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Front Page » Communities » Tri-Rail is on track to serve downtown Miami

Tri-Rail is on track to serve downtown Miami

Written by on February 19, 2019
Tri-Rail is on track to serve downtown Miami

Tri-Rail trains are on schedule to arrive in downtown Miami by the end of 2019, said Bonnie Arnold, spokesperson for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the commuter system’s parent. “The end of the year is doable,” she said.

Work is being done on the two sets of tracks Tri-Rail will use in MiamiCentral, the station built by All Aboard Florida for its Brightline service, which runs express trains from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Brightline has three sets of tracks.

“We’ve solved the level-boarding issue,” Ms. Arnold said. “As soon as they let us know that 90% of their work is done on the tracks, we can get in there and finish the rest. And, of course, we have to install PTC.”

Tri-Rail trains already have PTC, or Positive Train Control, but its system has to be able to sync with Brightline’s. PTC is a federally mandated engineering and communications system that is designed to avoid collisions, derailments and other catastrophes.

Rail partners have invested $70 million to establish the TriRail Downtown Miami Link, funding 26 trains and 9 miles of new rail infrastructure. The 450-person capacity of each train will provide a one-seat ride to and from downtown Miami.

Computer-simulated models predict an outpouring of interest from new riders and regulars alike for the 26 daily Tri-Rail trips. About 2,000 riders from Fort-Lauderdale and West Palm Beach would be flocking to downtown Miami on day one alone, of whom 1,000 riders are expected to be first-time passengers, those models predict.

The majority of travelers from the first day onward are likely to be part of the workforce, said Jack Stephens, former executive director of the regional authority, last summer. “Major companies that are looking for qualified labor candidates and employers have a much larger area to draw from as a result of our service.”

Time off the road is possibly time wisely invested elsewhere for many passengers, he added. “We emphasize the personal freedom to do whatever you want to do as opposed to sitting there, paying attention when driving in traffic,” Mr. Stephens said then.

5 Responses to Tri-Rail is on track to serve downtown Miami

  1. Mark-Anthony Barnes

    February 21, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    My hope for this new service from Tri-Rail is that they consider running express trains in the morning and afternoons to downtown. Having stops limited to, say, just Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Golden glades, Metrorail/ Tri-Rail stop, and one, maybe, Wynwood stop could make the voyage quick enough that it is able to attract far more ridership than the 2,000 now predicted.
    To my knowledge, nothing prevents Tri-Rail from running express services on their existing routes, only on those that are serviced by Brightline.
    Using some creative thinking, Tri-Rail could easily run such a service while using its regular route to help feed passengers into the express service hubs. If doing this were able to cut trips between Fort Lauderdale and Miami down to 45 minutes each way I’d be first in line to buy an annual pass.
    You could also eliminate the less efficient, and money-losing 95 express buses in such a case. I hope our leaders consider this possibility, as it would definitely improve the quality of life for those who commute to Miami each day.
    With 250,000 of us commuting from Broward each day alone the potential ridership is enormous. The bar to success is quite low. The train would only need to be as quick (preferably faster) than it takes most of us to drive each day, but also be more affordable than driving, before factoring in the tolls.

  2. Richard Lopez

    March 4, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Count me in as one of the many older retired people who would visit Miami if I could board a train in Hollywood and go directly to MiamiCentral.
    At my age and health situation, it is not possible to drive on I-95 or currently change from the comfort of a Tri-Rail to Metrorail with less comfortable seats and no bathrooms.
    What I’m saying goes for others like me all along the Tri-Rail service area.

  3. Cris

    March 8, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I used Trirail for my commute to Miami five years ago, Train + metro rail brought me just in front of my work so it was a convenient option.
    Public transportation is absolutely necessary to develop since traffic increased significantly in the last 10 years but it seems so be a little more complicated here:
    First the train is ok but more trains will block traffic around the surrounding streets. Already when one train is passing by traffic in Hollywood is messed up especially at rush hours.
    2.More parking space is necessary in some stations: Hollywood was full at 7:30 already, not sure about other stations but as i could observe in other cities this parkings are huge to allow more people to use the system. Trains also don’t block traffic around.
    3. Like Mark said in the previous comment express buses are not very efficient especially during rush hours.
    4. Regarding schedule Trirail was ok in the mornings but in the afternoon was unreliable many times. There were delays (not because of traffic or accidents) mostly because their system didn’t seem to coordinate well. When i was asking the employees at the station or calling trirail nobody knew what is happening they told us to wait.
    5. From what i see here a metro rail line first starting at Golden Glades (where traffic gets worse) and connecting to Miami metro rail would be more helpful and little by little more metro trains expanding in the area, north and south.
    There are already connections with downtown metro train and mover.
    The one that connects Miami with the airport is good but every time i used it to go to the airport 3 PM-to 5 PM was mostly empty.Maybe helps employees to commute to the airport and connects airport with trairail and other cities and that is a good start.The metro train works well and is very reliable compared with other transportation options.

    • Mark-Anthony Barnes

      March 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Oh Cris, stop making sense! Sigh, what metro mover could have been had it not been for petty tribal politics realigning the original paths for it. We could have saved ourselves half a billion dollars had the original connected to the airport instead of the middle of Hialeah as was part of the original plan. To add insult to injury, the original line was also to run up NW27th and terminating at, or near, the golden glades. Just imagine what 95 would be like today had the nearly 200000 Daily commuters from Broward had that as an option. I wonder if we’d have ever entertained adding toll roads in the middle of an interstate that only serves to bleed Broward drivers pockets on the not so express most of the time 95 express lanes.

      When it comes to transportation my friend, Miami is the last place to raise hope. Thankfully Tri-Rail is state operated and like I said before, my hope is that they run express trains in the AM and PM with limited stops. The agreement with Brightline only precludes them from competing on the east coast railway (the line Brightline currently uses).

      Having express trains run Leigh limited stops makes sense for tri-tail and would attract users who aren’t currently served by Brightline but are desperate for an I-95 Alternative. Done right, it should be possible to run an express train from fort Lauderdale station to Miami in 45 mins or less.

      Ooops, now I’m the one making sense.

  4. CB

    April 3, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    The drive from Marina Mile 954 to Brickell was getting worse everyday and sometimes 2-3 hours daily in my car driving to work (Brickell) and driving home. Traffic was so bad I moved to Chicago and that system is amazing as I assume everyone knows Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is government funded vs private. Believe me I am fan of Trump and capitalism but some things need to be government focused and we can work on something to increase funding and growth. Also not having a car in Chicago is a blessing and without Uber/Lyft/Via this would be extremely difficult. Brightline/Virgin with all due respect is a joke and to use that daily would be more than car debt obligations, gas and insurance combined. Brightline/Virgin focuses on “tourists” every time I am in 954-305 those trains are empty and must be funded daily by a billionaire since cash flow must be negative. They should come ride CTA/Metra in Chicago and do some research as we pay $108 for unlimited monthly CTA and we do not need drinks and hostesses getting to work. Hopefully Tri-Rail and Brightline/Virgin work together and grow a smooth transition/relationship to accommodate the massive expansion of South FL.