Tri-Rail, Metro-Rail and the "Busway" in Miami

Discussion about Florida commuter rail operations including Miami/Dade Metrorail, Sunrail (Orlando), and Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority in southern Florida. All Aboard Florida (Brightline) is discussed here: Florida East Coast Railway).

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Tri-Rail, Metro-Rail and the "Busway" in Miami

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:45 am

Wednesday, March 31st I took a ride to Miami for the purpose of riding the "BUSWAY" from Kendall to Florida City which
uses the ROW of the former Florida East Coast Key West Extension. Train was OK but no better, DMU equipment SB and we
were about 15 minutes late due to a disruptive passenger at Fort Lauderdale. Metro-Rail was the best part of this operation,
smooth and fast both ways. The bus ride should have been great but it was rough, the bus rode like a lumber wagon, the
driver had a habit of stopping at the lights at intersecting streets and while the light was still red, he would keep pulling up
a foot or two and make a hard stop every time. It made me feel a little rocky after a trip in excess of an hour with this start
and stop at every light enroute. It is an interesting ride over an old railroad ROW for the most part. The return bus, I made
sure that I did not ride back on the same bus, was better with a female operator who seemed to take much more pride in the
job than the operator going south. In addition both buses had some diesel fumes inside the body of the bus which added to
the discomfort.
The ride back up to Fort Lauderdale was OK until after we left the Fort Lauderdale Airport station when we were switched to
the freight track over the drawbridge for some reason. The reason was to shove us out of the way of a southbound while
"Lord Almighty" CSX moved their local freight in the rush hour southbound to the Fort Lauderdale area. The delay was 15
minutes and totally unnecessary. I can't see the importance of running local freights in the rush hour. This is all the more
reason why CSX should not be dispatching this state owned line any longer.
One item that I forgot earlier, there was construction evident on Metro-Rail around Earlington Heights Station and again at
the Miami Airport station of Tri-Rail. I think this is the extension of Metro-Rail between Earlington Heights and the airport.
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Re: Tri-Rail, Metro-Rail and the "Busway" in Miami

Postby strench707 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:46 pm

Why they made that RoW a busway is beyond me. That would have been awesome if it was another commuter rail line because it wouldn't have been as rough and uncomfortable as a bus and it wouldn't have had to stop at lights.

Davis
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Re: Tri-Rail, Metro-Rail and the "Busway" in Miami

Postby JasW » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:37 am

strench707 wrote:Why they made that RoW a busway is beyond me. That would have been awesome if it was another commuter rail line because it wouldn't have been as rough and uncomfortable as a bus and it wouldn't have had to stop at lights.

Davis


Metrorail was originally planned to extend south to Homestead on the FEC ROW back in the 80s but cost considerations dictated that it terminate at Dadeland. Then when a penny sales tax was put on the ballot (and voted down) in 1999 to fund an ambitious Metrorail expansion, using the ROW to extend Metrorail to Florida City was part of the plan:

Image

When voters approved a half-penny sales tax increase in 2002 to fund a Metrorail expansion, using the ROW to extend Metrorail south was again part of the plan. Financial mismanagement, as you perhaps know, resulted in only the piddling little Earlington Heights-MIC extension being built. Even the "Orange Line" out the Dolphin to FIU and up NW 27th to the Broward border -- which was still viable as recently as 2008, as the map below indicates -- got shelved indefinitely by the county after it decided it didn't have the money to get federal matching funds.

Image

We will, however, have a nice new and hugely expensive port tunnel from the MacArthur Causeway to the Port, and of course the new Marlins stadium. (That last one I've actually always been in favor of, but I just wish they had utilized one of the proposed sites downtown instead of the Orange Bowl site so it would have been accessible by Metrorail/Metromover.)

At least the busway ROW will continue to exist and can always be used in the future for an extension of Metrorail south.
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