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Tri-Rail is a regional rail line linking Miamimarker, Fort Lauderdalemarker, and West Palm Beachmarker, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker. It is run by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. The 70.9 mile (113.44 km) system has 18 stations along the South Floridamarker coast. The rail connects to the Metrorail in Miami at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station.


Formed in 1987 by the Florida Department of Transportation, the system was originally created to provide temporary commuter rail service while construction crews widened Interstate 95 and the parallel Florida's Turnpikemarker, but Tri-Rail outlasted its temporary status, adding more trains and stations in the process. Line extensions have enabled Tri-Rail to service all three South Florida international airports: Miami International Airportmarker, Ft.marker Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airportmarker, and Palm Beach International Airportmarker (the latter from the West Palm Beach stationmarker after the closing of the Palm Beach Airport station in 1997).


Tri-Rail shares its track with Amtrak's Silver Meteor and Silver Star and CSX's Miami Subdivision. The Florida Department of Transportation purchased the track from CSX in 1989. Under the terms of the agreement, CSX would continue to provide dispatch services and physical plant maintenance for the track and would have exclusive freight trackage rights until certain conditions were met.

Extension and upgrade

In 1998, the initial 67-mile route was extended north from the West Palm Beach Station to the Mangonia Park Station, and south from Hialeah Market Station (formerly Miami Airport Station) to the new Miami Airport station. Construction of the extensions began in 1996; this brought the system to 70.9 miles

In 2007, a project to upgrade the full length of the line from Mangonia Park to Miami Airport with double-track was completed with the opening of a high-level fixed bridge over the New River near Fort Lauderdalemarker. Once several other modernization projects are completed, the SFRTA will assume full responsibility for dispatching and maintenance from CSX.


The completion of the New River rail bridge and the addition of a second Colorado Railcar diesel multiple unit (DMU) ushered in sweeping changes to Tri-Rail's operational timetables. Tri-Rail added several more trains during peak weekday commuting hours in June 2007. During "rush-hour," trains run every half-hour rather than the previous schedule of every hour. This change comes at quite a fortuitous time in Tri-Rail's operation history. With gasoline prices at record highs--particularly in South Florida's sprawling metropolis--Tri-Rail has seen a double-digit percentage increase in ridership in mid-2007.

In the 2025 and 2030 long range transportation plans, Tri-Rail has envisioned moving to or adding service on the Florida East Coast (FEC) rail corridor, which runs next to U.S. 1 (Biscayne Boulevard/Brickell Avenue in Miami-Dade County, and Federal Highway in Broward & Palm Beach Counties). This corridor will provide more opportunities for pedestrian travel from stations to end destinations than does the current South Florida Rail Corridor, which must rely almost exclusively on shuttle buses for passenger distribution.

Station list

Currently, the Tri-Rail has six stations in Palm Beach County, seven in Broward County (Greater Fort Lauderdale), and five in Miami-Dade County.

Zone County Station
1 Palm Beach County Mangonia Park Stationmarker
West Palm Beach Stationmarker
Lake Worth Stationmarker
2 Boynton Beach Stationmarker
Delray Beach Stationmarker
3 Boca Raton Stationmarker
Broward County Deerfield Beach Stationmarker
Pompano Beach Stationmarker
4 Cypress Creek Station
Fort Lauderdale Stationmarker
5 Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Station at Dania Beachmarker
Sheridan Street Station
Hollywood Station
6 Miami-Dade Countymarker Golden Glades Station
Opa-locka Station
Metrorail Transfer Stationmarker
Hialeah Market Station
Miami Airport Stationmarker


Like many other commuter rail services in the United States, Tri-Rail utilizes Bombardier BiLevel Coaches, but as of late 2006, has begun adding bi-level rolling stock from Colorado Railcar.


The service began with five MK F40PHL-2 locomotives numbered 801 to 805 and Bombardier BiLevel Coaches originally destined for GO Transit, but diverted from the original GO order. Tri-Rail later took delivery of MK F40PH-2C locomotives 807, 808 and 809, and two ex-Amtrak F40PHs, 810 and 811. In 2006, six EMD GP49 locomotives were acquired from Norfolk Southern and were rebuilt by Mid America Car Company to the designation GP49H-3. These are Tri-Rail 812 to 817

Tri-Rail also acquired GP40-2(w) locomotive 806 and F-unit control cab 904 from GO Transit. #703 is now with the Aberdeen Carolina & Western; #904 with VLIX.

Former numbers of Tri-Rail locomotives:

801 CR 3230

802 CR 3238

803 CR 3240

804 CR 3252

805 CR 3256

806 GO 703807 built new 1992

808 built new 1992

809 built new 1992810 Amtrak 363

811 Amtrak 379812 NS 4600

813 NS 4601

814 NS 4602

815 NS 4603

816 NS 4604

817 NS 4605

904 GO same (originally ONR FP7 1513)

Passenger Cars

Initial fleet built by UTDC in 1987:Cab cars 501 to 506

Coaches 1001 to 1012

Additional cars built by Bombardier in 1990:Cab cars 507 to 511

Coaches 1013,1014,1015

Diesel multiple units

Colorado Railcar DMU in Tri-Rail livery
In 2003, after receiving a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, Tri-Rail contracted to purchase two pieces of rolling stock from Colorado Railcar: a self-propelled diesel multiple unit, (DMU) prototype coach and standard bi-level coach entered regular service with Tri-Rail in October 2006. The new purpose-built commuter coaches are larger than the Bombardier BiLevel Coaches they are designed to eventually replace in practically every respect, holding up to 188 passengers, with room for bicycles and luggage.

By 2007 Tri-Rail operated 6 DMU cars. Motors 703 to 706 each seat 165 passengers. Trailer coaches 7001 and 7002 both have 188 seats

Helper locomotives

The prototype Colorado Railcar consist, with its non-powered coach, was once coupled to one of the fleet's EMD GP49-3 diesel locomotives as a "helper" measure during regular service. Sources at Tri-Rail had indicated that temporary, steeper-than-normal grades during construction on the New River Bridge required more power and torque than the DMU's powerplants could effectively produce and still operate within safety limits. With the completion the New River Bridge in April 2007, and the expanded rush-hour schedules implemented in June 2007, Tri-Rail has acquired an additional Colorado Railcar DMU to replace the "helper" locomotive, and also acquired an identical Colorado Railcar three-coach consist of two DMUs and a non-powered coach in early 2007. The two three-coach consists now carry roughly 560 paying passengers each in regular revenue service along the line.


The DMU consists are generally considered more comfortable in terms of seating than the Bombardier coaches they were acquired to replace. However, they suffer from a lack of bicycle and luggage storage that have been a continual source of irritation and complaints from daily and airport commuters ever since the DMU's original prototype phase. Additionally, wheelchair accessibility is compromised by the entrance steps necessitated by the unit's higher floorboards (required to clear the Detroit prime movers). This problem remains uncorrected, despite the acquisition of the new Colorado Railcar rolling stock.

Additionally, operators contended that a single DMU and trailer car are underpowered for sufficient in-service acceleration, and could not effectively negotiate the 40+ foot grade over the New River Bridge without a helper locomotive, thus defeating the purpose of a self-propelled coach. The addition of a second DMU to the two car motor/trailer consist has since appeared to solve the problem of the New River bridge grade, but acceleration still remains an issue in practice. Whether the DMU's prime movers will accept the strain of present revenue operations remains to be seen.

Biodiesel fuel

On October 29, 2008, the Tri-Rail switched to biodiesel fuel with a goal of a 99-percent blend, when available .

See also



External links

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