The Florida East Coast Car Ferry Company (FECCFC), was an FEC sister
company and the predecessor to the West India Fruit & Steamship
Company, ran a railroad car ferry service from Key West to Havana,
Cuba from 1914 through the demise of the Key West Extension in the
Labor Day, 1935 hurricane. Except for a brief surge of construction
materials transhipped from Key West during the mid-1920's Florida
land boom, Key West Extension freight traffic was principally due to
the railroad car ferry.
The FECCFC had three nearly identical car ferry boats, all built by
the William Cramp shipyards in Philadelphia: the Henry M. Flagler
(built 1914), the Joseph R. Parrott (built 1916), and the Estrada
Palma (built 1920.) Plans for the boats may be obtained from:
From 1921 through 1936 the FECCFC owned a 500 car lot of USRA design
double sheathed ventilated boxcars. These were leased throughout the
entire period to the Florida East Coast Railway Company, FEC car
numbers 17001-17500. This is the Westerfield Car
At the demise of the Extension, the car ferry service was transferred
to Port Everglades, just south of Ft. Lauderdale. The FECCFC ferry
service continued there until interrupted in 1942 by World War II.
During 1942 all three boats became USN mine layers, the Keokuk,
Shawmut and Weehawken respectively.
In 1948, ferry service resumed from the Port of Palm Beach under the
successor West India Fruit & Steamship Company. The Henry M. Flagler
and the Joseph R. Parrott began the service. ( The Estrada Palma was
sunk in the Caribbean during the war.) Additional boats (City of
Havanna, City of New Orleans, Grand Haven, New Grand Haven, Sea
Level) were subsequently added.