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Front Page » Transportation » Tri-Rail won’t roll into downtown Miami this year

Tri-Rail won’t roll into downtown Miami this year

Written by on April 17, 2018
Tri-Rail won’t roll into downtown Miami this year

As Miami Central Station continues to rise downtown, Jack Stephens, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, points to Tri-Rail making its grand debut at the station sometime next year.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which currently operates the Tri-Rail commuter rail line, provides service to Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach through an existing 72-mile-long system that has 18 stations along the South Florida Rail Corridor running north and south.

The trains also connect directly to Amtrak at numerous stations, and to Metrorail at the Tri-Rail Metrorail Transfer Station and at the Miami Airport Station.

As a result, this new “Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link” will utilize a 9-mile segment of existing railroad that runs through the city of Hialeah, Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami, while using sections of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and the Florida East Coast Railway corridor.

The goal, once the new downtown Miami link is established, will be to run 26 passenger trains into Miami Central Station, which is set to be the home of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline.

From the downtown Miami hub, both Tri-Rail and Brightline trains are to offer service throughout Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach. Brightline is to eventually reach Orlando.

However, until then, “there are a series of qualifications and tests that have to be met and approved by the Florida Railroad Administration (FRA) before any Tri-Rail trains roll into downtown Miami,” said Aaron Parets, Positive Train Control project manager at the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. “Right now, we are waiting on Florida East Coast Industries [the parent company of Brightline] to meet the necessary requirements set out by the FRA,” he said, “and we are also waiting on them to submit their application and a PTC [Positive Train Control] safety plan to the FRA.”

Typically, he said, “it can take up to a year or by statute up to 180 days for the FRA to respond, analyze and add comments to an application and PTC safety plan.”

The purpose of the PTC safety plan is to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive train speed, train movements through misaligned track switches and unauthorized train entry into work zones.

As for test runs of the trains into downtown Miami, Mr. Stephens said, “We don’t expect to run test trains until the end of the year.”

“Right now there is an incredibly complex system being put into place regarding safety,” he said. “I don’t think anyone anticipated the complexity of this process, but we are hoping that the process will speed up if everyone involved cooperates.”

Until then, Mr. Stephens said, “we expect to move into Miami Central Station sometime next year.”

However, he said, that timeline could change.

7 Responses to Tri-Rail won’t roll into downtown Miami this year

  1. Barry O'Brien

    April 23, 2018 at 8:41 am

    When they say 26 trains, I assume they mean 13 inbound and 13 outbound

  2. Bommi

    April 24, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Transit never succeeded in South Florida because of poor service provided by Tri-Rail. They have dedicated rails but still are not able to increase average speed to reach MIA airport from West Palm Beach in about an hour’s time or so. No limited stop service during peak hours. Bad customer service. Now the Miami Downtown link is taking forever. #poorleadership

  3. JOE da trainman

    April 25, 2018 at 11:50 am

    There are so many factors that create and maintain the slow slog status quo of Tri-Rail. One huge factor is trains that basically are built to withstand worse conditions than a battle tank. The Federal Railroad Administration up to recently has required all passenger train cars to be built so strong that they are herrendously HEAVY and take forever and huge amounts of energy to accelerate from 18 stations.
    Recent revisions finally have somewhat changed these draconian and way outdated build standards.
    Also the Tri-Rail route is just 2 tracks so it is very difficult to run express trains. A third center track would facilitate express limited stop trains however this would entail rebuilding one side station facility at each station stop due to tracks taking w wider path. Unfortunately USA railroad mind set is still stuck just about 1919 so change and modernization is very difficult. The FRA is no help.

  4. Daniel Walton

    April 25, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Well Tri-Rail should be serving Miami again.

  5. ray

    April 27, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Good. one less year of what will be more traffic nightmares at major intersections like NE 36th St. and SE 2nd Ave. those are bad now without the 26 trains a day. but, how much of the impetus for the second track was really for cargo containers with passengers as just an excuse and way of getting taxpayers to fund it?

  6. Daniel Walton

    April 29, 2018 at 10:10 am

    No Tri-Rail commuter rail service to Miami that just makes me angry

  7. Richard Lopez

    May 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I’m sorry that service into MiamiCentral will be as late as next year. Like many retired people living in Broward, we want to visit often downtown Miami. Driving for older people has become more difficult. The unregulated craziness that occurs on I-95 makes it impossible to enjoy an afternoon in Miami. Hopefully I’ll still be able to enjoy visiting Miami on a regular basis when I can finally go directly to Miami without a complex and difficult (for me) transfer to MetroRail.