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 Noel Weaver
For want of a better heading, I will just call this "Update, May 2, 2006".
I took a ride out of Fort Lauderdale both south to Metro-Rail transfer and
then through to West Palm Beach before return to Fort Lauderdale.
The only major remaining stretch of single track is the New River Bridge
at Fort Lauderdale, the new bridge is slated to open, I believe, sometime
next year and I don't think it will be finished anytime sooner than 2007.
Trains are often running around 10 minutes late due to CSX dispatching
and what appeared to me to be several slow orders probably due to the
lack of proper maintenance again by CSX. If you use Tri-Rail, you can
expect a decent and fairly relaxing trip but you can also expect to be a
little bit late thanks to CSX.
The trip south to Metro-Rail was 10 minutes late out of Fort Lauderdale and
about 10 minutes late into Metro-Rail. If I had been on time, I would have
had 11 minutes for the turn but we got there late. Saw a northbound just
below the crossing but after rushing to get on the northbound side, the
train was still in its same location and was not moving. It turned out to be
a test train with a DMU and was having trouble so with the single tracking,
the northbound train to West Palm was late.
Item, the new northbound side platform at Metro-Rail transfer is absolutely
an "abortion" for the passenger transfering there, first you walk to the
north end of the southbound platform, then cross over on the overhead
bridge to the northbound platform, the OH bridge is the only access to this
platform, you can't access it from the street directly nor from Metro-Rail
directly either. It makes the transfer a bigger pain than necessary
especially northbound. Our northbound finally showed up and we started
out about 15 minutes late. We plugged along north until a point north of
Cypress Creek Station where we got held for a southbound account CSX
freight activity on the northbound track. Result was another 15 minutes
late. Incidentally, where we stopped, there was a yard switcher located
at an industry on the west side of the tracks, it looked like an Alco S-1 and
I could not tell what its status is, anybody on here know?
We finally arrived at West Palm a little over 30 minutes late.
The return from West Palm was also late starting out about 10 minutes and arriving Fort Lauderdale again 10 to 15 minutes off.
So what was my reaction to this trip? There seems to be a number of
slow orders and this should not be with one brand new track and the other
track having had work performed on it. I do not think the CSX is doing its
job taking care of this important line. In addition, freight trains should and
can be kept out of the way of the passenger trains. The sooner that Tri-
Rail takes over the full operation of this line, the better off we will all be.
Tri-Rail appears to be stretched somewhat thin with their equipment, they
do have new equipment on the way and it can't arrive too soon, no more
additional service at least in my opinion until more equipment is on line and available for service.
One more observation, the patronage seems to be up considerably, I have
never seen the parking lots in Fort Lauderdale with as many automobiles
in them as I did on this trip. It appears that the patronage is quite a bit
higher from Fort Lauderdale to Maimi than it is north of the Fort Lauderdale
All in all, an interesting and enjoyable day, if you are from out of town and
visit this area, I strongly suggest you take a few hours to ride this line.
Noel Weaver

  by Rockingham Racer
Thanks, Noel, for the update. Is there a move to get CSX out of the operation?

  by Noel Weaver
Rockingham Racer wrote:Thanks, Noel, for the update. Is there a move to get CSX out of the operation?
I am not really sure although it has been mentioned in the paper a couple
of times. If there is not, there should be.
Noel Weaver