• 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 M3LTDOWN
 
Yes, the area to the north/west where that line runs is not a place to be caught...

Where the line curves around the now demolished Miami Arena (not the AA Arena) and heads north away from the port is the location of the old FEC Miami passenger station. On Google Maps/Earth, you can clearly see that the parking lot running parrallel to the street was once the location of several tracks...

As bad as the track conditions are on the landside of the port line, they improve as they approach the bridge and are in excellent shape portside. Apparently, the bridge is out of order, however www.stimuluswatch.org lists the repair as part of the federal stimulus package... so it's likely to see trains running to the port again.
  by Tadman
 
What traffic was handled on this line, and what led to the demise of rail service to the port? I think I saw this line when I took a cruise from Miami around 2004.
  by NellieBly
 
I hi-railed this line (FEC calls it the "downtown spur") in the spring of 2006 with FEC personnel. I was part of the team doing the South Florida East Coast transportation study, looking at (among other things) running commuter trains on FEC.

The FEC people told me they run down the downtown spur about once a month (when the bridge to the port is working) with a few cars for the Port of Miami. There are no other shippers that I recall south of LIttle River (junction with the line to Hialeah).

The yard you saw was probably the former Buenavista Yard, where FEC stored passenger equipment. It's now being redeveloped with condos, and is no longer used by the railroad.

At Little River, the remains of a double track west leg of the wye are quite visible. There are even rails in place, though the turnouts have been pulled. It would be relatively simple to construct a connecting track at Iris (where SAL crosses FEC) and reconnect the wye at Little River, and run Tri-Rail trains right to downtown Miami (where, as noted, the former FEC station site is still available), but nobody in southeast Florida seems interested in doing that, for some reason.

One surprise to me was that, south of Jupiter (which was the north end of our hi-rail trip) FEC has much less local business than CSX does. Most FEC trains run through to Hialeah, or to and from Port Everglades. There are only about a dozen on-line shippers between West Palm and Miami.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I guess it is OK to post on here now that there was a train on the "Downtown Lead" last week and I think it was Wednesday.
Consisted of two locomotives and the two private cars Azalea and St. Augustine. I am aware of the reason for this
move but it is not being disclosed for the moment. It went down all the way to the bridge but they were not able to close
the bridge to the port for that part of the route. It was the first move over this line in a long time.
For a variety of reasons, I did not venture down to photograph this operation but I know it took place.
Noel Weaver
  by carajul
 
Live maps has updated images of the line in the port. I was under the impression that the track circulated the port altogether (I've seen this on topo maps). However, the line goes into the port area, crosses the guard gates, and then just stub ends near a building. There is no where to make up a train or turn a train around. Probably why they truck the containers to Hiahleah yard.

Where the track stub ends, there are dozens of junked cars, trucks, busses, storage containers sitting on top of the tracks. Also, as the track winds its way thru the port, it has been fensed over in a few locations.

I don't see how this line will see service again. They can't build a train with a stub end track. And there is no room. I also understand that the draw bridge is stuck in the 'open' position.
  by Noel Weaver
 
In time I think this line will see major use again to and from the Port. They are talking a tunnel for trucks to access this
port but the cost would be very high and such a tunnel would be quite difficult to build. The railroad is the most efficient
and best way to get the stuff in and out of that port.
There was a move down there a few weeks ago that I posted previously and additional moves are possible.
The railroad has not retained and paid taxes on this line and the property just fur the fun of it, it has possibilities and they
know it.
Noel Weaver
  by carajul
 
If they haven't paid property taxes on the property the track is located on, won't Dade County be permitted to auction the line off to settle the taxes after x number of years? Or is that what they want to get rid of it?

I found some pics of the old FEC Miami station. It was just across the street north of the Dade Cty courthouse. There were 5 tracks that came down from the north with crossovers everywhere. Completely unrecognizable today. It's all parking lots.
  by Noel Weaver
 
carajul wrote:If they haven't paid property taxes on the property the track is located on, won't Dade County be permitted to auction the line off to settle the taxes after x number of years? Or is that what they want to get rid of it?
The railroad has not retained and paid taxes on this line and the property just fur the fun of it, it has possibilities and they
know it.

This is what I typed.
Noel Weaver
  by Noel Weaver
 
Today, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 two special moves took place on the line to the Port of Miami. Engine 412, passenger cars
St. Augustine and Azalea, power generator car, a single stack pack and engine 410. It ran from Hialeah to the gate of the
Port of Miami where the track leads to the drawbridge. The crossing gates are all in working order and work by radio
signals by the crew from the engine radio, the track is still good enough for trains and they made the round trip without any
major problems. To add to the success, the trip was repeated again this afternoon and both trips will operate again on
Thursday, July 2nd.
I went down there on public transportation (all rail) and while waiting for this special move, at least 300 plus tractor trailers
used the road to or from the port. Just imagine if most of this truck traffic was using the railroad rather than the highway.
I think this line has a decent future after the needed repairs and restorations are taken care of.
Noel Weaver
  by Noel Weaver
 
FL9711 wrote:Does anyone have any pictures of these moves?

Thanks
I have pictures both yesterday and today but I haven't downloaded them yet and I don't post pictures on here.
I did not see many others if anybody else with cameras either yesterday or today.
Noel Weaver
  by Noel Weaver
 
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
  by JasW
 
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
Where would Amtrak operate downtown? The logical place for a station would be on the other side of the tracks from the Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard, but there is just a thin strip of land there abutted by a parking lot. Land is certainly cheaper here than it was five years ago, but it's still prime real estate across from the arena.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I am not sure just where they would terminate but I suspect it would be in the general area where we went on the inspection train last year. Maybe 1/4 mile short of Biscayne Blvd Crossing. There is a Metro-Rail station nearby and there was some vacant property there as well. I think it is near the site of the old Miami Arena.
Noel Weaver
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