• 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

  • 179 posts
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 12
  by JasW
 
Here is the crossing looking north on Biscayne with American Airlines Arena to the right (note how the ROW just slashes across the plaza of the arena), and here the crossing looking south on Biscayne on the other side of the divide, with the old Miami News building aka Freedom Tower on the right.

This view is actually a great shot looking east along the FEC ROW as it crosses Biscayne and slashes through the palm trees on the arena plaza on its way to the port.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
JasW wrote:Here is the crossing looking north on Biscayne with American Airlines Arena to the right (note how the ROW just slashes across the plaza of the arena), and here the crossing looking south on Biscayne on the other side of the divide, with the old Miami News building aka Freedom Tower on the right.

This view is actually a great shot looking east along the FEC ROW as it crosses Biscayne and slashes through the palm trees on the arena plaza on its way to the port.
Thanks, Mr. JasW.

Unfortunately, it will be quite difficult to make the case to have 100 car trains operating out of the Port. While it can be rightfully argued about the environment (100 big rigs v. 2 SD-70's), safety (we KNOW those rigs with owner-operators paid by trailer handled are observing every traffic law to same extent as will the FEC Condr & Engr observe their Operating Rules; RIGHT?), and efficiency (transload 'em once; not twice). There is still an uphill battle to be fought.

A sunken ROW such as the Alameda Corridor, and the UP either through El Paso or Reno would be the only acceptable way to the Local authorities for handling any volume of traffic - and for "two a day", the traffic volume there cannot justify the expenditure of public funds for such.

This topic is titled "Why no Direct Service...."; I think Mr. Jas W's research (and Little Google Man's Kodak) has succinctly answered that question for all to see.
  by Noel Weaver
 
It is pretty obvious to me that the "naysayers" on here have never witnessed the heavy truck traffic in and out of the Port of Miami on a 24/7 basis through the heart of downtown Miami. Whatever the number of trains that eventually do operate out of the port.
It has been the case time and time again in all parts of the country that where there are existing railroad tracks that the railroad owning these tracks might sometime decide to use them again or increase useage of them. This happened in the case of the former NHRR Beacon Branch when the Penn Central decided to incorporate it as a through freight route, the area residents raised hell but got nowhere. Same thing with the NYS&W when they decided to reopen the line west of Butler and increase the use of the line east of Butler big time, the people in the area did not like it but there wasn't anything that they could do. I am sure that this has happened elsewhere as well. Railroads are taxpaying property owners and they are entitled to use their property as they see fit in so far as train operations are concerned, they have federal charters for the most part and are under federal control too.
Four or five mile long freight trains will cause a lot less disruption in the area than the present heavy truck traffic currently does, the sooner something happens here the better off all will be.
Noel Weaver
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here is some of the propaganda that was floating about from the opposition regarding the eventually successful acquisition of the Elgin Joliet & Eastern by Canadian National:

http://www.villageoftowerlakes.com/news ... Letter.pdf

Barrington is definitely an upscale suburb; but I think this would only be a a brush fire when compared twith that generated from the thought of 100 car trains "taking over"Downtown Miami.

Mr. Weaver, your point regarding who was there first is well taken as is your further point that one should never assume a presently dormant railroad will rermain such forever. Apparently that is what the McMansionites in Barrington came to held - and they found out how mistaken they were.
  by JasW
 
Noel Weaver wrote:It is pretty obvious to me that the "naysayers" on here have never witnessed the heavy truck traffic in and out of the Port of Miami on a 24/7 basis through the heart of downtown Miami. Whatever the number of trains that eventually do operate out of the port.
It has been the case time and time again in all parts of the country that where there are existing railroad tracks that the railroad owning these tracks might sometime decide to use them again or increase useage of them. This happened in the case of the former NHRR Beacon Branch when the Penn Central decided to incorporate it as a through freight route, the area residents raised hell but got nowhere. Same thing with the NYS&W when they decided to reopen the line west of Butler and increase the use of the line east of Butler big time, the people in the area did not like it but there wasn't anything that they could do. I am sure that this has happened elsewhere as well. Railroads are taxpaying property owners and they are entitled to use their property as they see fit in so far as train operations are concerned, they have federal charters for the most part and are under federal control too.
Four or five mile long freight trains will cause a lot less disruption in the area than the present heavy truck traffic currently does, the sooner something happens here the better off all will be.
Noel Weaver
I don't presume to speak for Mr. Norman, but I don't see any naysayers here. As far as I'm concerned, I wish SCL/CSX had maintained the old SAL ROW along down from the old SAL terminal o what' s now Bicentennial Park. Leaving aside the FEC, that would have made a more natural terminus for Tri-Rail than the airport (or certainly Hialeah Market, the original Tri-Rail terminus). Who cares about the grade crossings, anyway? There are tons of them everywhere in South Florida.
  by JasW
 
Well, there we are. I'm presuming the other half of the tab is being picked up with the monies Scott announced the other week? Or (and) is the FEC/RailAmerica/Fortress chipping in as well? (Certainly, the county is not going to pick up dime one, not after the successful recall election this week.)

In any event, regular runs will make for some excellent railfanning downtown.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Gents, we gather here to discuss the affairs of a small railroad that can only be described as a 'class act'; anything I've seen of the FEC (some with Mr. Weaver as the tour guide) over the years would bear that out. On issues such as labor work rules reform and the "need' for 'cabeese' on trains, FEC lead; the "big brothers" comprising Class i industry followed. Further, since we are away from the Amtrak Forum, I can state that I am an advocate of railroad industry interests second to none.

Now with that having been said, I remain quite skeptical regarding rail access to the Port, and I further have to question 'what's in it for the FEC?". I cannot foresee any kind of grade separation project such as the Alameda Corridor moving forth and I again note that the resistance to operating 100 car trains through Downtown Miami will be of the "you ain't seen nothing yet" varietal. But even with rail access restored to Dodge Island (and the anti-rail interests all mollified), I again ask 'what's in it for the FEC?". Does anyone know if the transfer trucking operators are paid by the FEC as if they were a 'reciprocal switch" and hence "absorbed' within their Line Haul? Would any operational efficiencies inure to the FEC (to handling the shipment yes; one less transload to make)?

While I'm certain any participant at this Forum would welcome the removal of "law unto themselves' highway tractors from Downtown city thoroughfares such as Biscayne Blvd, the 'public at large" is more concerned that they are not delayed by a train and miss seeing LeBron tip-off; I'd welcome a different outcome than I foresee, but $22M of Feddybux notwithstanding, I fail to see anything other than an uphill battle.

Finally a related "of sorts" point; is the FEC Hialeah Yard (located to the West of the Airport - KMIA) actually within the Municipal Limits of Hialeah, I'd rather doubt it, but then I should best say "enquiring mind wants to know".
  by Noel Weaver
 
As for the location of Hialeah Yard, I will have to dig for some materials that I have here and maybe I can determine from that. Often everything runs in together, Miami, Hialeah, Unincorporated Miami-Dade County and who knows what else.
It could be a situation where city lines run through the yard and it is in more than one of the above or maybe even all three.
Noel Weaver
  by JasW
 
I believe the yard is technically in unincorporated Miami-Dade, but it runs the length of the western border of Miami Springs, and FEC does give the yard office address as Miami Springs. I've seen the same location at the northern tip of the yard given as Medley in addition to unincorporated Miami-Dade (the postal address for which is always "Miami, FL," which has led to a number of people wrongly believing they are entitled to vote in City of Miami mayoral elections). It's definitely not in Hialeah proper, though, which is on the other side of the Miami Canal/Okeechobee Road.
  by Noel Weaver
 
JasW wrote:I believe the yard is technically in unincorporated Miami-Dade, but it runs the length of the western border of Miami Springs, and FEC does give the yard office address as Miami Springs. I've seen the same location at the northern tip of the yard given as Medley in addition to unincorporated Miami-Dade (the postal address for which is always "Miami, FL," which has led to a number of people wrongly believing they are entitled to vote in City of Miami mayoral elections). It's definitely not in Hialeah proper, though, which is on the other side of the Miami Canal/Okeechobee Road.
I pulled out a pretty good map of Miami-Dade and it bears this out. It appers on the map that the entire yard is in unincorporated Miami-Dade County. The line does pass through a portion of Hialeah to reach the yard but the yard is as above.
It's like I said earlier, here in Florida the cities, towns and counties tend to fall in to each other and often you pass from one to another without even knowing it, no signs, no nothing.
Noel Weaver
  by JasW
 
Getting back to the port topic, there was an interesting blog post on the South Florida Business Journal site a couple of weeks ago:
Article misses railway plan
South Florida Business Journal - by Kevin Gale

Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 2:55pm EDT

An Orlando Sentinel blog post debates whether the Port of Miami dredging will create 30,000 jobs, as Gov. Rick Scott envisions.

Fair enough. It's always tough to project job numbers.

Unfortunately, the article appears to have a glaring omission.

Liberterian researcher Robert Poole noted there is no rail spur to the Port of Miami, but the article fails to mention that the port has received a $22.7 million stimulus grant to restore the railroad tracks that connect the port to the Florida East Coast Railway's Hialeah yard.

As I reported March 4, the railway plans to run trains double stacked with cargo containers every hour once the dredging is complete, and Flagler is also planning a 300-acre logistics hub.

And, yes, the concept is to move the containers north, out of South Florida, to markets as far as the Midwest.

The concept of an inland port, sort of a warehousing area with rail service, is also still alive for the area near Lake Okeechobee, Barney Bishop, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, told me on Tuesday.

There's also the possibility of a new rail line running from Hialeah along U.S. 27 to the inland port area.
http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/blog/2011/03/yes-virginia-there-is-a-rail-line.html

A number of eyebrow-raisers in there. Double-stacked container trains once an hour??? That'll be interesting on Biscayne Boulevard. And what is this 300-acre "logistics hub"? Certainly not on Dodge Island itself. The Hialeah yard?? The only other place I know Flagler has (or at least had) a ton of contiguous property down here is Beacon Station off of US 27 between the Palmetto and the Turnpike. Also, note they seem to be talking at the end of the article about the long-existing plan to extend the Everglades cutoff or K branch down from Lake Okeechobee to the Beacon Station spur.
  by Noel Weaver
 
"Naysayers" take note, this past Wednesday a welded rail train ran south from Bowden (Jacksonville) to Hialeah. On Saturday, April 9th the train went to the Downtown Lead and started dropping this welded rail, this is the first evidence that the railroad is very serious about the Port of Miami.
This is fantastic news.
Noel Weaver
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
If "there's talk' or running hourly trains between Dodge and "Hialeah" (in quotes as Mr. Weaver has established at the topic the yard is well outside of Hialeah municipal limits - again for those tuning in late, it is to the West of the Airport and if you have taken off from KMIA on 27L or R or landed on 9, you've seen it), that means that FEC will be establishing a transfer run between the two facilities. If these trains are, say, about ten cars each, there can't be too much disruption to Downtown Miami highway traffic (Tri-Rail may have other thoughts @ Hialeah Market). True, there will be operational efficiencies as the containers will be transloaded once only, but I have to ask will the rail operation be more efficient than the existing highway transfer?

Also, have we had the last word from the trucking industry stakeholders; lest we forget, "one man one vote".

But finally I think that any follower of FEC affairs knows that road is not run by a band of amateurs, and they must have some expectation that the transfer service proposal will move forth and that their interests will be enhanced by the inauguration of such.
  by JasW
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:If these trains are, say, about ten cars each, there can't be too much disruption to Downtown Miami highway traffic (Tri-Rail may have other thoughts @ Hialeah Market).
i think you actually mean about 2 miles north of Hialeah Market, just south of Tri-Rail's Metrorail Transfer station, where the FEC tracks cross Tri-Rail/the old SAL here:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=25.842148,-80.259544&aq=&sll=25.841435,-80.259798&sspn=0.006566,0.009645&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=17

FEC and Tri-Rail have to deal with it already, though obviously with a lesser number of FEC trains. I don't know what the protocol here is -- who has to stop if the trains meet at this crossing at the same time? FEC owns the crossing, according to property records (reflecting that the FEC was there first, I imagine). As an aside, this would be a great spot for railfanning were it not for the fact it's all private property. The FEC ROW is unusually wide along here, though.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 12