FEC Miami Port Line - Downtown Spur

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goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by goodnightjohnwayne »

Noel Weaver wrote:It's been a while since anything was posted concerning this but apparently there are plans to rejunative the Port of Miami rail bridge and yards. Much work is planned for the Downtown Lead connecting the area to the FEC main line. I am going to try to provide a link which will tell more.
Amtrak would also like to operate downtown and lets all hope that this will indeed happen in the future. Thankfully the FEC has had foresight for years to keep this line in place.

http://sfeccstudy.com/

Noel Weaver

PS There is more to it than just the above study but I will have to figure out a way to put some of it on here without a problem.
Noel Weaver
I'm inclined to say that Tri-Rail has a terrible route, but that's why CSX was willing to sell it off. In contrast, the FEC has the ideal right-of-way. That's why Flagler built it.

Looking at the current frequency of service, it just doesn't make sense to move Amtrak out of Hialeah, since that's where they have servicing facilities. Perhaps if there was Jacksonville to Miami corridor service over the FEC, it might make sense, but not with the current ill considered plans of splitting Silver Service trains at Jacksonville.

goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by goodnightjohnwayne »

riffian wrote:The Port of Miami acts as a distribution point for the Caribbean Basin and Central America. As such, many (most?) containers never even leave the port but are simply transloaded from a vessel in "Liner" service to the small feeder vessels which serve the myriad island ports of the Carribean. Check the number of Seaboard and Crowley Maritime containers handled to realize the importance of this trade.
Correct. Miami is not exactly the equivalent of Long Beach, in terms of the intermodal shipment of containers, but more of a transhipment center where containers are offloaded to smaller container ships bound for Caribbean islands.

Currently, there are billboards promoting a "deep dredging" project for the Port of Miami that supposedly will create "33,000 jobs." I haven't bothered to research the proposal, but it would suggest that larger container ships currently can't access Miami, and if "deep dredging" proceeds, it might revitalize the port.

In past, I have seen studies for improving the current, largely disused rail line to the port, going so far as to suggest a double track, below grade level project similar to the Alameda Freight Corridor in California. Again, I'm not sure about a yard, but if they do a great deal of dredging, all that that fill has to go somewhere?

So, could Miami become the East Coast equivalent of Long Beach? With new Panama Canal locks being built, the proposed deep dredging and improvements to the currently disused railroad line, anything is possible, assuming that the funding is there - and there's enough container traffic to justify the investment.

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
riffian wrote:The Port of Miami acts as a distribution point for the Caribbean Basin and Central America. As such, many (most?) containers never even leave the port but are simply transloaded from a vessel in "Liner" service to the small feeder vessels which serve the myriad island ports of the Carribean. Check the number of Seaboard and Crowley Maritime containers handled to realize the importance of this trade.
Correct. Miami is not exactly the equivalent of Long Beach, in terms of the intermodal shipment of containers, but more of a transhipment center where containers are offloaded to smaller container ships bound for Caribbean islands.

Currently, there are billboards promoting a "deep dredging" project for the Port of Miami that supposedly will create "33,000 jobs." I haven't bothered to research the proposal, but it would suggest that larger container ships currently can't access Miami, and if "deep dredging" proceeds, it might revitalize the port.

In past, I have seen studies for improving the current, largely disused rail line to the port, going so far as to suggest a double track, below grade level project similar to the Alameda Freight Corridor in California. Again, I'm not sure about a yard, but if they do a great deal of dredging, all that that fill has to go somewhere?

So, could Miami become the East Coast equivalent of Long Beach? With new Panama Canal locks being built, the proposed deep dredging and improvements to the currently disused railroad line, anything is possible, assuming that the funding is there - and there's enough container traffic to justify the investment.
Unfortunately, the trucking industry is probably going to be the one that benefits the most from the dredging. Construction has already begun on a tunnel between Watson Island and the port that will connect the MacArthur Causeway/I-395 with the port. It's intended to divert the heavy truck traffic going to the port from downtown Miami.

From what I've seen of the single track on the port side of the drawbridge, a lot of work and not a little land would be necessary to set up a yard of sorts. FEC may well just be happy with the current situation, i.e., some of these trucks bringing containers to the Hialeah yard. And let's not even talk about construction of a below-grade level project. After the money spent on the tunnel project (and the Marlins stadium) by the county, there's not a lot of support for these kinds of projects. A county mayoral recall vote has already been set for next month precisely because of the money appropriated for these kinds of things.

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

With last week's news of the $77 million awarded for the port dredging project by the FDOT, a number of articles have referred to the $22.7 million awarded earlier to the port by the USDOT to, in this article's words, "restore rail service between the port and Florida East Coast Railway L.L.C.’s (FEC) Hialeah Yard." Perhaps "restore" is an overstatement since the line is not technically out of service. Anyway, completion is supposedly set for 2013. I wonder if they contemplate a mini-yard in the port proper.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Mr/ Weaver and I "hashed this one over hash (actually Veal Parmigiana in my case)" when I was "down below" two weeks ago.

Yes, it is interesting to learn that local funds have been appropriated for dredging so that the Port can handle larger vessels, that the FEC continues to maintain their trackage through that area, that funds are appropriated to repair the Dodge Island bridge, and there is some possibility of a passenger train operating to Downtown Miami. Conventional passenger trains (as distinct from HSR) may or may not operate into Miami over the FEC depending how the breezes blow up in Tallahassee and despite the considerable passenger infrastructure investment made in the Tri Rail (SAL) route. The addition of passenger trains makes any segment of railroad far more "visible" than otherwise.

However, in order to have proper rail access to the Port so that 100 car trains could be originated there, there would need be an Alameda Corridor project enabling grade separation through Downtown Miami. Even though the flow of containers being moved over Downtown streets to the FEC Hialeah yards represents congestion it is "flowing congestion'. The traffic stops at stoplights (well, I hope so!!) and is not like a 100 car train moving at maybe 20mph "pre-empting' motor vehicle traffic. In all certainty, there would be considerable resistance from Local commercial interests to 100 car trains, even if only, say, "two a day' and relieving highway congestion (awful lot of "gypsy' owner-operators do this transfer work 'don't ask too many questions about the authenticity of the insurance documents they present to the Port authority), the whole initiative could still be for naught.

Again, as Ms. Bly notes, Savannah appears to be the predominant Southeastern port given that rail or highway transportation can eliminate from there in three directions (as compared with one from either Miami or Everglades). However, with the greatest respect for Mr. Weaver's contrary thoughts, I can only foresee Miami continuing to be the principal Love Tub port as well as its role of trans-shipping containerized cargo to Caribbean destinations.

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr/ Weaver and I "hashed this one over hash (actually Veal Parmigiana in my case)" when I was "down below" two weeks ago.

Yes, it is interesting to learn that local funds have been appropriated for dredging so that the Port can handle larger vessels, that the FEC continues to maintain their trackage through that area, that funds are appropriated to repair the Dodge Island bridge, and there is some possibility of a passenger train operating to Downtown Miami. Conventional passenger trains (as distinct from HSR) may or may not operate into Miami over the FEC depending how the breezes blow up in Tallahassee and despite the considerable passenger infrastructure investment made in the Tri Rail (SAL) route. The addition of passenger trains makes any segment of railroad far more "visible" than otherwise.

However, in order to have proper rail access to the Port so that 100 car trains could be originated there, there would need be an Alameda Corridor project enabling grade separation through Downtown Miami. Even though the flow of containers being moved over Downtown streets to the FEC Hialeah yards represents congestion it is "flowing congestion'. The traffic stops at stoplights (well, I hope so!!) and is not like a 100 car train moving at maybe 20mph "pre-empting' motor vehicle traffic. In all certainty, there would be considerable resistance from Local commercial interests to 100 car trains, even if only, say, "two a day' and relieving highway congestion (awful lot of "gypsy' owner-operators do this transfer work 'don't ask too many questions about the authenticity of the insurance documents they present to the Port authority), the whole initiative could still be for naught.

Again, as Ms. Bly notes, Savannah appears to be the predominant Southeastern port given that rail or highway transportation can eliminate from there in three directions (as compared with one from either Miami or Everglades). However, with the greatest respect for Mr. Weaver's contrary thoughts, I can only foresee Miami continuing to be the principal Love Tub port as well as its role of trans-shipping containerized cargo to Caribbean destinations.
There is similar congestion posed by the raising of the Brickell Avenue drawbridge over the Miami River (often at the most inopportune times), and that's in an area where there is quite a bit more impact. North of downtown by the port and the arena, not so much. Only Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2d Street could be viewed as posing inconveniences when gates are down there. Yet Broward Blvd. in downtown Lauderdale -- just a block west of county and city government offices -- is regularly crossed by lengthy FEC freights. Nobody's suggesting grade separation there, so I don't know why they would for just Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2d Street. Admittedly, Miami is a bit bigger than Lauderdale, but still . . . .

Noel Weaver
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Noel Weaver »

JasW wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr/ Weaver and I "hashed this one over hash (actually Veal Parmigiana in my case)" when I was "down below" two weeks ago.

Yes, it is interesting to learn that local funds have been appropriated for dredging so that the Port can handle larger vessels, that the FEC continues to maintain their trackage through that area, that funds are appropriated to repair the Dodge Island bridge, and there is some possibility of a passenger train operating to Downtown Miami. Conventional passenger trains (as distinct from HSR) may or may not operate into Miami over the FEC depending how the breezes blow up in Tallahassee and despite the considerable passenger infrastructure investment made in the Tri Rail (SAL) route. The addition of passenger trains makes any segment of railroad far more "visible" than otherwise.

However, in order to have proper rail access to the Port so that 100 car trains could be originated there, there would need be an Alameda Corridor project enabling grade separation through Downtown Miami. Even though the flow of containers being moved over Downtown streets to the FEC Hialeah yards represents congestion it is "flowing congestion'. The traffic stops at stoplights (well, I hope so!!) and is not like a 100 car train moving at maybe 20mph "pre-empting' motor vehicle traffic. In all certainty, there would be considerable resistance from Local commercial interests to 100 car trains, even if only, say, "two a day' and relieving highway congestion (awful lot of "gypsy' owner-operators do this transfer work 'don't ask too many questions about the authenticity of the insurance documents they present to the Port authority), the whole initiative could still be for naught.

Again, as Ms. Bly notes, Savannah appears to be the predominant Southeastern port given that rail or highway transportation can eliminate from there in three directions (as compared with one from either Miami or Everglades). However, with the greatest respect for Mr. Weaver's contrary thoughts, I can only foresee Miami continuing to be the principal Love Tub port as well as its role of trans-shipping containerized cargo to Caribbean destinations.
There is similar congestion posed by the raising of the Brickell Avenue drawbridge over the Miami River (often at the most inopportune times), and that's in an area where there is quite a bit more impact. North of downtown by the port and the arena, not so much. Only Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2d Street could be viewed as posing inconveniences when gates are down there. Yet Broward Blvd. in downtown Lauderdale -- just a block west of county and city government offices -- is regularly crossed by lengthy FEC freights. Nobody's suggesting grade separation there, so I don't know why they would for just Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2d Street. Admittedly, Miami is a bit bigger than Lauderdale, but still . . . .
There are alternative routes to avoid Biscayne Blvd and its crossing. I suspect the trains will be made up at the port and just travel north on the FEC. It would not make a lot of sense to make them up at the port then run to Hialeah for more make up. I doubt if the FEC will do anything like that.
As I have stated before, I think things will get interesting here in the coming months and years. I sure hope so.
Noel Weaver

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

Noel Weaver wrote:There are alternative routes to avoid Biscayne Blvd and its crossing. I suspect the trains will be made up at the port and just travel north on the FEC. It would not make a lot of sense to make them up at the port then run to Hialeah for more make up. I doubt if the FEC will do anything like that.
As I have stated before, I think things will get interesting here in the coming months and years. I sure hope so.
Noel Weaver
How is it possible to avoid the crossing at Biscayne coming from the port, regardless of where the trains are made up? They can't travel north unless they can get across Biscayne. (In light of the $22 million in funding, I do agree, contrary to what I suggested in an earlier post above, that the trains would be made up at the port, though. And it is definitely going to get interesting .)

Noel Weaver
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Noel Weaver »

JasW wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:There are alternative routes to avoid Biscayne Blvd and its crossing. I suspect the trains will be made up at the port and just travel north on the FEC. It would not make a lot of sense to make them up at the port then run to Hialeah for more make up. I doubt if the FEC will do anything like that.
As I have stated before, I think things will get interesting here in the coming months and years. I sure hope so.
Noel Weaver
How is it possible to avoid the crossing at Biscayne coming from the port, regardless of where the trains are made up? They can't travel north unless they can get across Biscayne. (In light of the $22 million in funding, I do agree, contrary to what I suggested in an earlier post above, that the trains would be made up at the port, though. And it is definitely going to get interesting .)
Of course I am talking streets, I am well aware that there is only one railroad and it does cross Biscayne Blvd. Cars have other ways to get where they need to go, they do not have to use this crossing.
Noel Weaver

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

Noel Weaver wrote:
JasW wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:There are alternative routes to avoid Biscayne Blvd and its crossing. I suspect the trains will be made up at the port and just travel north on the FEC. It would not make a lot of sense to make them up at the port then run to Hialeah for more make up. I doubt if the FEC will do anything like that.
As I have stated before, I think things will get interesting here in the coming months and years. I sure hope so.
Noel Weaver
How is it possible to avoid the crossing at Biscayne coming from the port, regardless of where the trains are made up? They can't travel north unless they can get across Biscayne. (In light of the $22 million in funding, I do agree, contrary to what I suggested in an earlier post above, that the trains would be made up at the port, though. And it is definitely going to get interesting .)
Of course I am talking streets, I am well aware that there is only one railroad and it does cross Biscayne Blvd. Cars have other ways to get where they need to go, they do not have to use this crossing.
Noel Weaver
You might get an argument from people living in Morningside or the Beach, who would have to get over to 95 to go downtown instead of just using BIscayne (or NE 2d). But I know people who commute to downtown Lauderdale and take 595/Federal Highway just so they can avoid possibly getting stuck for 5 minutes at the Broward Blvd. crossing.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Noel Weaver »

One more comment here, I am tired of hearing people getting stuck at railroad crossings. The correct term is that they waited for a train. The Florida East Coast built this section of Florida oh those many years ago. In so far as Broward Boulevard is concerned, there are lots of crossings both north and south and not all of them will be blocked at once. A train moving over Broward Blvd. will not take more than 5 minutes to clear the crossing and going miles south to avoid it would cost a lot more time again unless it were disabled which is pretty rare. Most times if a train is stopped on a crossing around here it is either because some jerk thought he/she could beat the train at a grade crossing or some simpleton decided to end their life at the expense of the railroad. Very rare is it due to a mechanical problem.
Noel Weaver

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

Noel Weaver wrote:One more comment here, I am tired of hearing people getting stuck at railroad crossings. The correct term is that they waited for a train. The Florida East Coast built this section of Florida oh those many years ago. In so far as Broward Boulevard is concerned, there are lots of crossings both north and south and not all of them will be blocked at once. A train moving over Broward Blvd. will not take more than 5 minutes to clear the crossing and going miles south to avoid it would cost a lot more time again unless it were disabled which is pretty rare. Most times if a train is stopped on a crossing around here it is either because some jerk thought he/she could beat the train at a grade crossing or some simpleton decided to end their life at the expense of the railroad. Very rare is it due to a mechanical problem.
Noel Weaver
You're preaching to the choir here. The FEC was in South Florida before everybody, unless your name is Brickell or Tuttle or Stranahan. Anyway, I think you agree with my point, which is that if people put up with the FEC crossing on Broward Blvd, the main east-west artery into downtown Lauderdale, they can certainly put up the FEC crossing on Biscayne. Not that they have any choice in the matter if they insist on traveling either of those two routes.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

I would presume that highway crossings such as here are what represent the focus of concern over restoring raill access to the Port.

No question whatever, the area would benefit from the removal of 100 or so semi-trailer rigs off the pictured causeway and city streets (never mind how I noted earlier the band of gypsy owner-operators that seem to gravitate towards this kind of transfer work and how maybe, just maybe, a portrait or two of Ben Franklin might cloud some one's vision when examining insurance "documents'?).

But the downside is motorists (or even a busload of Love Tub passengers off a delayed flight) who likely do not have the patience that Mr. Weaver, other respondents such as JasW, and I like to think myself, have (let alone a chance to look a train over operated by a class act of a railroad). Any train taking ten minutes to clear an X-ing is a more memorable nuisance than the 100 rigs operating along city streets (and we know with perfect observance to posted speeds and even traffic signals...RIGHT??) such would replace.

Never mind any effect displacement of those 100 drivers would have on the local economy.

I think it is an uphill battle.

JasW
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by JasW »

It's actually the crossing a bit further east at Biscayne, right after the ROW slices through the plaza of the arena. In any event, the truckers will still have their jobs. Else why are they building the tunnel from the MacArthur Causeway to the port? But I don't know the percentage of those trucks that bring containers to the Hialeah Yard and those that take containers and head elsewhere within the state.

Also, a RR crossing is neat and contained, unlike tractor-trailers lumbering down NE 2d Avenue, who move to the left lane because they are turning left to go to the Port at NE 5th Street. This particular crossing is well signaled and gated. It's U.S. 1, but so is the Brickell Avenue Bridge. There are rush hours limits imposed on the bridge's openings, and I could possibly see the same thing here with the Biscayne crossing.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Why no direct service to Port of Miami

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Mr. JasW, could you play around with Google Maps and locate the Biscayne Blvd X-ing that you note in your immediate posting?

Possibly "Little Google Man' was handy with some Kodachrome there.

I must acknowledge that i have had little reason to visit Miami post-9/11. Prior to that, it was "fun" to sit at the public park along the MacArthur was watch the Love Tubs sail (I've even sailed on one of such, i.e. "get outta Dodge", during Jan 1981).

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