer coaches and services are similar to those of 'The Champion.' The Vacationer's radio-equipment, tavern-lounge car, one of the most beautiful in America, adds to the pleasure of a trip on this delightful all-coach train. Service to all Florida East Coast points is operated in connection with Florida East Coast Railway - the only railway serving all East Coast resorts. Atlantic Coast Line, 'the only double track route between the east and Florida.'"
When World War II broke out in the United States following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 all of ACL's seasonal trains were canceled. Things remained unchanged until the war had ended, at which time the Vacationer, Florida Special, and Miamian returned to the timetable on December 12, 1946. The Vacationer was listed as trains #73 (southbound) and #74 (northbound) on the timetable. As with all of ACL's Northeast-Florida services, assistance from other roads was required: heading south from Boston trains were handled by the New Haven to New York with the consist then transferred to the Pennsylvania; the PRR would handle them to Washington, D.C. where they were turned over to the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; the RF&P ran the short jaunt to Richmond at which point the ACL picked up the consists to run the several hundred miles from that point to Jacksonville until being turned over to the Florida East Coast if headed towards Miami.
At New York, train #73 departed Pennsylvania Station during the early afternoon after 1:00 PM and arrived in Miami the next day at nearly 3:00 PM. Its northbound counterpart, #74, left South Florida at 2:30 PM and returned to New York the following afternoon at 4:00 PM. The ACL boasted its schedule at 26 1/2 hours for many years, which was later reduced to around 25 hours. The Vacationer received a substantial upgrade in service for the 1947-1948 season when it became a coach-Pullman service similar to that of the Miamian. After the war the railroad had embarked on a major upgrading of its fleet with lightweight, streamlined cars and new diesels from Electro-Motive (through the mid-1960s ACL stuck with EMD for virtually all of its primary road power). While much of this equipment was assigned to other trains the Vacationer did receive some new coaches as well.
Another major change came to the train for the 1951-1952 season when it was further upgraded to "All Pullman" status, albeit reverting to a consist of entirely heavyweight cars, remaining this way during its final years of service. As the 1950s progressed Mr. Goolsby's notes in his book the ACL was having difficulty with connecting roads to handle its trains. For instance, in 1955 the Miamian lost its year-round service because the FEC felt it did not have the capacity for the summer months. At around the same time the New Haven issued a similar directive stating it would no longer handle the Vacationer to Boston. While the ACL could have continued offering the train to New York via its friendly Pennsy connection the company elected to cancel the train instead.
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Atlantic Coast Line