Discussion about Florida passenger rail operations including proposals. Official web-sites:
Miami/Dade Metrorail, Sunrail (Orlando), and Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority
For Virgin Rail/Brightline: Virgin Trains Worldwide (includes Brightline)

Moderator: Kurt-Trirail

  by Gilbert B Norman
While some twenty five years ago the opening of Miami Metro Rail coincided with a trip "down below" and they were offering "freebies", I did a system-wide "joyride", but until yesterday, I had not been near it since.

Yesterday marked the first time I had ever used Metro Rail to get from "here to there" and with a travel purpose. I used Metro Rail/Mover to get from hotel (Marriott Biscayne Bay 16th St and Bayshore) to KMIA Airport. Leaving the hotel with all my belongings that fit into an over the shoulder flight bag, I am of course confronted by Doormen with "Airport sir; taxi?" to which I said "I think Metrorail will do it"; a smile and a "MetroMover is right over there (about 100 yards away); take it to Government Center and then get an Orange Line train", a thanks, a "come stay with us again", and off to the Arsht Center station. For reasons escaping me, MetroMover is free, but the one car train, completely automated, was a fun ride with a "railfan view' to Government Center (I noted when stopped at Freedom Tower the FEC tracks leading to the Port; well ballasted but rusty rails. I can only hope the "delay" is attributed to doing work on the bridge and the FEC will be "ready to rumble' when the "post-PANAMAX party" is to begin).

One of the most daunting tasks I find for an out-of-towner in using mass transit is figuring out how to pay for your ride. "Back in my day" it was simply pay the fare to the driver or agent, get your change, and ride. Well of course it is not so simple, especially for an electronic Luddite like myself, to figure it out. But fortunately at Government Center, there was a very courteous "sworn" (he had "heat") security officer who gladly helped me "pay up" at the slot machine - all of $2.00 ("if you lived here, your Senior rate would be a buck" "well, I'm not to worried about that; two bucks to the Airport is about as cheap as it gets anywhere I know of" "Be sure to take the Northbound Orange Line, sir" "thank you". Aboard the train, I met a Brit couple who said their hotel was too close to some "God awful rock concert" (Bayfront Park). "Well, I was listening to Beethoven's Ninth" "Oh gosh, where was that? it would have been nice to know" "it was Arsht Center and looked sold to me; but maybe you would have "gotten lucky''.

Now the surprise; meant nothing to me as my "lading" was over my shoulder, but the Orange Line only goes to the perimeter of the Airport. There you transfer to another "people mover" (free) and get to one station. From there depending on your airline, you hoof.

All told, it took "about an hour", including the two transfers, to get from Arsht Center to picking up a Boarding Pass from a United kiosk. To me, this was the most pleasant "poor man's way" to any US airport I know. If not able bodied or a "pack horse" the way I see all too many traveling about (are they really going to use all that crap?), then there are "issues" as there is no escalator at the Arsht Center MetroMover station (there is a handicapped elevator). But fortunately, as I close in on age 72, I am still able bodied (walk 2 miles, run 1/4 mile most every day) and I've long held to "if you can't carry it, don't bring it".
  by mtuandrew
Thanks for the trip report, Mr. Norman! If the Tri-Rail forum covered all Florida rail, I'd move your post there, but failing that, here's a link to Mr. Weaver's recent experience on the same line: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 74&t=98686
  by David Benton
Nice report , Mr Norman .
I can beat your $ 2 , with $1 on the blue bus line from Santa Monica to LAX . However i would describe the ride as More "interesting , Rather than "pleasant " . There is an express bus for $ 3 ( which i thought was what i was catching ) .
I would agree, by far the trickiest part of most mass transit systems is fiquirng out where and how much to pay . Good to see a security officer help ,who could easily said . sorry , thats not in my job description .
  by Gilbert B Norman
On a fly down and back trip to Miami, I used Miami Metro Rail and Mover in both directions between the Airport and Arsht Center; the trip was a rerun of my earlier reported 2013 journey, except I used it traveling in both directions.

Although expected "any day", Tri Rail does not yet serve Miami Central Station, which is how from any signage I noted, the Miami Intermodal (MIC) Center will be named. Well, that it until someone decides that some politician is "worthy" to have it named for him/her. Tri Rail does not appear on any signage, and the area that would appear to lead to the platforms is barricaded with signs stating "not in service".

I highly doubt if Amtrak will ever serve the facility.

So all told, I have actually used Metro Rail/Mover to get from here to there, as distinct from joyrides, and will do so again when I next have occasion to visit Miami without an auto. When it first opened during 1988, I took a "freebie joyride" of the then-system and wondered would ever be more than a squander of taxpayer $$$$. Today, I hold differently.