Tri-Rail, BrightLine experience

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, BrightLine experience

Postby mark777 » Mon May 28, 2018 1:57 am

I'm down visiting family here in south Florida for two weeks and decided to take both Tri-Rail and the new Brightline service. I used Tri-Rail on a round trip from MIA to Ft. Lauderdale last week. I actually rode on Tri-Rail when it first started back in 1989 and was amazed to see that it has been very successful considering that at one time it was deemed as a temporary service while the I-95 underwent construction. The new Locomotives and bi-level cars are nice, but the old rolling stock that's around in the form of the Bombardier bi-levels look very tired. I was also surprised that the rail cars, old and new, were very dirty on the outside considering that it has been raining a lot these past two weeks, you would think that some of the dirt and grime would come off. I also noticed that the old F40PHL-2s were stored at the facility in Hialeah looking like if they will not be coming back on line. Overall though, I'm very pleased to see how many people are using it, and how much Tri-Rail has expanded from the early days.

Brightline was totally something else. For starters, it is not at all a commuter line. This was more like riding on Amtrak's Acela service and felt more like you were preparing to board an airplane rather than a train. The stations and the train itself was squeaky clean and sharp looking. Unfortunately, ridership was very light and it makes me wonder how much longer can they sustain themselves like this. I think that once the Orlando leg is made, there will be in increase in ridership, but it's southern terminus of Downtown Miami still falls quite short of Miami Dade county's more populous areas which are located further west. The same concept also affects Tri-Rail with the fact that it too terminates a bit north of some of Miami's most populated areas. As I have said for many years, there is a very huge potential on the CSX tracks that operate south and west of Miami Airport that could increase ridership considerably, especially the tracks by the Dolphin Mall. Brightline could also theoretically use FEC tracks through Hialeah yard down to the MIA airport area and attract more riders willing to use the train to Orlando rather than driving all the way to downtown. Very impressed with some of the progress made rail wise down here, but there is still a lot of potential there, even with Metro-Rail that is desperately needed in a city that continues to be a nightmare to drive through.
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Re: Tri-Rail, BrightLine experience

Postby chrsjrcj » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:02 pm

The F40's will get new life next year. They will be rehabilitated for the planned extension to the Brightline station in downtown Miami.
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Re: Tri-Rail, BrightLine experience

Postby mark777 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:46 am

Nice to hear that the F40s are coming back. I still have picks of me in my younger days on 808 and 802 from back in the late 80s and early 90s. Back at a time when F40s ruled the roost. The new BL-36PHs are sharp looking and surprisingly quiet, and have a pretty good acceleration. still very nice to see the ridership it has compared to when it first started.
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