I'm not sure this is worth a new thread, so I might as well post it here given that this proposed line up US 27 would directly connect to the port. The FEC owns a ton of land, generally known as "Flagler Station" in the area of the Turnpike just south of US 27, and it has trackage there coming directly from the FEC yard -- and of course from the port -- that would presumably be used to connect to this proposed line.
Railroad coming to U.S. 27? A new vision emerges
A new vision emerges for the rural highway in South Florida
By Angel Streeter, Sun Sentinel
11:33 p.m. EDT, May 18, 2013
A scenic highway on the edge of the Everglades, U.S. 27 seems far away from the hustle and bustle of interstate commerce.
It has no strip malls, few stoplights and gas stations. Vast open land — sugar cane fields, farms, sawgrass — surrounds its four lanes in Broward and Palm Beach counties, a highway where "progress" has seemed to drive on by.
But an emerging vision for U.S. 27 could make it a key player in South Florida commerce. The Florida Department of Transportation is studying whether to transform the road into a major rail corridor, where freight trains full of cargo from Asia and South America travel on a proposed new rail line along the highway from Port Miami to inland distribution centers in western Palm Beach County.
U.S. 27 could function as a 'rail bypass,' diverting freight trains from the Florida East Coast and CSX railroads to relieve traffic at railroad crossings and to make room for more passenger trains.
"We have a lot of different things going on with the potential shift in the trade flow in South Florida that we want to be prepared for," said Lisa Dykstra, a concept-development coordinator with FDOT.
The idea to transform U.S. 27 comes as several efforts are converging, prompting a growing demand to move freight and passengers by rail.
For one, improvements at Port Miami, including dredging a deeper channel to accommodate larger ships, are expected to significantly increase the amount of goods coming into the port.
That increased freight and cargo could head to three distribution centers around Lake Okeechobee, where some 50 million square feet of warehouse space is planned.
Already a heavily used truck route, U.S. 27 would see an explosion of truck traffic — an increase of 21 to 27 percent between Interstate 75 in Broward and State Road 80 in Palm Beach, FDOT says.
With or without a new rail line, FDOT projects that U.S. 27 would have to be widened to six lanes between Griffin Road in Broward and Old U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County to accommodate the distribution centers.
Rail service could diminish the need for all those trucks, connecting the port and shipping hubs.
At the same time, passenger trains are returning to the FEC. A passenger service between Miami and Orlando, called All Aboard Florida, is scheduled to launch in 2015. Plus, a commuter service for South Florida, to be called Tri-Rail Coastal Link, is being planned for the FEC line.
To accommodate these passenger trains, freight trains could be diverted to the proposed U.S. 27 railroad. In Palm Beach County alone, there are some 100 railroad crossings along the FEC, which runs through congested urban centers.
Freight trains with 150 cars would close those crossings for 10 to 15 minutes while a commuter train would close railroad gates for only three to five minutes.
A recent FDOT study of the proposed U.S. 27 railroad estimated that 15 to 22 trains a day would travel on the new rail corridor, which represents about 50 to 75 percent of the existing rail service on the coastal rail corridors.
The proposed rail line would run parallel to the highway on the west side from the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike in Miami-Dade County to the Okeelanta Sugar Mill in Palm Beach. North of the mill, it would connect to the South Central Florida Express railroad.
Read the rest at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-us-27-rail-expansion-study-20130516,0,4649697.story