• FEC Miami Port Line - Downtown Spur

  • Discussion relating to the FEC operations, past and present. Includes Brightline. Official web site can be found here: FECRWY.COM.
Discussion relating to the FEC operations, past and present. Includes Brightline. Official web site can be found here: FECRWY.COM.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

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  by FL9711
 
About a year ago I was in Miami and remember seeing a train line cut through downtown Miami and over to Port Miami. I tried to get as much information on this line as I could but didn't get a lot. Does anyone know if it is still in use, or if there are plans to put it back into use. To me it seems like a great way to get people to the heart of Miami.

Thanks
  by chrsjrcj
 
FEC trains no longer use this line. The FEC yard for Miami is a few miles west of Miami, near Miami International Airport. There are plans for Tri-Rail to use this line, but I won't believe it until I see it.
  by Noel Weaver
 
FL9711 wrote:About a year ago I was in Miami and remember seeing a train line cut through downtown Miami and over to Port Miami. I tried to get as much information on this line as I could but didn't get a lot. Does anyone know if it is still in use, or if there are plans to put it back into use. To me it seems like a great way to get people to the heart of Miami.

Thanks
This line is still in service but sees very infrequent use at least to the port. I am not sure whether there are any sidings
between Little River and the port that see use or not. I am going to take a ride down there sometime soon to check it
out but it will have to be on a weekend in order to avoid traffic problems.
The line is not in shape for any sort of passenger operations but I suppose it could be put into shape if the money were to
be provided from somewhere but I do not see that happening with the attitude here in Florida.
Noel Weaver
  by FL9711
 
In the reading I have done on it, the last train on it was in the late 90's. If you could take some photos that would be great.

Thanks
  by Noel Weaver
 
Not sure that I will dig my camera out down there, some of it is in a rough neighborhood. The line is still in service, I was
down there about a year ago and the flangeways on the crossings showed evidence of a movement although the rails were
very rusty. The pilot lights on the crossing protection were lit too. There are a lot of crossings down there most have gates
and flashing lights.
One page in the timetable lists the line as the "Downtown Lead" while another pages lists the line as the "Port Lead".
When it comes necessary to move a car or cars down there, a job out of Hialeah will do the work.
Yard rules are in effect in this territory.
Noel Weaver
  by GOLDEN-ARM
 
If I can get a transfer to MIA, I might come over and join ya, on that trip, Noel. Trying to get to MIA or SFA. I would even consider JAX. A CWP makes most places safe to visit, if you are so inclined...... :wink:
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Is there a particular reason why Tri-Rail didn't bother to go to downtown Miami? If it were possible, it would make the commute a one-seat ride- a lot more convenient than changing to Metrorail to get downtown. Not being familiar with the particular track in quesiton, maybe Noel could tell us?
  by FL9711
 
It would be cool to see Tri-Rail go down to Key West. The only problem is they are a few billion short. Maybe someday.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I am going to go down to Miami again before long but by car on a weekend and probably not expose my lap top or my camera. I don't think there have been much in changes from last year when I last went down there with somebody from
railroaddotnet whom I have not seen on here in some time.
As for why they did not try to use the FEC for Tri-Rail, I suggest you ask somebody from the State of Florida that question.
Certainally it would make a lot more sense to operate Tri-Rail trains over the Florida East Coast through the heart of all of
the areas that it presently serves from the west fringes. Today, this would not be possible without a huge expense and
expansion of the Florida East Coast set up. The FEC runs a fairly heavy freight operation and their trains run on a schedule
and are usually more punctual than Amtrak is down here. It would be a far better route for Amtrak than the present route is
but for commuter service, it will not happen unless a huge amount of work takes place first.
As for Key West, forget it, there has not been a railroad down there in over 70 years and there is no need for one today.
Noel Weaver
  by Noel Weaver
 
Sunday of Labor Day Weekend was the perfect time to check out the line to the Port of Miami which is the former passenger
line as well. I followed most of it from the junction at Little River to the Port and the track looked decent all the way down
but so far as I could tell, there has not been a train move over it in a long time. The drawbridge to the port looked to be in
reasonably good condition at from an appearance standpoint. All of the crossings have flashers and gates and all of the
crossing protection looked in very good shape. I crossed the line at some of these crossings and they were all very smooth,
not one rough crossing of the ones that I used.
I did not see any real evidence of any other business on that line but I suspect that something might be developed in the
coming years at the Port of Miami and the line is being kept for that possibility.
It was a very interesting expedition but I did not take any pictures. I did not unlock the doors to my car either.
Noel Weaver
  by Bobby S
 
I remember posting awhile back ( few years ) about why they never kept the station where the trains used to come into Miami which would be WAY better than where they come now. My question is about the branch to Miami Port? Was this used for passenger service? And was this a connection from the GRAND station in downtown Miami?
  by Noel Weaver
 
The line in question, Downtown Lead, is the remains of the old passenger line in Miami and although it no longer goes to the
exact spot of the old Miami Station, it does go within a few blocks of that location. You can still get down there by train by
taking Tri-Rail to Metro-Rail Transfer Station and Metro-Rail downtown to Government Center Station. If you look north
from the platform of the Metro-Rail Station at this location you can see the Port Lead.
There is always a possibility of increased rail use to/from the port of Miami and this rail line is being kept available just in
case. I personally think the day will come when activity again takes place on this line to and from the port of Miami.
Noel Weaver
  by M&Eman
 
What if Tri-Rail could engineer a "switch" with the FEC. They give the newly upgraded double track CSX line to FEC in exchange for Tri-Rail getting the FEC line. Why isn't that feasible?
  by 262
 
Sorry I did not see this earlier.The reason that Tri-rail is where it is on the CSX Miami Subdivision,is in the late 1970s FLODOT and the federal govt.were making plans to complete I-95,(there was a gap in Palm Beach Co.)and add lanes in Broward and Dade Co.If you had lived here then or remember in the evening and morning rush traffic would back up on the entrance and exit ramps,and then onto the secondary roads.Tri-rail was only supposed to allow people who used the corridore an alternate during construction and that is part of the reason it does not have a dedicated source of funding.The origanal plan was for it to end once the road work was complete.When it came time to negioate with CSX for use of the track,CSX was not interested.They said they were in the process of abandoning the whole subdivision including the Auburndale Sub unless a buyer could be found.FLODOT was able with the help of the Federal Transportation Dept. to purchase the Miami Sub.Which brings us to the present I-95 is still not adequate,construction is a permanate feature.Every few years Tri-rail needs to go begging to stay in opperation.The old FEC yard used to be where I think Bayfront Park is it was called Buena Vista,I was there for a Miami Grand Prix Race in the park in the 1980s you could still see some of the tracks they even had to black top over some for the race course.
  by carajul
 
I was just in Miami this week and was cuirious about this line. Was rusted solid black, but was in good shape. The xings were in great shape. The overhead xing signal bridges had 4 heads on them and look new. The track goes around the American Airlines sports arena and there was a game going on. Miami cop and security cars were parked on the tracks.

Using google maps it looks as though the port area is now for tourist ships...not an industrial port any longer and no need for rail service. The tracks fade into the grass toward the end.
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